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Poor @mikepence, regular dude and not our incoming vice president

It's hard out there for a Pence.


April Siese

Internet Culture

Posted on Nov 16, 2016   Updated on May 25, 2021, 2:02 pm CDT

Having the same name as someone famous can be both a blessing and a curse. Take regular dude Mike Pence, who, uh, actually doesn’t gain a whole lot from sharing a name with the incoming vice president.

The software engineer tweeted the above plea in between getting bombarded by Trump supporters who either wanted to congratulate him or tell him that God is in control. Apparently it’s the lord’s divine will to lock a 49-year-old non-politician in a battle with MAGA pepes and Twitter eggs.

For the most part, Pence’s social media presence is the exact inverse of the Indiana governor: liberal, supportive of Hillary Clinton, and tech savvy. He checked in with NY Mag’s Select All over the summer to talk name confusion way back when Pence was just joining the Trump team:

I can’t begin to catch up with the mentions of @mikepence on Twitter. On the one hand, it has been hugely entertaining, since I get to troll conservatives a bit by pretending to be in a love affair with @realDonaldTrump using my account. On the other hand, any hope I had of actually using Twitter to have conversations with the many amazing software engineers that I know is pretty much on hold until the governor is (hopefully) no longer the talk of the moment.

OK, so the moment stretched out a whole lot longer than Pence anticipated and now the bizarro version of himself is gonna lowkey lead the country while Donald Trump hides in his Manhattan fortress of solitude.

“Of course, I had hoped that the election would send the governor limping back to some god-forsaken corner of the Midwest and that my Twitter life could return to normal, but that was not to be,” Cool Pence tells the Daily Dot. “Then I considered just using a different twitter handle and letting that one go silent, because I was overwhelmed with mis-directed mentions.”

Cool Pence can hang, though. He’s already tweeted a hodgepodge fanfiction depicting Pence and Trump as star-crossed lovers.

And he’s hip to memes. And hat-tips. Nice!

Cool Pence is going to continue raising awareness about causes he cares about and combating the incendiary rhetoric of the alt-right and the country’s new leader.

“What has changed recently is that I am gaining notoriety for being the Mike Pence that is not THAT Mike Pence, so many of the influx of recent followers I have are not there because of mistaking my identity. So I welcome that, and figure that if happenstance has now given me this unique pedestal from which to tweet, so be it,” Pence explains: 

“So the plan is to embrace it, and use the attention as a force for good, however I can. Right now that means promoting my charitable efforts for next year’s running of the Chicago Marathon for Ronald McDonald House Charities, as I just did for the first time in October. Maybe that can mean some other charitable work, too, in the future.”

Normal guy who’s into running Mike Pence isn’t the only wrong person mixed up in the basket of deplorables. Way back during the RNC, Trump gave a special shoutout to Scott Walker, newscaster, who is definitely not Gov. Scott Walker of sad sandwich fame.

So, what advice does Pence give fellow same namers out there on social media? Embrace the confusion and “go with it.”

“Names are not unique identifiers, just ask any John Smith,” Pence says. “Don’t let some random coincidence make you hesitate to identify yourself by your name of choice or cause you to hold back from shining on as your authentic self. Life is too short for that.”

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*First Published: Nov 16, 2016, 4:39 pm CST