When it comes to holding out hope for something as important as ending the embarrassment of a Trump presidency, it may be equally important to be prepared for what that can mean; a Mike Pence administration.
For starters, the embarrassment, as I just called it, should not only be taken as an opposition to what Trump has done in office; what he’s said, what he has failed to accomplish, or the revolving door of White House staff that has plagued his administration. This includes the overwhelming embarrassment that comes from whether or not he should be president in the first place.
With an investigation still underway, that includes campaign staff and family of the then candidate, it is hard to say what will come from all of this. Legally speaking, who is to blame? If Trump is to be held accountable, should his running mate and now VP?There are three ways that the American people can find themselves with a new president (short of the awful and unthinkable, regardless my feelings toward the man). The investigation can reveal post-inauguration “high crimes and misdemeanors,” leading to impeachment; in that event, Trump could take the route of Nixon and resign; or the cabinet and VP could invoke the 25th Amendment to the Constitution (if you haven’t read it, I encourage you to do so as it is an interesting process that would be, if nothing else, a continuation of the entertainment this administration has brought us).
All three of these processes would presumably see a Mike Pence White House. But, and here’s the looking forward that we need to be prepared for, is that what we really want? Based on approval numbers, there are apparently plenty of Republicans that wouldn’t mind seeing Trump go, and I’m sure a great deal of them that would love a Pence presidency. He has strong conservative credentials, a career politician, and those that voted for Trump voted for him too. As a Democrat, I of course am inclined to see him out of the White House as well; for those very same reasons, and then some.
But there are two questions I continue asking myself when thinking about such a possibility:
- Is Mike Pence even worth it? In other words, is he any better than what we have now?
- If Trump is found guilty in collusion to be elected with a foreign government, at what point do we conclude that Pence, having known or not, is not a democratically elected Vice President and does not deserve to remain in power?
I find myself answering the first question in the negative, but that may just be my liberal nature. He is ultraconservative, has been just as quiet on the major issues, such as Charlottesville, as I would have expected, allowing the president to dig his own grave in that respect, and I honestly feel he would be bad for the country. Given all that we found out about Mike Pence during and after the campaign, he would no doubt run our country in the wrong direction and undo civil rights so hard fought.
Secondly, it is important to understand that our elections for the highest office include the second man on the ticket (I say “man” out of historical frequency, though of course women have run for the top and second spots). Ask John McCain if he still feels comfortable with his decision to choose Sarah Palin, a woman that all but imploded the candidacy of a great American. Though Barack Obama was something of an anomaly in election campaign lore, Palin’s lack of understanding of her role and Trumpesque qualities that apparently the country weren’t ready for destroyed McCain’s bid. People just could not see themselves placing that woman in a White House with an elderly president, making her the possible Chief Executive at a moment’s notice.
Thus, if Republican’s (if we can still call Trump supporters that) voted for one, they voted for both. And if the top of the ticket is found to have reached a win by less than legal means, so much so that he his ousted from that job, would it not be understood that the second in line is also fraudulently in office? Whether or not you think he would be a fit for the job (by comparison at least), this is a question that haunts me.