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Mike Pence

Febbraio 2017
Se per qualsiasi motivo Donald Trump non dovesse più essere presidente il suo successore sarebbe lui: Mike Pence, il suo vice. Pence si descrive “un cristiano, un conservatore, un repubblicano”, è contrario all’aborto, ai matrimoni gay, all’aumento delle tasse e alle restrizioni sulle armi.

di Talitha Linehan

File audio:

Mike Pence
Mike Pence

Speaker: Chuck Rolando (Standard American accent)

Donald Trump has begun his four-year term as the 45th President of the United States. Some people don’t think that he will really be the President for four years because he doesn’t have any experience in politics. If Trump renounces the presidency for any reason, the man who will replace him as President is his Vice-President, Mike Pence. So who is Pence and what does he believe in?

RELIGIOUS

Mike Pence, 57, was born in Columbus, Indiana, in the US, and was one of six children. His family’s Catholic beliefs had a big influence on his political ideology. Originally, he was a Democrat. At school, he volunteered with the Bartholomew County Democratic Party. But later, while studying history at Hanover College, he became a Republican.
Pence studied law at Indiana University and became a lawyer. He tried to become a politician but lost two elections, in 1988 and 1990. From 1994 to 1999, he worked as a conservative presenter on radio and television. Then, in 2000, he was elected to the United States House of Representatives, representing a district in Indiana.

conservative

Famously, Pence once described himself as “a Christian, a conservative and a Republican, in that order." He became known as a man of conviction. In 2012, he was elected the 50th governor of Indiana. He introduced the biggest tax cut in the history of the state, generating a $2 billion surplus, and campaigned for more financing for education initiatives.
Then, in 2015, he introduced a controversial act called the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, to protect business owners who didn’t want to participate in gay weddings. In response to pressure from public opinion, he modified the act to protect LGBTQ people. A year later, he introduced another controversial act, to stop women from having an abortion if the reason for the abortion was the race, gender or disability of the fetus.

THE NOMINATION

In July 2016, Donald Trump officially announced that he wanted Pence to be his running mate8. He described him as “a man of honor, character and honesty." Pence officially accepted the nomination less than a week later, at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio. There, he said that Trump had a big personality and praised him9 for ignoring the rules of political correctness.
Now that it’s time for the two men to govern the country, many people are ambivalent about what the future will bring. 


A BORING JOB

The Vice-President of the United States is a strange job. Normally it is boring and without political power. But, if the President dies in office or resigns, then the Vice-President  suddenly gets the most important job in the world. This is what happened to:

Harry S. Tr uman, who became President when Franklin D. Roosevelt died in 1945. He was re-elected in 1948.
Lyndon B. Johnson, who became President when John F. Kennedy  was assassinated in 1963. Johnson was re-elected in 1964.
Gerald Ford, who became President when Richard Nixon resigned (in 1974, after the Watergate scandal). Nixon was elected President in 1968. He had been Vice-President under Eisenhower (1952-1960).

Some Vice-Presidents succeed Presidents at the end of their second term of office. Ronald Reagan's V-P, George H.W. Bush, for example, was elected President in 1988. Al Gore wanted to follow his example in 2000, at the end of Bill Clinton's second term of office, but he lost (in controversial circumstances) to George W. Bush. Like Hillary Clinton in 2016, Gore won the popular vote.


DESIGNATED SURVIVOR

The presidential line of succession consists of 17 people: the Vice-President, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Speaker of the Senate, the Secretary of State and 13 other cabinet members. When they are gathered together (during the State of the Union address or the presidential inauguration), one of the 17 becomes the "designated successor."  He (or she) is taken to a safe and distant location. If something catastrophic happens to the other 16, the designated survivor becomes acting President. This tradition began in the Cold War and last year it became the subject of a TV series with Kiefer Sutherland in the title role. The Capitol Building is destroyed by a bomb attack during the State of the Union address. The President and the other 16 in line are killed and "designated survivor" Tom Kirkman (played by Sutherland), the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, becomes President. Designated Survivor can be seen in Italy on Netflix.

 


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Explains

Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
È una sorta di obiezione di coscienza religiosa, che permette per esempio ai negozianti cristiani di rifiutarsi di servire clienti omosessuali senza per questo essere accusati di discriminazione. La legge è stata fortemente contrastata e Pence ha dovuto modificarla.

LGBTQ. Acronimo per Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered, Questioning. È più nota la sigla LGBT, ma per non discriminare nessuno è stata introdotta anche la Q di Questioning (lett. domandarsi), per indicare tutte le persone che si interrogano sulla propria sessualità, lasciando la propria identità in sospeso.