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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Is Pence Preparing for His Own 2020 Run?

That's what Politico is insinuating today:

Vice President Mike Pence is embarking on a cross-country summer campaign tour amid rising fears that the GOP, reeling from a barrage of Trump-fueled controversies, is headed for a midterm election disaster.
Pence is mapping out a schedule that will take him through several Midwestern battlegrounds and to traditionally conservative Southern states like Georgia, where an unexpectedly competitive June special-election runoff is alarming party strategists. The vice president will also attend a series of Republican Party events that will draw major donors and power brokers, where talk about 2018 is certain to be front and center.
The push comes at a time of growing consternation among senior Republicans who say the White House has given them little direction on midterm planning. Many complain that they do not even know who to contact about 2018 in an administration that has been consumed by chaos.
“He has an appetite to fight, so he's going to get out there and fight on the president's behalf,” said Nick Ayers, a longtime Pence strategist.
At the same time, the vice president’s increased electoral activity has stoked speculation that Pence is positioning himself for a post-Trump future in the party, something his advisers strenuously deny.
Pence has already formed a political action committee, the Great America Committee, enabling him to raise money for candidates who need help in 2018, an unusual move for a sitting vice president. And his upcoming effort to strengthen ties to the party’s rank and file and connect with key donors is likely to fuel the perception that Pence wants to fortify his position atop the party independent of his relationship to President Donald Trump.

My guess is that he's getting out there because Trump won't, or can't, potentially because he's retrenching angrily in the White House, potentially getting ready to lash out at his enemies:

Now he is, to put it mildly, on the ropes. His policy priorities are in a shambles, the courts are blocking his immigration “reforms,” and day by day he is being subjected to a regimen of leaks that are the political equivalent of death by a thousand cuts.
Men like Trump do not fade gently into their political night. Rather, with all nuance sacrificed in pursuit of their senescent need for the spotlight, they scrabble and scratch, lash out and fight. With no self-limiting or self-correcting moral gyroscope, they go down whatever paths they believe offer them the best chance of survival.

I actually think there's a chance he does fade away, but only because he either becomes to besieged or breaks down so much that he's not well enough to rampage through DC.

And I could be quite wrong about all of this; according to the Washington Post today, Pence is more popular than Trump.

Any of these scenarios -- Pence running, Pence having to cover for Trump, Trump cowering in the White House, or Trump lashing out all sound pretty good to me.

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