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.