The unassuming governor of Indiana, Mr. Pence is in a powerful, if unenviable, position. Were he to publicly repudiate his own running mate, or question his fitness for office, the Trump campaign would be unsustainable. He does not need to take such a drastic action -- not yet -- but the prospect of his doing so, even if conveyed obliquely, might persuade his running mate to broker a withdrawal.A lot of people would say that the Trump campaign is unsustainable now. I'm becoming one of those people. But the candidate doesn't agree. He thinks he should be doing better in the polls. He thinks polls that show him trailing badly are skewed.
He's clearly incapable of self-doubt. Why would that change if Pence challenged him? Why would that change if Pence "conveyed obliquely" the notion that he might make such a challenge?
(This is so typical of anti-Trump establishment Republicans: The election is in three months! We're in a crisis! Somebody really needs to do something -- but not yet, no rush, let's just start thinking about possibly doing something in a week or two, because that kind of caution has worked so well for us up to now in dealing with Trump!)
Why would Trump start thinking seriously about withdrawing if Pence challenged him? He'd just show Pence the door. He could use the most famous words he's ever uttered: "Mike Pence, you're fired." His fan base would go wild. He'd love that. And then he could replace Pence on the ticket with Newt Gingrich. Or General Mike Flynn. Or Ivanka.
The nominee has spent a lifetime equating the Trump name with success. Now he faces the prospect of a staggering defeat -- recent polls suggest he could lose even in reliably Republican states like Arizona and Georgia. If such an outcome were to occur, he would be forever branded, fairly or not, racist, sexist and, worst of all in the Trump lexicon, a historic loser.Seriously? Mike Pence is going to persuade Trump that he knows how to manage the Trump brand better than Trump does? How many golf courses and gold-plated skyscrapers has Mike Pence built?
But were Mr. Trump to leave the race now, on whatever pretext, he could state honestly that he bested a formidable Republican establishment and that he brought important issues like illegal immigration to the fore. He would win the gratitude of his party for putting its interests first. He could help his capable children rebuild the tarnished Trump brand.
And with a little luck, his running mate, should he replace Mr. Trump as the nominee, might defeat Hillary Clinton, who has severe image problems of her own. In that event, Mr. Trump could reasonably boast that he hand-selected the next president.Oh, right -- Trump crawls off with his tail between his legs and he's going to feel pride if there's a victory in November by a running mate who was effectively forced on him by family members, who were desperate for him to choose someone within the pale. Latimer genuinely believes that's how Donald Trump's ego works.
Never mind the fact that the GOP would struggle to settle on a replacement candidate -- Pence or anyone else -- and would probably be stuck with Trump not running but still on the ballot, as a result of establishment indecision. Never mind the fact that swing voters would question the judgment of Pence if he were the nominee simply because he'd agreed to run with Trump. Never mind the fact that Trump diehards would see Pence as a Brutus who stabbed their Caesar. (See: Cruz, Ted.)
Though it is against his nature and probably his instincts to turn against his running mate, Mr. Pence must put the country first. Besides, if the party chose him as Mr. Trump’s replacement, and if he managed to receive Mr. Trump’s blessing, Mr. Pence could yet salvage this mess."If he managed to receive Mr. Trump’s blessing"! Latimer is imagining that someone who's not at all like him thinks the way he does. But I guess that's what you'd expect from a former speechwriter for George W. Bush, who thought Iraqis would respond to all the peace and freedom we were forcing on them at gunpoint the way we Americans respond to our own troops.
I'm not an ex-presidential speechwriter. I'm just an underachieving blogger. But hey, New York Times, if I write an op-ed with a premise that's absurd on its face, will you publish it? Don't you want a diversity of naive, delusional voices?