Mike Pence’s political dilemma.
The man mustn’t deviate from Trump, lest his 2024 prospects crash and burn, yet he must acknowledge reality on January 6th.
On January 6th reality will come crashing through into Trumpland, when congress confirms Joe Biden as the President-Elect and Kamala Harris as the Vice-President Elect. Dedicated Trumpists will still hail the new administration as illegitimate, but at least reality will be acknowlaged in the sense that Biden will be sat in the Oval Office come January 20th.
Vice President Mike Pence has been unflinchingly loyal to President Trump, for this simple reason: he wants the Presidency. Pence wasn’t a Trump loyalist, he backed Ted Cruz and talked disparagingly of Trump as a potential President before joining the ticket. Pence lives in the real world, he knows this is a shambles, and when the lights and cameras are off he tries to behave like a sane human being when interfacing with governors or the opposition.
Mike Pence isn’t deranged, he’s just a shameless career grifter who’s sold his country down the river to further his career, with the hope of becoming POTUS and installing his hard-right religious fundamentalist ideology on an evolving America.
Pence’s road to the Presidency depends on several things. He needs to wait, and hope that Trump won’t run again, because if he does then he has no chance. If Trump doesn’t run in 2024, Pence is the front-runner for the nomination as of right now, and has a clear path, touting loyalty to Trump, strong evangelical credentials, and continuity MAGA in order to lock up the 2024 GOP nomination. If anything, Pence would prove a unifying figure for disparate parts of the GOP.
The biggest obstacle for Pence in the event Trump declines to run again, is the next few weeks, and keeping in Trump’s good books. You see, Pence will have to preside over the proceedings that confirm definitively Trump’s defeat, as Biden did to confirm Trump’s victory four years prior. It’s wholly plausible Trump will implore Pence to block Biden winning (not constitutionally possible, but a demand you could see being made) and then lambast him as a disloyal “deep state traitor” when he refuses to cooperate, damaging him permanently in the eyes of the Republican base for the sin of acknowledging the reality that a clear majority of Americans rejected them and their politics.
Pence’s best best would be to sit out the proceedings, and refuse to attend, shattering more norms and damaging democracy yet further. As a closing point; Pence is beatable, and his regressive Presidency is no forgone conclusion, it’s something we must stop.