Someone Please Tell Mike Pence That He Will Never Be President
The former vice president’s preliminary campaigning for a 2024 run is a waste of time and energy
It’s almost adorable that Mike Pence is even bothering to tease a presidential bid, much less one in 2024.
The former vice president — who had to run for cover back in January as a violent mob of Donald Trump supporters stormed the Capitol seeking his head due to his failure to help the ex-president steal an election based on a lie about Black voters — is doing the sort of things that politicians do to tease a White House run. Pence visited the state of South Carolina, which has often played a deciding factor in the presidential primary seasons of both major political parties, to remind everyone that while he can’t be counted on to cheat every election, his bigotry remains enduring. There, at a dinner reportedly sponsored by a conservative Christian nonprofit, he promised to spend the coming months “pushing back on the liberal agenda.”
Yes, that’s from the conservative hit collection, so you know how it goes.
“We’ve got to guard our values… by offering a positive agenda to the American people, grounded in our highest ideals,” Pence explained. “Now, over the coming months, I’ll have more to say about all of that.”
Pence said this as if there’s a wide audience for him to give speeches or read his books. I wish I could insert audio of me chuckling here. But I guess in some cases, he is being encouraged.
After Pence’s unimaginative remarks, he secured the AP headline, “Eyeing 2024, Pence says he’ll push back on ‘liberal agenda.’” By Monday morning, there was another from Fox News helping advance Pence’s publicity rollout: “Pence headed to New Hampshire in June, sparking more 2024 buzz.” Pence is getting press by virtue of status and infamy, but by now, one would think after escaping death in the manner he did, one would’ve forged new political calculations.
The only chance Mike Pence ever had of becoming president came and went during the immediate aftermath of the insurrection. That was the time Pence should’ve called every person with sense to board The Donald Trump Hate Train and run that lazy White supremacist out of the White House with it.
While I understand that we’re all free to dream a little dream, when it comes to Mike Pence ever becoming president of the United States of America, why even humor this poor facsimile of a man?
The only chance Mike Pence ever had of becoming president came and went during the immediate aftermath of the insurrection. That was the time Pence should’ve called every person with sense to board The Donald Trump Hate Train and run that lazy White supremacist out of the White House with it — assuming they would settle on a forced resignation or swift impeachment. That would’ve allowed Pence to be president for a few days and enjoy the protection of the Secret Service, which based on the venom and intensity of select Trump supporters, seems like a necessity for him and “Mother” even if they chose to live in exile.
Unfortunately, Pence — like Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel, and the people running that propaganda outlet called Fox News — is waiting in vain on the idea that you can simply wait Trump out. McConnell has referenced legal liabilities for sending a mob that included several individuals that wanted to murder them. As much as I root for NeNe Leakes’ and Bill Barr’s former co-worker to need money on his books, I’m also too Black to have faith in the American justice system righting the wrongs of an awful rich White man, even if his money is allegedly Monopoly currency.
Donald Trump is a fool, but to his credit, he understands that regardless of his legal consequences, the majority of the Republican Party stands for him no matter what.
Which leads to Mike Pence’ even bigger problem: Trump still can’t stand him.
Trump publicly criticized Pence last month while speaking at the RNC’s spring retreat billed as a GOP unity conference, saying he was disappointed.
A former Trump senior administration official told Politico, “The vice president’s foray into 2024 politics will be met with a more reserved golf clap.” A former campaign aide added: “I like Mike Pence. I think he was a great V.P. A great guy. But the reality is a large portion of the Trump base doesn’t like him or care about him… his ability to attract new voters wasn’t really there.”
Thanks to the New York Times, we know Trump told Pence, “You can either go down in history as a patriot or you can go down in history as a pussy.” The people who love Trump share this line of thinking. Pence could be spending the golden years of his life doing something like learning what an actual Christian does, but instead he’s choosing to play in our faces by publicly flirting with a presidential bid destined to fail.
Naturally, Trump’s people are already out there figuring out his replacement.
One name they like is Florida governor Ron DeSantis. Late last week, Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo floated the name to Trump and was greeted positively. “A lot of people like that — you know, I’m just saying what I read and what you read — they love that ticket,” the frequent caller said. “But certainly, Ron would be considered. He’s a great guy.”
Racist and reckless with ridiculous hair? I can see why Trump likes him so much. (Trump also knows DeSantis tends to poll highest in outcomes where Trump is not included.)
There are some seemingly auditioning for the role, too. That would include Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, the Black Republican Senator who last week declared that America was not a racist nation in his response to President Biden’s first joint address to Congress.
Like Scott, former South Carolina governor and Trump administration alum Nikki Haley likes to tell Republican voters that there’s no discrimination for the sake of ambition. As embarrassing as these types are, at least Haley can say she’s not as unrealistic as Mike Pence is being.
Last month, Haley declared that she won’t run in 2024 if Trump jumps in.
“I would not run if President Trump ran, and I would talk to him about it,” Haley told the Associated Press. “That’s something that we’ll have a conversation about at some point, if that decision is something that has to be made.”
I have a hard time believing a political party that nominated Donald Trump, an outwardly racist chauvinist serially accused of sexual assault, would then go to someone like Nikki Haley next. I don’t know if Haley shares my doubts, but she has apparently come to accept something that Pence and others thinking about 2024 have failed to: Unless you block Trump from the ticket, it’s only his for the taking.
There can be no successor to a person who has successfully flipped a political party into a personality cult. There can only be a number two. We’re a long ways from 2024, and a lot can happen between now and then, but some things are for certain.
Mike Pence losing his neck should have taught him that, but I guess some people enjoy lying to themselves that much.