Former Vice President Mike Pence made the media rounds quite extensively over the last few weeks.
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A Break With Trump
Pence said that “I honestly believe that we’re going to have better choices [than Donald Trump]. I hear people saying that they would like us to move forward with leadership that will unite our country around our highest ideals and reflect the kind of respect and civility that the American people demonstrate to each other every day.”
Pence also emphasized that “different times call for different leadership.”
Pence, who spent most of Trump’s first term defending Trump regardless of what the president said or did, has clearly turned a new leaf.
And one can assume that Pence’s new rhetoric, about different times calling for different leaders, is part of a primer for Pence’s own presidential candidacy.
So, the question is: will Pence run for president in 2024, and can he win?
Mike Pence 2024 Candidacy
Pence will probably run for president in 2024.
He clearly has no qualms about contesting Trump’s power – at least in a verbal sense.
And Pence will likely never be more relevant than he is now, just two years removed from the vice presidency – which of course is a traditional launching point for the presidency itself.
Several modern presidents served as vice presidents before earning the top job; most vice presidents seem to aspire to the top job.
One would figure Pence is similarly eyeing the presidency.
That Pence is actively appearing in the media suggests he wants to stay in public view.
And Pence released a memoir, So Help Me God, which is often a move politicians make before launching a presidential campaign. So yeah, safe money suggests that Pence will run for president.
But can he win?
Pence is unlikely to win the GOP primary for two reasons. The first is Donald Trump. The second is Ron DeSantis (Or maybe vice versa). Anything can happen – we’re a full two years out from the 2024 election – but Pence is simply not a frontrunner right now. Pence is understandably viewed as inferior to Trump, on account of having served beneath Trump in the Trump administration.
And while Pence has recently tried to regain some moral high ground, and a bit of personal dignity, by refuting Trump and his methods, Pence did spend roughly four years as Trump’s little cupbearer. And unlike Trump, Pence isn’t a demagogue with a sizeable portion of the population worshipping at his feet. Accordingly, Trump maintains a clear advantage over Pence.
But Trump may not be Pence’s most trying hurdle. Ron DeSantis is emerging as one of, if not the, most prominent figure in the Republican Party. DeSantis, who just won the Florida gubernatorial race with a 20-point margin, is poised to challenge Trump for the GOP ticket.
Can Mike Pence Beat Trump?
Pence is on the shortlist. He is the former vice president after all. But he’s not viewed as a likely winner of the GOP ticket. The contest is likely going to be between Trump and DeSantis. But then again, Jimmy Carter wasn’t even in the top 10 Democrats during polling at the onset of the 1976 campaign.
Carter, of course, went on to win the Democratic ticket and ultimately the White House itself, defeating incumbent Gerald Ford. So, anything can happen.
But I’m not counting on Mike Pence being the GOP nominee for president.
Harrison Kass is the Senior Editor at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, he joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison holds a BA from Lake Forest College, a JD from the University of Oregon, and an MA from New York University. He lives in Oregon and listens to Dokken.