Mike Pence is expected to announce his candidacy for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination by the end of June. Forgive me if I yawn. Trump’s vice president has no chance of being elected president.
The most memorable image of Pence comes from the 2020 Republican vice-presidential debate. A large black fly landed on his head. Pence was oblivious to it, just like he is on so many issues important to the Eastern Shore. Worried about climate change and rising sea levels? Mike is not your candidate.
I am troubled that Pence seems to think he is owed the Republican nomination because he refused to follow Trump’s request to reject the 2020 election results. We owe Pence a thank you for not rejecting democracy, but he was only doing his job. When he was inaugurated as vice president in 2017, he swore to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”
Other than not joining Trump’s insurrection, what else did Pence do as vice president? I cannot think of anything other than standing motionless behind Trump at bill signings and other events like a robot.
Pence’s policies, especially on abortion and guns, are, if anything, more right-wing than Trump’s. We could at least count on Trump to be unpredictable. Remember when Trump appeared to be open to gun safety reform legislation? Plus, why would any woman in their right mind vote for a man who has said he would not have lunch with a woman unless his wife were with him? Apparently the concept of professional female relationships has not entered his lexicon.
I am also not ready to forgive Pence for agreeing to be Trump’s vice president in the first place. His being on the 2016 ticket gave Trump much-needed credibility among mainstream Republicans. (In 2016 there were some.) Imagine if Pence had rejected Trump’s invitation and publicly repudiated him? When you think back to those times, there were many pundits who predicted that if Pence had run for another term as governor of Indiana, he would have lost. Perhaps that is why he jumped at the VP opportunity.
If news reports are accurate, we may soon have several Republican candidates more engaging than Pence and without Pence’s baggage. Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) announced on Monday. Among the candidates are Governor Ron DeSantis, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, Governor Glenn Youngkin of Virginia, Governor Chris Sununu of New Hampshire, and even Former Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey. All these names are preferable to Trump, who might be facing felony charges in three or even four different courts by the time the 2024 Republican convention is held in Milwaukee.
In dismissing Mike Pence as a boring, out of touch candidate, am I hoping for a Republican that can defeat Joe Biden or another Democrat in 2024? Of course not. I have yet to learn of any Republican who embraces the policies I deem important. My distaste for the GOP was also heightened by last week’s Republican intransigence over the debt ceiling.
It may be a naïve hope, but maybe, just maybe, a moderate Republican could revive the GOP and start a rebuilding process. I do not expect that to happen but ridding the party—and America—of Trump for good is a step in the right direction.
Some may ask, why do I want a revived Republican party? Because America needs at least two parties to function properly. Without a disciplined, principled opposition party, the Democrats could go too far left. Without today’s Democratic party, imagine the additional damage Trump may have done with four more years in office.
Mike Pence is not the future of the Republican party. He needs to retire. His entry into the Republican presidential campaign will, unfortunately, benefit Trump. That is why he should not join the race.
Let’s thank Pence for doing his job in January 2021. I wish him a pleasant retirement.
J.E. Dean is a retired attorney and public affairs consultant writing on politics, government, and other subjects.
Letters to Editor
Mickey Terrone says
Thank you for providing your readers with your Rogue’s Gallery of desperately incompetent 2024 Republican Party presidential non-entity candidates.
Starting with Pence, you were entirely too kind to suggest a “Thank You” from any American. Pence is a coward, too afraid to criticize his boss’ treasonous effort to overturn the 2024 election. Why? Because he’s frozen with fear of angering Trump’s “base”. Worse yet, he refused to condemn Trump for encouraging the mob to hang Pence and target some Democrats for a similar fate. No good American citizen would hesitate for a moment to condemn such violent and treasonous behavior. Pence is an empty suit.
None of the other toads you mentioned as having entered or about to enter the race to seriously compete against Trump have as yet, said anything to truly challenge his stranglehold on the sullen “base” of the cult, er, party.
Tim from South Carolina has positioned himself to be available to massa Trump when he wants a replacement for Pence to shill minority votes for his 2024 campaign. Forget Nikki. She was the SC governor who successfully led the campaign finally to remove the Confederate flag from the statehouse grounds in Columbia after the Charleston murders. She caved and don’t think the “base” has forgotten that. She could never have been reelected governor in that state.
I think we all know that some of the other possible nominees will enter the race just to help Trump with a view toward being offered the VP job (like Scott). I’m waiting patiently for Trump to deride Chris from New Hampshire with derisive comments about his last name if he announces.
Former NJ governor Chris Christie is a Republican heavyweight who has been more critical of Trump than most others. His qualification as a serious candidate was his record as a vengeful bully who responded to less than 100% support from his underlings with capers like the George Washington Bridge blockage to punish the mayor of Fort Lee, NJ. He even managed to get one of his blockage planners, Bill Stepien, a job in Trump’s inner circle. Yet Christie’s criticism of Trump may doom his hopes of ever getting support from the “base”. And Christie wouldn’t take Trump’s #2 spot.
Youngkin of Virginia, whose wunderkind reputation in winning that governorship has been mercurial, would be a good #2. He rode the CRT-Train to that office but at this point, CRT is like ancient history since the Party have moved on to other charades.
In reality, Trump still rules his cult. I seriously doubt Trump would back off his candidacy even if he (and his accomplices in both houses of Congress) is convicted of multiple crimes in the next 12 months. They will simply circle the wagons and ignore the law. It hardly matters who Trump selects as VP. Traditions don’t matter, the truth doesn’t matter, facts don’t matter. Distortion matters, disinformation matters, dark money matters, foreign support matters, radical media matters, blind dedication of the “base” matters. Trump will spare no effort to undermine any and all American laws or traditions in order to force his way back into the White House. And somehow, spineless cowards from Mike Pence on down, will find ways to cave in to support Trump.
That’s the way it is in the cult and that is what we need to be prepared for in 2024. And when Trump loses, get ready for another violent militia effort to force him issue of ending our Democratic Republic. Trump has no respect for our country. It has become a Trump survival strategy at this point – keeping out of jail. Trump, you see, is also his accomplices’ best hope of avoiding their own convictions and jail time for aiding and abetting their boss’ crimes. The Republican Party edifice is built upon rickety stilts and ready to crumble under the weight of its own blind, morbid obsession to Donald Trump. You are certainly correct in suggesting Pence is going nowhere but into anonymity.
John Dean says
Mickey, thanks for your substantive response–lots of good points.
I hope you are right that the Republican party is ready to crumble. That would be good news for democracy.
Sam Willson says
“Tim from South Carolina has positioned himself to be available to massa Trump” … wow. What an incredibly racist thing to write.
Mickey Terrone says
No, it isn’t racist. Read Uncle Tom’s Cabin and weep for Senator Scott and his black constituents in South Carolina.
Wilson Dean says
Mike Pence’s decision not to support Trump by using his capacity as Vice President to call into question the election results is something for which I will be forever grateful. Had he decided otherwise, the country would have been thrown into a constitutional crisis that could conceivably have led to violence, if not civil war, across the United States. So a “thank you” to Pence on that score is deserved.
That said, it is challenging to think of any other good Pence did for the country during his tenure as Trump’s VP (or minion?). He stood in virtual silence as Trump betrayed our childrens’ future by reversing course on addressing climate change, as Trump ignored scientific advice on dealing with the COVID crisis that led to hundreds of thousands of unnecessary deaths in the US, and as mass shootings proliferated with no effort to alter the country’s prioritization of guns over childrens’ lives. Pence will never be nominated or elected because the MAGA cult followers will never forgive him for his single act of defying Trump while everyone else will never forgive him for following Trump lockstep throughout a series of mindless policy positions.
Finally, I am a Democrat but I too would love to see a rejuvenated Republican party that casts aside the willful ignorance of the MAGA cult and responsibly represents conservative principles by working with Democrats to find compromises that lead to effective governance. Given those who have announced or are likely to announce their run for the Republican nomination, it is difficult to envision any of these individuals who could actually achieve that goal. I hope to be wrong, because it is democracy in the United States that will suffer if Republicans follow their current path.
John Dean says
Thank you for reading the piece and for your comment.
Mickey Terrone says
Wilson Dean: Well stated. You Deans are good! I would offer the suggestion that the reason Pence refused to give Trump his desired rejection of the Electoral College results was because he feared the legal repercussions of such a clearly unconstitutional act of defiance. And that would preclude his own plans to run for president.
Also note that in the past 2 years since the January 6th insurrection, Pence has refused to come clean and honestly testify to the full truth about what he saw and heard as a Trump insider before, during and to a lesser degree, after the insurrection. Why? Because it could precluse his own plans to run for president.
Now, Pence’s pathetic position reflects his lack of personal courage, integrity and leadership. He should probably sit out this election and stay home with “mother”.