Mike Pence Might Be a Pivotal Supporter of Restore America’s Wire Act

Donald Trump in the Oval Office - RAWA

Though Mike Pence supposedly would have control of “domestic and foreign” policy, bills would come to the Oval Office for signing by President Trump.

Republican Vice Presidential candidate Mike Pence agrees that online gambling should be banned in the United States. Though Mike Pence did not mention online gambling during his nomination speech at the Republican National Convention, he has voiced his support for Sheldon Adelson’s anti-online gambling legislation in the past.

After the Indiana governor was tapped by Donald Trump as his vice presidential pick, the Poker Players Alliance released a statement.┬áThe PPA wrote, “[Pence] went as far as to author a letter to the Indiana Congressional delegation asking them to support the Adelson bill that would shut down state-licensed poker websites and prohibit new ones.

“As if that was not enough, he made sure to send a copy to Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), sponsor of the House version of the prohibition legislation, to provide backing for one of Chaffetz’s Congressional hearings on the subject.

Mike Pence’s Letter to Sheldon Adelson

That letter was written in April 2014, when the Restore America’s Wire Act (RAWA) had just been introduced to the US House of Representatives by Jason Chaffetz and the US Senate by Sen. Lindsey Graham. The RAWA splits the votes of Republicans. Some view it as social conversatives, thinking online gambling is bad on moral grounds. Other GOP members view it as liberatarians, who see RAWA as a vast expansion of federal authority over traditional states rights.

This political season has defied most analysis, so it is not easy to calculate the effects on gaming law a GOP victory would mean. The Poker Players Alliance praised the Republicans for not mentioning online gambling during their convention. The group continues to voice concern about Gov. Mike Pence’s previous statement, though.

Donald Trump has voiced no support for Restore America’s Wire Act. A vice presidential nominee’s stance on an issue like online gambling might not normally matter in most years, but Donald Trump has indicated before he wants his vice president to handle the day-to-day governing of the country. Thus, Mike Pence might have an unprecedented influence for a VP candidate on US domestic and foreign policy.

The Devil and John Kasich

Reports have circulated that Donald Trump tried to convince Gov. John Kasich of Ohio to be his vice presidential nominee. Those close to John Kasich claimed that Donald Trump promised that his vice president would be given tremendous authority in running domestic and foreign policy during his administration.

In that scenario, the vice president would hold much of the day-to-day power and influence in the administration. President Trump would handle the ceremonial duties and, to borrow the words of George W. Bush, be the ultimate decider. Yet most of the time, Donald Trump would be the chairman of the board, while the vice president would be the chief executive officer.

Gov. Kasich declined the position, even under those circumstances. It is likely John Kasich knew he would be the fall guy if policies went badly, while Trump would get the credit if the VP’s policies succeeded. And the ultimate would have the real power and popular support in the government, so the vice president would work with a Sword of Damocles over his head.

The Dick Cheney Role

If Mike Pence received a similar offer, he might have a great deal more power than your average vice president might. The last Republican vice president, Dick Cheney, was criticized for wielding too much power and influence during the Bush Administration. In many ways, Cheney’s role was similar to the one Trump offered to Kasich, as the initiator of many policies in the administration.

Gov. Mike Pence has been a solid conservative, which is why Donald Trump chose him as his running mate. Pence had a solidly conservative voting record during his 12 years as an Indiana representative to Congress. During his term as Indiana governor, Pence has gained a reputation as more of a social conservative, which implies the active use of government in moral concerns. If Pence were in the Adelson camp on online gambling, he could drive the agenda.

Donald Trump and Sheldon Adelson

The Republican Convention did have one moment which might scare proponents of online gambling. On Wednesday night of the convention, Donald Trump sought out Sheldon Adelson, the CEO of Las Vegas Sands who wants to eliminate online gambling in the USA. Adelson had snubbed Sen. Ted Cruz, which pleased Donald Trump.

Trump was courting the donations of Sheldon Adelson, since he is one of the few GOP megadonors who has shown a willingness to fund the Trump campaign. (The Koch Brothers and Paul Singer have not shown that willingess.) Adelson showed Donald Trump loyalty, which is important to the New York real estate developer.

Donations Mean Access

Also, Donald Trump has stated before that he donated to the Democrats before, because he wanted access to politicians. When asked why he might fund a Hillary Clinton campaign, Trump replied that he did it, because politicians did what you asked them to when you funded their campaigns.

In short, Donald Trump knows how the game works. If Sheldon Adelson hands over $100 million to help the Trump Campaign, then he is going to expect something. Perhaps that means a more hawkish approach on the Iranian deal, which is Adelson’s other pet cause. But it might mean a strict ban on online gambling. Thus, Sheldon Adelson might not need Mike Pence’s active support to pass Restore America’s Wire Act.