Pro-TPP Mark Pence confirmed as Trump's running mate

Another twist in the world's craziest race – this time potentially in favour of our government's signature trade deal.

UPDATE: Mark Pence has now been confirmed as Donald Trump's vice-presidential running mate  the unearthing of a Pence tweet calling Trump's proposed ban on Muslim immigration offensive and unconstitutional having failed to derail the process. Given Mr Pence's pro-trade views, Mr Trump's choice of running mate is being viewed as a concession to the Repunlican Party establishment.

EARLIER: Donald Trump will name former Indiana governor and congressman Mike Pence as his running mate; US media is tipping.

The official vice-presidential nominee announcement is due tomorrow. 

Mr. Pence, a lawyer and talkback radio host before he went into politics, is best-known for pushing Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Some critics – including Apple chief executive Tim Cook and Salesforce boss Marc Benioff – said the law enabled discrimination against the LGBT community.

Mr. Trump, who has historically taken relatively liberal positions on issues like gay marriage, is presumably looking to shore up his standing with social conservatives.

However, there's another intriguing element for those following the Trans-Pacific Partnership saga: Mr. Pence is strongly free trade.

The Washington Post notes that while a Congressman, Mr. Pence "voted for every free-trade agreement that came before him. That record, along with at least two votes favoring freer trade with China."

The Post adds, "Mr Pence also has publicly supported the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement of Pacific Rim nations, an agreement negotiated by the Obama administration which Trump opposes and has likened to rape." 

Where Mr. Trump wants to raise tariffs against China to bring low-end, low-margin manufacturing jobs back to the US, Mr. Pence has advocated a more orthodox right-wing position pushing freer trade. He refused to intervene directly in a controversy that saw an Indiana company send 1400 jobs to Mexico.

Mr. Trump would presumably ask Mr. Pence to put a trade on the back-burner during the campaign. But his presence on the ticket would nevertheless give the pro-TPP camp a degree of hope for a shift policy post-election.

And is selection as Trump's vice presidential nominee would be a boost to yesterday's development, which saw the Republican Party drop the TPP from its platform.

150 tech leaders sign open letter
A separate campaign development has seen 150 technology industry leaders sign an open letter saying a Trump presidency would be a "disaster for innovation."

A notable holdout is Facebook, PayPay, and Xero investor Peter Thiel, a Trump delegate for California, who will speak at the Republican Convention next week. Mr. Thiel, who was born in Germany but now lives in California, has praised Mr. Trump's calls to limit immigration.

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