Of all the Republican candidates, it’s most mystifying what Mike Pence hopes to gain from running for president. Maybe he just likes receiving death threats.
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There are plenty of reasons why Republicans are running for their party’s presidential nomination. For most, winning isn’t one of them.
That’s why it’s pretty ridiculous for media outlets to refer to them as “White House hopefuls.” They are “White House hopefuls” in the same way that a three-year-old riding a bike with training wheels is a “Tour de France hopeful.”
It would be more accurate to describe most of them as “book deal hopefuls” or “VP pick hopefuls.” And then there are a few candidates whose motivations are true mysteries.
Take Doug Burgum, the governor of a place called North Dakota, who announced his candidacy this week.
Chances are that most North Dakotans don’t even know who he is. In fact, there is a decent chance that distant and not-so-distant cousins at large family gatherings walk up to him and say things like: “It’s Dave, right?”, “I’ll have another lemonade when you get a chance,” or “Aren’t you the dermatologist from Fargo? Can you look at this mole?”
However, there is one Republican whose candidacy is the most puzzling of all because he has absolutely no chance of winning: Mike Pence.
There is no conceivable reason for him to join this race. He doesn’t need a higher profile. In fact, considering the way MAGA Republicans feel about him, he should probably lay low for a few more years. He just wrote a book, so it’s not about that. And, let’s face it, there is no other person on this planet who is less likely than Pence to become Donald Trump’s vice presidential nominee.
There really is only one conceivable explanation: A higher power must have told him to run. That means either some deity Pence prays to, or “Mother.” Our money is on the latter on account of her being real.
Now, you may ask yourself, how it is possible that winning the GOP nomination is more difficult for Pence, a former vice president with a direct link to God, than for… whatever the Dakota guy’s name was.
That’s because Dave Burgum merely has to prove to Republican primary voters that he is an actual human being, that North Dakota is a place, and that he is, umm… governing it.
Then, once that has been accomplished, all that is left for him to do is convince about 40-50 percent of them that he is more worthy to be president than the orange messiah they have been worshiping for seven years.
Pence’s challenge is a lot more daunting.
His main problem is that the voters he needs to win do know that he exists, but they wanted to hang him a couple of years ago.
Therefore, the first order of business for his campaign has to be to quell that murderous rage so many of them felt toward Pence.
After that, the only thing left to do is to get these voters to abandon Trump, i.e., the man on whose behalf they wanted to kill Pence, and support the former vice president instead.
Oh, actually, there is one more thing: Pence has absolutely nothing to offer to Republican primary voters, and nobody likes him.
That’s not just us talking, by the way.
Here are some of the things Republican voters participating in focus groups had to say about the former vice president:
“He has alienated every Republican and Democrat, … It’s over. It’s retirement time.”
“He just needs to go away.”
“He’s only gonna get the vote from his family, and I’m not even sure if they like him.”
So, what’s in it for him? No idea. Maybe he likes eating corn dogs in Iowa fairgrounds or chatting up folks in New Hampshire diners.
Or, and this would be our favorite scenario, this is all some WWE-style plot where he is trying to get revenge on Trump for January 6. For example, he could hit him with a folding chair on the debate stage. Now that would be entertaining.
Apart from that, it seems absolutely pointless for him to run.
There is one more possibility: Maybe there is a God who does have a plan for the former vice president and we are all about to find out that the Lord really does work in mysterious ways.
After all, the title of Pence’s autobiography is So Help Me God.
But, to be honest, even that may not be enough.
The cartoon above was created by DonkeyHotey for WhoWhatWhy from these images: Mike Pence caricature (DonkeyHotey / Flickr – CC BY 2.0), tricycle (Nicki Dugan Pogue / Flickr – CC BY-SA 2.0), noose (StromBer / Wikimedia), track (Colin Smith / Wikimedia – CC BY-SA 2.0), finish line (Stephen and Helen Jones / Flickr – CC BY-SA 2.0), sign (Adam Jones / Flickr – CC BY 2.0), and lawn (wfmillar / Wikimedia – CC BY 2.0).