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Mike Pence committed a cardinal sin by GOP standards.  He can say goodbye to 2024.

Much is said about former Vice President Mike Pence and 2024. From his speeches and appearances, it seems he still thinks he has a shot at becoming President of the United States. Perhaps, anything is possible. But probably? Let’s be honest, my cat, Tiki, has a better chance of becoming president than Pence.

Before Donald Trump destroyed all sense of political norms, conventional wisdom held that serving vice presidents or former vice presidents tended to become their respective party’s nominees for president if they ran. It has been, with few exceptions, since 1948. But there is nothing conventional about the political era we find ourselves in or about Pence’s journey to the GOP nomination.

You can add Pence’s political career to the top of the ash heap alongside constitutional, democratic, and institutional standards.

Political norms aren’t the only things left in tatters in Trump’s destructive wake. You can add Pence’s political career to the top of the ash heap alongside constitutional, democratic, and institutional standards. Why? He committed a cardinal sin by today’s GOP standards: He berated Trump and did so publicly.

Seeing him as Trump’s vice president was infuriating. It was one of the craziest and most dysfunctional relationships in political history. And what did he get out of it? No more scorn and ridicule from the defeated former president and his supporters.

For more than four years, there has been no act of obsequiousness too menial, no indignity too low for Pence to willingly endure in his quest to prove his undying loyalty to Trump. But in an act of constitutional endorsement on January 6, after refusing to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, the loyal lieutenant became persona non grata not just for the man he served, but for its millions of dedicated MAGA followers. Unfortunately for Pence, there is no viable path to the GOP nomination without them.

Jan. 6 was Pence’s first high-profile act of public defiance against his boss, but surprisingly not the last. During his recent Federalist Society address, he unequivocally chastised Trump for his repeated claims that Pence had the authority to overturn certification of Joe Biden’s victory. Pence went so far as to call it not only “fake”, but also “un-American”. Cue the gasps from the Mar-a-Lago golf course and the headquarters of the Republican National Committee.

He finally stated the obvious. As he received bipartisan praise for his comments, I couldn’t help but think, “It took him 13 months to say that? The Trump-incited crowd chanted ‘Hang up Mike Pence’, for the ‘love of God.”

Yes, Pence finally did the right thing, despite enormous pressure from his boss at the time. But honoring his oath to the Constitution by certifying the election was what he was supposed to do. He is not exactly a profile in political courage. It gets no gold stars from me. And he shouldn’t get one of the millions of Americans who watched the violent insurgency live or who saw the hundreds of hours of documented video evidence of that shameful day, especially when, according to Bob Woodward’s book and Robert Costa “Peril,” Pence called former Vice President Dan Quayle to see what his options were for caving in to Trump’s demands.

It looks like he won’t be getting an RNC gold star either. Recall that the RNC controls the party’s presidential primary and the nomination convention. On the same day Pence reprimanded Trump on Jan. 6, the committee voted to approve a resolution saying Jan. 6 was simply “ordinary citizens engaging in legitimate political speech” and censured the committee’s two Republican congressmen. responsible for investigating. all. Pence’s comments were in direct contrast. In today’s GOP, that amounts to heresy.

There is no doubt what happened that day. Or that the violent mob was targeting the vice president. We all heard the chants. We’ve all seen the makeshift gallows set up on the Capitol’s West Lawn. We have all seen the gruesome scenes of law enforcement officers being brutally attacked. The GOP’s attempt to whitewash history is beyond Orwellian. His hypocritical rationalizations of all this are beyond reprehensible. So much for law and order, the platform of the “Back the Blue” party.

To the MAGA world, he is as much a traitor as the Never Trumpers for not accepting the ‘big lie’.

For most elected officials to uphold their constitutional duty in the wake of a violent insurgency intended to overthrow a free and fair presidential election would be a sign of bravery. Yet Pence has tried to downplay Jan. 6 in the past for fear of upsetting Trump and his supporters. Remember when he told Fox News’ Sean Hannity in October that “I know the media wants to distract from the Biden administration’s failed agenda by focusing on one day in January.”

With all the damning evidence released on Jan. 6, perhaps Pence now thinks he has enough political cover to finally speak more forcefully about the day’s implications. History books will be written, and I suspect he wants to be remembered for being on the right side of the Constitution and democracy. But in Trump’s Republican Party psyche, Pence is seen as the apostate. To the MAGA world, he is as much a traitor as the Never Trumpers for not accepting the ‘big lie’. Welcome to the resistance, Pence. OK, maybe not quite.

Although recent polls have shown declining Republican support for Trump’s 2024 candidacy, he remains the overwhelming frontrunner. However, it is Florida Governor and arsonist Ron DeSantis who apparently benefits from this decline, not Pence. Unlike the former vice president, DeSantis has the advantage of being the governor of an electorally important state. He’s a Fox News media darling. Unlike Pence, he is seen as a fighter, not a creeper. This earned him a reputation in many GOP circles as a more palatable torchbearer for the brutal brand of Trumpism that now dominates the GOP.

There’s a reason DeSantis is a guest speaker at the upcoming CPAC conference, which will also feature Trump, and Pence isn’t. In recent years, he has been a sought-after speaker. In fact, last year when Pence turned down CPAC’s invitation (remember that was a month after the Capitol attack), it was reported that conference organizers were trying to get him to change of opinion. What a difference a year makes.

CPAC is a must-stop for most viable GOP presidential candidates. The marquee speakers have already been announced, and Pence is curiously absent. It looks like he can’t even get an invite to CPAC in 2022, so what makes him (or any of his supporters) think he has a shot at being nominated, let alone of the presidency?

DeSantis’ ambitions for 2024 have not gone unnoticed in the Trump world. It’s only a matter of time before the former president tries to defeat him too. As we all know, loyalty is a one-way street with Trump. Ask Pence.

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