This year, Mike Pence should resolve to become our next president
What if Mike Pence:
Assessed his own political status as 2021 neared its end?
Considered his bravery on Jan. 6 and wants it as part of his legacy?
Looks ahead with dread to a Donald Trump nomination in 2024?
Believes in New Year’s resolutions?
If any or all of these scenarios ring true, Pence is going to do the right thing early in 2022 by announcing his candidacy for the 2024 presidential election, emphasizing that his party needs to get rid of Trump and campaigning immediately to restore Republicans to sanity.
We haven’t heard much from Pence since the Capitol riots. He single-handedly kept the republic that day (and night). If Benjamin Franklin could vote for the man of the year, it would be for Pence. The calm visage of the then-vice president fulfilling his ministerial duty to count electoral votes that day contrasted vividly with the adoring unctuousness of his face over the prior four years as he gazed at Trump with reverence.
On Jan. 6, the good Christian in Pence finally dovetailed with the good servant of the Constitution who had sworn to defend against enemies, domestic or foreign. His candidacy would mobilize many faithful Christians who, remarkably, stand by Trump against their better judgment. They want a believer who knows the Bible right side up. They would vote for Pence in 2024.
The good, sane former Indiana governor in Pence would also reemerge in his campaign, reminding people that government can be the answer, not the problem. His “flyover state” credentials would situate him perfectly to garner not only the red states but (depending on who runs for the Democrats) a number of Midwestern blue and purple states as well.
As Pence ponders his future, he might anticipate with relish sharing the debate stage with Trump. No more cozying up to craziness; instead, he can be an articulate politician calling out the sheer ignorance of the bully standing at the lectern next to his. People in both parties have been yearning for such simple courage. But it would be easier than when he ignored death threats at the Capitol as he dutifully pronounced Joe Biden president of the United States.
This coming Jan. 6 is a key date for Pence. Who better to declare the end of the Trump era on that anniversary? He can appear during the anniversary of the riot at a press conference in Indiana’s farm country, emboldened and ready to ward off the inevitable nonsense from the Trump acolytes. Like Cary Grant in “North by Northwest,” he can hide in the cornfields as they take shots at him and then emerge to fend off their evil. He will gain instant support from some in his party and a gradual majority as time goes on and the bluster of his former boss grows as tiresome as it is rotten.
Pence may be thinking along these lines right now. He has the political skills, the rhetorical ability and the track record to pull off a victory at the Republican convention in 2024. He wants his grandchildren to think well of him. He seeks forgiveness from the deity he worships. Everything important to him points in this direction.
Arise, Mike Pence! Make it your resolution to impede a dastardly and brutish leader. Reemerge to restore sanity to your party and legitimacy to your legacy. You will have the good wishes of all those who may vote against you eventually in November 2024 and the inevitable support of those in your party who are needed to nominate you that prior summer.
Pence is a good man — Jan. 6 proved that, at least in constitutional terms. May his conscience, his courage, his constituents or even a simple New Year’s resolution cause him to honor that date by announcing his intention to represent his party at the top of its ticket in the next presidential election.
Richard Weisberg is the Walter Floersheimer Professor of Constitutional Law at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University and a distinguished visiting professor of law at the University of Pittsburgh. He was an appointee to the U.S. Commission on the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad under the Obama administration.