Mike Pence is already gearing up to run for President in 2020, based on his pattern of fundraising and appearances documented by the New York Times (link). Some have suggested that he’s planning to mount a primary challenge against Donald Trump. But the evidence tells me that Pence is now banking on Trump having already been ousted well before 2020. And I think he’s right about that – but he’s walking into a trap.
Pence is an ideological extremist, but he’s spent his career demonstrating a fair understanding of how politics works. He surely knows that if Trump runs for reelection in 2020, he’ll face a dozen or more primary challengers. An entire Republican clown car will be seeking to unseat the deeply unpopular Trump. And because Pence would have the most Trump-stink on him of any of the challengers, he’d have little chance; someone else would unseat Trump.
Similarly, if Trump somehow survives his entire term but doesn’t run again, the Republican primary will be chock full of candidates, and Pence would once again be facing an uphill battle. The only realistic way for Mike Pence to win the 2020 Republican nomination is if he’s already the president. I think Pence knows all of the above, and he’s putting all his chips inheriting the presidency once Trump is ousted by scandal. Considering the kind of freefall Trump is in, and the manner in which he’s making his scandals worse with his reactions to them, I do believe Trump will be removed. But that’s when Pence will get his own comeuppance.
All along, the Democrats have been amassing evidence of Mike Pence’s role in the Russia scandal coverup. The Special Counsel investigation should expose even more of Pence’s complicity. Removal by impeachment ultimately requires a two-thirds Senate vote in the end, meaning both parties would have to come together on some level to make any ouster. But if the Republicans only agree to oust Trump and not Pence, and if Pence assumes the presidency, the Democrats can quickly begin using that evidence to destroy “President Pence.” Even if Pence never is ousted, he’ll be crippled for the entire rest of the term, and he may end up in too bad of shape to even bother running in 2020.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report