It’s seldom that a winning ticket is broken. Why rock the boat? But the boat has been rocked 11 times in the past, so it’s not exactly an anomaly. James Madison picked George Clinton in 1808, then Eldridge Gerry in 1812. Andrew Jackson picked John C. Calhoun in 1828 and Martin Van Buren in 1832. In 1840, the Democrats refused to re-nominate Vice President Richard Johnson, so Martin Van Buren ran alone, but Johnson was made vice president afterward.
In 1860, Abraham Lincoln picked Hannibal Hamlin, but in 1860, he picked Andrew Johnson. Grant picked Schuyler Colfax in 1868 and Henry Wilson in 1872. Grover Cleveland picked Thomas A. Hendricks in 1884, but Adlai Stevenson in 1892. William McKinley picked Garret Hobart in 1890, but Theodore Roosevelt in 1900. Franklin D. Roosevelt had three vice presidents: John Nance Garner, Henry A. Wallace, and Harry S. Truman. That was the last time a vice president was not re-nominated.
The office of vice president has remained empty 17 times, due to deaths: 1812-1817, 1832-1837, 1841-1845, 1850-1853, 1853-1857, 1865-1869, 1875-1877, 1881-1885, 1885-1889, 1899-1901, 1905-1909, 1912-1913, 1923-1925, 1945-1949, 1963-1965, temporarily in 1973, and in 1974. The 20th Amendment solved that problem.
Traditionally, a vice president has been chosen to “balance the ticket,” or to bring in a new constituency. Donald Trump picked Mike Pence as a strategic move in 2016. With his divorces and affairs, as well as the things he said about people, especially women, made many wonder about his morals. That’s why he picked Pence, the darling of the Religious Right.
But in the past three-plus years, Trump has made every effort to give the Far-Right what they want, such as extreme-right Supreme Court picks, and many anti-abortion actions. So does he really “need” Pence anymore? Although even Glenn Beck said that Trump was too debased to be president, Evangelicals would die for Trump now. Why not find someone else, who could counter some of his other weaknesses?
Trump’s greatest weakness is with women, so we already had an article suggesting that he might dump Pence in favor of Nikki Haley. Let’s not forget the Megyn Kelly debacle–Trump said she had blood coming out of her “wherever,” after she listed some of the things he had said about women.
There were also rumors that Pence might run against Trump this year.
Despite Trump’s happy talk, there does not seem to be a lot of warmth between him and Pence. Yes, he put Pence in charge of the Coronavirus pandemic response, but Trump may have done so only to distance himself from it. He could blame Pence if anything went wrong. More importantly, Trump has undercut Pence, by giving others authority in that area, most notably, Jared Kushner whom [Kushner] the Guardian calls possibly “the most dangerous man in America,” while others claim that Kushner is profiting from the crisis.
During a recent news conference, Trump passed off a difficult question to Pence, who looked like a deer-in-headlights, not knowing how to answer the question without angering Trump. Pence just beat around the bush, but since the reporter was from Fox, Trump stepped in, saying, “John, I think it’s a very fair question. . .I think it’s one of the greatest answers I’ve ever heard, because Mike [Pence] was able to speak for five minutes and not even touch your question.”
Not a lot of respect, there.
Ballotpedia offers six alternative candidates who have been seriously discussed. Most are women, as noted above, that it’s Trump’s weakest area. Of course, that didn’t work in 2008. John McCain wanted to pick former-Democrat Joe Lieberman, according to the Times of Israel (and others). But party bosses pushed Sarah Palin, hoping to attract women, although polls later showed that she had actually been a drag on the ticket.
The others are Kelly Ayotte, former U.S. senator from New Hampshire; Marsha Blackburn, U.S. senator from Tennessee; Liz Cheney, U.S. representative from Wyoming; Mia Love, former U.S. representative from Utah; and one man: Lindsey Graham, U.S. senator from South Carolina.
Blackburn and Love are from solidly “Red States,” so they wouldn’t add much, geographically.
Cheney, daughter of the former Vice President Dick Cheney is from deep-red Wyoming, but she might attract some NeoCons and traditional Republicans.
Ayotte is the most interesting option. Trump lost New Hampshire by fewer than 3,000 votes in 2016, so in addition to being a woman, she might tip that tossup State. However, Ayotte lost her bid for re-election to the Senate in 2016, and Trump is always saying he hates “losers.”
More importantly, Ayotte withdrew her support for Trump in 2016, after seeing the “Access Hollywood” tape, tweeting:
I will not vote for Donald Trump. Read my statement here: pic.twitter.com/F8zajgDZpg
— Kelly Ayotte (@KellyAyotte) October 8, 2016
It’s likely that we’ll see Trump-Pence 2020, but it would make big news of Trump were to dump Pence. . .and Trump loves “bigly” news.