Pence is in Trouble
Rumors about President Trump ditching Vice President Pence have swirled around Washington for quite some time now. A sitting president hasn’t switched his running mate since 1944, and Trump has dismissed any notion that Pence wouldn’t be on the 2020 ticket.
But when has history ever stopped Trump? When have his previous statements ever stopped him either?
I first heard of Trump mulling a potential new vice president about a year ago, and I haven’t put much thought into it. It isn’t something I actively think about. But every once in a while, I come across a tidbit of information that makes me recall this backburner of a story.
One example is when Trump designated Pence to lead the coronavirus task force. Even at the beginning — when the virus numbers were low — appointing Pence seemed tactical. This future debacle needed a fall guy, and Trump had his scapegoat.
Another example was a little snippet I read in the New York Times, “(Trump’s) campaign has quietly unwound a team dedicated to coordinating Vice President Mike Pence’s activities, shedding a group of staff members assigned to him.”
What timing! Amid sinking poll numbers and multiple (four? seven?) self-inflicted wounds, the Trump campaign has viewed Pence as expendable.
Pence’s job is done. He accomplished what he was meant for. Partnering with a socially conservative, evangelical politician was meant to assuage nervous Christian voters about the bombastic, thrice divorced New York billionaire. But the precarious arrangement is finalized. The Trump administration is hostile to the LGBTQ community, and he’s stuffing the judiciary with petri dish specimens from the Federalist Society’s basement. If voters know that Trump will appoint right wing judges, then what purpose does Pence serve anymore?
Adding to the intrigue is how historically bad Trump is doing with women voters. He is currently trailing by 24 points with women, 11 points worse than his already dismal 2016 showing. It’s a boring campaign with a woman problem. Is it totally inconceivable that Trump, who treats West Wing staffers like contestants on The Apprentice, wouldn’t shake things up?
Political analyst Paul Begala agrees. “On Thursday, July 16 — that’s the date the Democrat gives his acceptance address…on that day, to interrupt that narrative, Donald Trump will call a press conference at Mar-a-Lago. He’s going to dump Mike Pence and put Nikki Haley on the ticket to try to get those suburban moms,” he said.
“Trump put Pence in charge of coronavirus to throw him under the bus,” Begala added.
Pence may be on his way out through no fault of his own. Trump needs energy, something fresh, the media spotlight, and help with women voters. Pence can’t deliver on any of those.
After he’s dismissed, maybe Pence will write a book like the rest of them.