President Donald Trump appears to have driven those on the left to a place they likely never thought they'd be. According to a new poll, a majority of Democrats would prefer to see Vice President Mike Pence as commander in chief.
A new PredictWise/Pollfish survey has found that 62 percent of Democrats would rather see Pence, a champion of social conservatism, behind the Resolute desk than Trump, BuzzFeed News reported.
Jon Favreau, a former Obama speechwriter, told BuzzFeed he would "sleep easier with almost any other human being as president than Donald Trump." He added, "I’m not as worried [Pence] would accidentally start a nuclear war because some Breitbart lunatic floated a conspiracy that got under his skin."
Another former aide to former President Barack Obama said it's "fair to say that every Democrat I know" would rather see Pence — who often describes himself as "Christian, conservative and a Republican, in that order" — as president.
"He would pass some very bad laws, possibly more efficiently than Trump will," the aide said. "But we would not be worried about nuclear war, the end of NATO and an unholy alliance with Russia, the dissolution of basic democratic norms and principles, or the base-level stability and mental health of the world’s most powerful person."
All things considered, it's noteworthy that so many Democrats would entertain the idea of a President Pence, given his highly conservative credentials.
In 2002, when he was in Congress, then-Rep. Pence (R-Ind.) delivered a speech on the floor of the House of Representatives, passionately rejecting evolution:
I believe that God created the known universe, the Earth and everything in it, including man. And I also believe that some day scientists will come to see that only the theory of intelligent design provides even a remotely rationale explanation for the known universe. But until that day comes, and I have no fear of science, I believe that the more we study the science, the more the truth of faith will become apparent.
Then, in 2006, Pence signaled his support for a constitutional amendment to define marriage as between one man and one woman, which he called "God's idea." During a speech he gave at the time, Pence said: "Societal collapse was always brought about following an advent of the deterioration of marriage and family."
And even more recently, Pence became the first sitting vice president to address pro-lifers at the annual March for Life rally in January. The vice president described the event as "a good day, the best day I’ve ever seen for the March [for] Life, in more ways than one."
During his address, he told the crowd that "life is winning again in America," citing conservative, pro-life majorities in Congress. "Today is a celebration of that progress," he said.
But all of that, several Democrats told BuzzFeed, pales in comparison to their concerns about Trump.
"I know Pence is a much more doctrinaire conservative," an aide to former President Bill Clinton said, "but he is not evil and he is not crazy. I know that’s a pathetically low bar for the most powerful job on earth, but if that’s the choice, it is an easy one."
The president of Media Matters, Angelo Carusone, said Pence "would provide a little bit of relief," though he did note that — in his view — the vice president is "just as scary."
Even Hollywood director Joss Whedon, known for his unrelenting attacks on Trump and conservatives as a whole and who tweeted last month that he was "broken," said he'd rather see Pence, "a loathsome swine who has every intention of stripping basic rights from most of the country," in the Oval Office.
"Pence is unethical, but he’s quantifiable," Whedon said in an email to BuzzFeed. "He’s opposable."