Players are already stepping onto the 2020 presidential candidate field.
On the Democratic side, Rep. John Delaney (D-Md.) is the first and so far only official contender against President Donald Trump.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) says a run for the White House is “not off the table.”
Other names floating about are Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY), although none have officially spoken about running.
Even Facebook president and CEO Mark Zuckerberg is rumored to be gearing up for a run.
Republican camp scuttlebutt is about Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton, Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse, Ohio Gov. and 2016 candidate John Kasich.
But another controversial individual might be angling for Trump’s spot in the Oval Office–Vice President Mike Pence.
The vice president pushed back against a recent New York Times piece that suggests he might be assembling a campaign apparatus.
“The allegations in this article are categorically false and represent just the latest attempt by the media to divide this administration.”
However, as the Times piece reports, several Pence’s advisers stated:
“[The vice president] already intimated to party donors that he would plan to run if Mr Trump did not.”
We all know the problems mounting against Trump: legislative failures; administrative dysfunction; investigations into associations between his aides, family members and Russia; possible obstruction of justice; incessant lies (even about minor details); demonizing the media; governing via Twitter; historically low popularity ratings; etc.
The list goes on.
Interviews with 75 Republicans, donors, and strategists, suggest virulent uncertainty the president will be on the 2020 ballot. In fact, many doubt some party officials are banking on this and are behind the scenes preparing for it.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said:
“They see weakness in this president.”
Editor-at-large of The Weekly Standard, William Krystol, admitted he has been having informal conversations about creating a “Committee Not to Renominate the President.”
“We need to take one shot at liberating the Republican party from Trump, and conservatism from Trumpism.”
So why are some suggesting Pence is one of those operating in the shadows?
He formed a fund-raising committee, Great America Committee, which has raised more money than Trump’s American First Action.
Pence’s new chief of staff is political operative Nick Ayers, who has never served in the federal government but has extensive experience with political campaigns.
Ayers has made overtures to multiple major Republican donors, citing Pence wants to be prepared to run.
Vice presidential aide Marty Obst concurs.
Pence has many party officials’ confidence and preference.
He has opened the vice president’s residence to Charles and David Koch, noted Republican donors.
About Pence, Republican political veteran Charles R. Black Jr. stated:
“They see him moving around, having big donors at the house for dinner. And they’ve got to try to keep up.”
Could Vice President Pence actually be organizing a Frank Underwood House of Cards-style ulterior motive?
Could we see Mike Pence as #46?
Featured image from YouTube video.