Saturday, November 17, 2018


Yesterday, Maggie Haberman and Katie Rogers reported on signs that President Trump is not as fond of Mike Pence as he used to be:
In one conversation after another he has asked aides and advisers a pointed question: Is Mike Pence loyal?

Mr. Trump has repeated the question so many times that he has alarmed some of his advisers. The president has not openly suggested dropping Mr. Pence from the ticket and picking another running mate, but the advisers say those kinds of questions usually indicate that he has grown irritated with someone.
I agree that this is a bad sign for Pence if he wants to be on the ticket in 2020 -- but it might not be a fatal sign, because Trump seems to ask this about a lot of people who remain in his orbit.

According to Haberman and Rogers, some people in Trumpworld believe that the president doesn't need Pence anymore:
... some Trump advisers, primarily outside the White House, have suggested to him that while Mr. Pence remains loyal, he may have used up his utility. These advisers argue that Mr. Trump has forged his own relationship with evangelical voters, and that what he might benefit from more is a running mate who could help him with female voters, who disapprove of him in large numbers.
Let's take those ideas one at a time. Has Trump "forged his own relationship with evangelical voters"? To some extent he has, because he's given them the judges they want, and also because they're really "Fox evangelicals" -- Amy Sullivan's term for self-styled believers who care more about the Fox News culture wars than about Jesus.

These folks don't really care that Trump is irreligious and immoral, because he sticks it to the libs. However, they think they care about their faith, so if Trump dumps Pence, they'll be upset.

And who could be a female running mate for Trump?
Some of Mr. Trump’s outside advisers have mentioned Nikki R. Haley, the United States ambassador to the United Nations, a post she plans to leave at the end of the year, and former governor of South Carolina, as a potential running mate. Ms. Haley is close with Mr. Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and Mr. Trump gave her an unusually warm send-off in the Oval Office when she announced she was leaving the United Nations job in September.
But evangelicals might not like Haley. Pence is unambiguously an evangelical Christian. Haley converted to Christianity at age 24; prior to that, she was a Sikh. When she first ran for governor in 2010, CNN noted that "In 2004, after winning her first term in the state legislature, the Charlotte Observer quoted Haley as saying she and her family attend 'both' Methodist and Sikh services."

(And many of Trump's fans, evangelical and otherwise, will probably never forgive Haley for working to remove the Confederate flag from the grounds of South Carolina's state capitol.)

But Trump's outside advisers like the idea of Haley:
... Ms. Haley on the ticket might help Mr. Trump win back the support of women, who voted for Democratic candidates in large numbers in the midterm elections.
But in the past two years, when has Trump ever made any attempt to win over voters who aren't already part of his base? That's a major reason he would never pick Haley: because women who voted Democratic in 2018 might like her. His election strategy is always to pursue liberal tears, to the delight of the base. Haley might gdet good coverage from CNN! Better than Trump's! Can't have that!

If Trump dumps Pence, I think he'll pick another bootlicker, which Haley clearly isn't:
Ms. Haley is less likely to show the same kind of public loyalty as Mr. Pence, a former congressman and governor of Indiana. She recently poked fun at Mr. Trump in a speech at the annual Al Smith Dinner in New York City, where politicians historically make jokes at the expense of themselves and their supporters. And that was after her original speech was toned down, and some of the barbs at Mr. Trump removed, people familiar with the address said.
He'll pick a Matt Whitaker, a lightweight who'll always have his back.

But in all likelihood Trump will just stick with Pence. Remember, Trump is terrible at firing people. Even if he wants to get rid of Pence, he probably won't have the nerve to dump him.

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