Mike Pence did more than side with racists and make a fool of himself when he clumsily staged a “spontaneous” walkout at an NFL game after black football players took a knee during the national anthem. Pence also telegraphed something about the future which, while it takes a minute to understand, ends up being crystal clear: Pence is certain that Donald Trump is going to be ousted.
That alone doesn’t mean it’s going to happen – but it’s now clear that Mike Pence thinks it’s going to happen. The reasoning starts here: there was no reason for Pence to carry out such a weird stunt today. It was a clear attempt at endearing himself to Trump’s racist base, at the risk of alienating everyone else. Why would Pence bother sticking his neck out like this, just to help out Trump’s prospects? He wouldn’t. He’s too fundamentally selfish for that.
Instead, Pence was trying to win over Trump’s base as a way of setting the stage for his own run for president in 2020. In turn, there’s only one way that Pence would even be in a position to run for president in 2020 – and that’s if he’s already president. If Trump is ousted and Pence inherits the presidency, he can probably win the 2020 Republican nomination without much interference. Even if Trump finishes his term and then doesn’t run for re-election, Pence would end up one of twenty candidates for the 2020 Republican nomination – and he wouldn’t win it.
Mike Pence is enough of a political survivor to understand what I’ve explained above. His decision to pull this race-baiting and self-humiliating stunt today was an unmistakable sign that he expects to be running for president in 2020 as the incumbent. That means he expects Donald Trump will be ousted before the end of his term. Of course Pence isn’t considering that he may end up getting ousted over the Russia scandal as well.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report