It’s time for Republicans to get behind a presidential run by Mike Pence. No, it isn’t because of Robert Mueller’s investigation (not entirely). It isn’t because the Democrats are going to subpoena the President continuously (not entirely). It isn’t because President Trump will be challenged by the Vice President. It’s not because the President would lose in 2020.
Approximately one year from now, I believe the President will announce that his mission is accomplished and he’s ready to go back to the better life he had before politics.
Trump supporters will instantly hate on this assertion and call me many nasty things, but if they really stop to think about it, they might see the logic in this move. Here are five assumptions we can make:
- He may get enough done to stake claim to “Mission Accomplished.” He set out to build the wall, cut bureaucracy, initiate tariffs, get out of TPP and NAFTA, repeal Obamacare, improve the economy, and cut taxes. Those were the biggest promises he made and if he’s able to get funding for the wall, Obamacare is the only thing he will have left undone. Considering the surge of support for government-run healthcare since winning in 2016, it’s unlikely anyone’s going to go after it again any time soon. He can, in one term, do pretty much everything he wanted to do in the first place.
- He isn’t having fun. It was downplayed by the White House and quickly forgotten by the media, but there was a very subtle change in the President’s attitude after he was laughed at during a United Nations speech. After getting wide chuckles because of a claim he’d accomplished more than past U.S. presidents, he even admitted it wasn’t the reaction he expected. With a nice business empire waiting for him on the other side of his term, it’s hard to imagine he doesn’t miss the easier life of a CEO.
- Additional exposure may cost him his legacy. The longer he’s in office, the more likely it will be that his tax returns are exposed, past dealings with foreign governments come to light, more extramarital trysts hit the tabloids, unforeseen events cause economic catastrophe, or any number of scandals that could overshadow his presidential accomplishments. The sooner he gets out, the less likely it will be that his sins will be exposed.
- He is thin-skinned. Any and all attacks against him are met by attacks, but he can only punch back so much before it becomes tiresome. This weekend’s pleas for kudos – claiming he is most thankful for himself and asking Twitter to thank “President T” – are signs his ego is getting bruised by continuous negative press. He may enjoy fighting the fake news media at times, but it still gets under his skin when millions of Americans oppose him in every way possible.
- He might lose. The midterm elections weren’t the blue wave many expected, but they weren’t the victory the White House claimed, either. If the Democrats put up a likable nominee, there’s a very good chance he could lose. He’s already won the presidency once. If he calls it one-and-done, he’ll go out as a winner. If the GOP loses, he’ll be able to say maybe he should have stayed in because he definitely would have won. If the GOP wins, he’ll thank himself for opening that door. The only way he could go out as a loser is if he runs in 2020 and fails.
Keep in mind that I’m not calling for or even endorsing the idea that the President should quit. I’m simply looking at the writing on the wall and asking a question he’s probably been asking himself recently. “What can he gain from another term?
The answer is, “Not much.”
He can, however, lose a bunch. He can lose his legacy.
Only Mike Pence
I’ll be honest. I’m not a fan of Vice President Mike Pence. I think he showed his true colors when he backed down on multiple conservative issues in Indiana. But I don’t think the Republicans have a chance if they go through a fresh round of contentious primaries. They need a clear leader to emerge and put the nomination race away quickly.
The only person who could do that is Pence. More specifically, the only person who could do that is a heavily-endorsed-by-Trump version of Pence.
It would have to be simultaneous. While the President announces he’s not running for reelection, he has to announce Mike Pence is the only guy he supports to replace him. He will need to announce that Pence is the only person he trusts to push the Trump agenda forward.
Shortly before or soon after the announcement, he’ll need to call Senators Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Ben Sasse, Rand Paul, and anyone else who emerges as considering a run for the nomination and tell them to stand down. The only way Pence makes it into the general election strong enough to beat the Democrats is if the GOP galvanizes around him quickly.
There’s another reason Pence is the right guy. A big reason. As part of the ticket, any money raised before the President announces he’s not running can do directly towards Pence’s campaign.
Like I said, I’m not a fan of Pence, but I’d take him every time over Kamala Harris, Beto O’Rourke, or Oprah.
Obviously I’m a fan of President Trump’s and I hope he goes another term, but if he accomplishes everything he set out to achieve in one term, it’s possible he’ll get back to the good life. If so, only his right-hand man can fill the shoes.