It should probably come as no surprise that I want to see Donald Trump out of office. Inevitably when I voice this desire, there’ll be someone to "remind" me such action would make Mike Pence our president.
“We shouldn’t impeach Trump, because Pence is worse.”
I have conversations with those who relish the idea of Trump remaining in office so he can continue to destroy the Republican Party with his ineptitude, his pathological lying, his wildly inappropriate behavior and his unpredictable behavior.
“Let him sink that ship,” they gleefully suggest. “And besides, Pence would be worse.”
I’ve heard from those who abide by an old cliché as their reason.
“Better the devil you know,” they assert. “And Pence would be worse.”
So...is Mike Pence worse?
I’m certainly not an advocate of Pence’s politics; they are deplorable! He is not the “devil we don’t know,” because his agenda can be seen in his repulsive political record and by his own statements. (e.g., As a gay man, I'm seriously bothered that he believes I can…and should…change my sexual orientation by going to conversion therapy. Also, I am a pacifist, and he’s vocal proponent of lax gun control, and has a history of pro-war positions. As a progressive Christian, I am appalled at his theocratic faith.)
That said, I am not as convinced as some that a Pence presidency would be worse than Trump.
(Yes, I recognize determining which is worse, Trump or Pence, is like asking whether I’d prefer contracting Ebola or Bubonic Plague.)
I don’t have a crystal ball.
I’m not a political analyst, just an observer.
This is my perspective, and (only) my opinions.
For me, there are (at least) six reasons that merit removing Trump from office…sooner rather than later.
Again, I am not in favor of a Pence presidency, but I believe there are other considerations. I definitely don’t think we should avoid action based solely on the hypothetical "Pence would be worse" argument.
Personal Note: Actually, it’s all hypothetical. I have no delusions this will happen, given the conspicuous absence of Country-Before-Party leadership by this GOP-controlled Congress to implement impeachment or this cabinet of spineless sycophants to invoke the 25th Amendment. I think there is enough evidence for either action.
Sure, Trump could resign, but I’m doubtful we can depend on his bigly ego to make such a Nixonian decision.
In the end, our best hope is the voting booth this November...and beyond.
1. Pence is a career politician.
Yes, I know some voted for Trump because he wasn’t a politician.
(Yeah, that worked out well! This ragtag regime is the result of that mindset!)
My goal is not to make a case for Pence, but the differences in the two men is conspicuous.
- While Pence’s record is not one I would ever (!!!) support, he has been known to negotiate, even back down. He presents as a reasonable man who could respond to political opposition without resorting to histrionic behavior or immature threats.
- He’s definitely a thoughtful, measured man—serious and sober, to the point of boring. (I’d gladly welcome humdrum to replace the circus of pandemonium we have in this White House.) He appears to have the capacity of emotion, beyond egomaniacal self-promotion. Pence has issues and causes he cares about. While I certainly don't agree with many of them, Trump only cares about...Trump. Whether it's a school massacre, a Memorial Day proclamation or responding to a racist TV star being fired, Donald Trump always finds a way to make it about him!
- Surely Pence's attention span exceeds that of the current POTUS, who gets distracted when a TV show makes fun of him. The reason it’s difficult to #Resist Trump and this regime is because he likes controversy and chaos. That makes it exhausting responding to each new scandal, and all the incessant lies.
- Pence is educated, with a degree in law, and probably reads actual books, beyond those he supposedly wrote. (Hell, if he reads at all, that puts him way ahead of Trump.) It could mean he’d read those important daily briefings. He might have even read the Constitution.
- As a politician, I would expect him to act like…a politician. Trump acts like a CEO who owns the company (i.e., country), and everyone else is his employees. He's the tyrannical boss who rules with an iron fist, issuing orders and expecting immediate compliance and unconditional loyalty. Trump is an authoritarian, with delusions of dictatorship.
- Pence would know…or be willing to learn...how to engage world leaders without insulting them, their “shithole countries” or their wives.
- I doubt we’d have Pence setting Federal policy via Twitter, or using Fox & Friends as his primary advisory council. I can’t imagine we’d see the endless Twitter rants of an irate, spiteful president.
When all is said and done, Pence is your garden-variety modern example of a right-wing GOP politician.
We’ve had those for decades, and we know how to deal with them.
We’ve have never had anyone like Donald Trump.
2. The institutions to stop tyranny are being eroded.
Trump is attacking the free press, the FBI and law enforcement, the justice department and the special counsel. These are the very folks who hold him accountable for his actions. He casts dispersion on science and those with education. He demonizes those who oppose or criticize him. History is our guide, and we must see the dangerous pattern here.
If we allow these pillars of truth and justice to be rendered impotent, who will protect us from the total rise of totalitarianism?
3. The rule of law demands it!
I believe it’s hypocritical to express outrage that Donald Trump is circumventing, violating or ignoring the rule of law…then wimpishly contend we can’t do anything about him, because Pence might be worse. I compare that to a police officer who knows a man is beating his wife, but figures the process of compiling the evidence, arresting him and investing in a trial is just too time-consuming and exhausting.
“Why bother? Her next husband might be worse.”
We cannot ignore the rule of law simply because it's difficult.
We can’t avoid the hard choice based on “what if” scenarios.
4. Our democracy…our country…must be protected.
Donald Trump does not care about making America great. He doesn’t care about America at all. What he is doing to our country tears at the very core of our foundation and our identity.
Racism, sexism, religious intolerance, sexual abuse, cruelty to immigrants, misogyny, oppression of the weak, shift to oligarchy, betrayal of world alliances, lack of global leadership, cozying up to dictators.
These are not qualities that will make America great.
History has shown: these are actions for which we will repent, apologize, and rectify.
Stop. Them. Now!
We should not…we must not…allow Trump and his regime to destroy our country just so we can watch the implosion of the GOP, or so we can adopt an arrogant “I told you so” stance.
Our nation is at risk.
Preserve and protect freedom and justice, for us and for future generations.
We must draw a definitive line in the sand.
Otherwise, the precedent is set.
If we don’t make this stand, future politicians will have no clear boundaries, and no actual consequences for their actions.
5. I doubt Pence would be that effective.
This scandal, when it’s brought into the light, will impact him, his reputation…and his ability to govern. If he didn’t know about all that was happening in the backrooms of the campaign and conference rooms of Trump Towers, he has chosen to lie about it. He covered for them.
He would be the lamest of lame ducks.
6. Pence is not a deranged lunatic!
Mike Pence might be an extreme, right-wing Republican zealot, but I think Trump is mentally unstable.
Pence is rigid, but I believe Trump is a dangerous sociopath.
Pence definitely wants to enact policy that I oppose, but that’s not the same as having an out-of-control demagogue as Commander-in-Chief.
If Pence pushes legislation I don’t like, I’ll live to fight another day.
If a deranged Trump pushes the button to start a nuclear war just to prove he has the bigger...rocket...then...<sigh>
A wise, qualified, experienced woman told us during the campaign: “A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons."
I could sleep at night with a Mike Pence presidency; Trump keeps me awake.
Would Mike Pence be worse than Donald Trump?
There’s a wonderful exchange in the movie, Argo, when the CIA is presented with a plan to rescue hostages being held in Iran by posing as a movie crew. (It’s based on an actual incident.)
The skeptical CIA director thinks it's a bad plan, but is told “There are only bad options. It’s about finding the best one.”
The director asks: “You don't have a better bad idea than this?”
“This is the best bad idea we have, sir. By far.
I think President Pence is a bad idea, but he might be the best bad idea we have right now.