How do you explain Mike Pence’s almost religious devotion to Donald Trump? Trump is a purely transactional politician. No hardened opinions. No steadfast positions. You offer your support for him, and you get his support for what you want. Pence knew exactly what the religious right segment of the base wanted, and he delivered Trump’s speeches, tweets, signatures, and judges. And the strategy is paying off, bigly. In the latest win, “the Supreme Court said Tuesday that Maine cannot exclude religious schools from a tuition assistance program that allows parents to use vouchers to send their children to public or private schools. The 6-3 ruling is the latest move by the conservative court to expand religious liberty rights and bring more religion into public life, a trend bolstered by the addition of three of former President Donald Trump’s nominees.” Justice Sonia Sotomayor in a dissent: “What a difference five years makes … In 2017, I feared that the Court was ‘leading us … to a place where separation of church and state is a constitutional slogan, not a constitutional commitment … Today, the Court leads us to a place where separation of church and state becomes a constitutional violation.” Mike Pence paired his religious devotion with the GOP base’s religious devotion to Trump. In his mind, he’s doing god’s work, and, of course, Pence’s big prize, the overturning of Roe v Wade, is still to come.

+ Trump’s transactional nature explains why so many politicians support him, even now as we learn of his deep betrayal of the American electoral process. From policies to power, everyone gets something in return, and whatever that something is has become more important than democracy. These enablers won’t be surprised by anything they hear in today’s Jan 6 hearings. We all know Trump pressured state officials to overturn the election after every knowledgable person in his administration told him he lost fair and square. For some, enabling that attack on America was worth whatever they got in return.