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Assault on America, Day 429: Would Donald Trump really dump Mike Pence for Nikki Haley?

Trump at CPAC
Now that there appears to be more stability in the Democrat presidential race – meaning the establishment is firmly back in charge after having convinced (or scared to death) enough party voters to fall in love again with doddering dope Joe Biden – talk will inevitably turn to the next phase in every nominating cycle, namely, who should serve as the number two on the ticket.

Yes, it’s true that there’s a long way to go and Bernie Sanders could easily find a way to crawl back into the frontrunner’s chair that Biden so forcefully took from him on Tuesday. It’s also true that there’s been speculation for months (prior to Iowa and New Hampshire at least) that Biden is looking at a short-list of young(er) minority females to potentially run with him (it doesn’t sound right, does it?).

At any rate, pundits need something to talk about so they’ll carelessly toss out names and possibilities. Some are apparently so desperate they’re forecasting a big move on the Republican side, with President Trump parting ways with Mike Pence in favor of… well, it’s gossip spread by a questionable source. Read on. Joe Concha reported at The Hill, “Longtime CNN political analyst Paul Begala predicted … that President Trump is ‘gonna dump [Vice President] Mike Pence in favor of former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley’ on July 16 when the Democratic nominee is slated to give his or her acceptance speech...

“’This is not a prediction. It’s a certainty. On Thursday, July 16 — that’s the date the Democrat gives his or her acceptance address — on that day, to interrupt that narrative, Donald Trump will call a press conference at Mar-a-Lago. He’s going to dump Mike Pence and put Nikki Haley on the ticket to try to get those suburban moms,’ Begala predicted during a panel discussion at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s (AIPAC) conference in Washington, D.C.

“’You watch. Guaranteed,’ Begala said. ‘Trump put Pence in charge of coronavirus to throw him under the bus.’”

Guaranteed? Really, Paul? You almost have to feel sorry for Begala; he was put on a panel and most likely tasked himself with dreaming up some “bombshell” that would not only draw shocked gasps from the otherwise slumbering audience but also make headlines in media circles. For Begala, it’s all about getting his name in the papers, so to speak. Why else would he give a hoot about Donald Trump and Mike Pence?

Aside from motive, there are lots of things at play here. First, how the heck would Paul Begala know anything about what President Trump and his campaign team’s plans are? For those unfamiliar with the longtime Democrat hack, I mean regular CNN commentator, according to Wikipedia, “Begala was a chief strategist for the 1992 Clinton–Gore campaign, which carried 33 states and made Clinton the first Democrat to occupy the White House in twelve years. As counselor to the President in the Clinton White House, he coordinated policy, politics, and communications.”

In other words, Begala managed big bubba Bill’s public relations operation – you know, making the career philanderer look as innocent as a choir boy in a white robe (while in reality he was probably in a hotel room with some bimbo). Truth bending and putting out fires is what the guy is good at. Paul’s obviously not bad at sparking conflagrations, too.

Begala was and presumably still is good pals with James Carville, the crazy old “Ragin’ Cajun” loon who looks like an artist’s rendition of the devil and breaths fire out of both sides of his mouth whenever Republicans – or Bernie Sanders -- are mentioned. Carville probably accepts a big chunk of the credit for dragging Joe Biden’s candidacy out of the political morgue and resurrecting the Democrat establishment’s chances to nominate one of their own this year.

And Begala was assuredly in the thick of things after election night 2016 when enraged and tipsy loser Hillary Clinton and her campaign brains cooked up the patently false “Russian collusion” narrative that’s bogged down the country for the past three years. Heck, Nancy Pelosi is in debt for her majority (and hence, her speakership) and Adam Schiff owes his political fame and fortune to people like Begala for starting unsubstantiated rumors that grew like weeds in an unfertilized lawn.

If anything, as with the Russia nonsense, Begala is sowing seeds of doubt here among Republicans, trying to ignite tensions where there aren’t any. The “Russian interference” in the 2016 election had to do with disinformation campaigns on social media that disseminated fabricated information intended to breed discord. Mission accomplished! If we look hard enough maybe we’d find that Begala himself is a Russian-paid agent who’s compensated for finding uncharted ways to pit Republicans against each other.

The next time a liberal reporter asks Trump to comment on the possibility of replacing Pence (with Haley or anyone else), credit Begala for the diversion.

Second, there’s no way Trump would replace Pence because the vice president has been a major force in determining the successful policy direction of his administration. Everyone knows Donald Trump is a brilliant man with an uncanny feel for politics, but he was – and still is, to some degree – an outsider who wasn’t well versed in policy details. Trump understood where he wanted to go – Make America Great Again – but needed someone with excellent street cred in the conservative movement to fill in the blanks when necessary.

(Note: During his Fox News town hall on Thursday night, the president denied he was even considering ditching Pence.)

Mike Pence has done it. Few doubt Pence’s devotion to the limited government cause and he’s well regarded by everyone in Republican circles. Fiscal hawks know by experience that he balances budgets and won’t go off on wild tangents. National security minded conservatives similarly trust his experience and past support for a strong and well-funded military. And social issues folks never question where his heart is on topics like abortion and same-sex marriage as well as religious liberty.

Add the fact Pence wasn’t a rabid Trump backer from the start and people trust that he’s not a political kiss-up who’s part yes-man and other part gutless wonder.

Pence has “capability” written all over him, so when Trump needed a leader to quell the mounting panic over coronavirus, his vice president was an excellent choice. Pence is also non-controversial and won’t say or do something stupid to upset the delicate public opinion balance. Soon enough the virus will disappear from view and Pence will get a lot of the credit.

Plus, liberals hate him, so you know he’s doing a great job!

Third, would Haley even want the vice president’s job? The former South Carolina governor obviously has political ambitions that go to the very top and it wouldn’t necessarily be a smart move for her to take over for Pence and tick off a lot of conservatives and Republicans in the process. Though Nikki generally has a respectable ideological record, there are holes in her background (she endorsed Marco Rubio?) that she’ll need to explain when the time comes.

In 2024, Republicans will be conditioned to “winning” a lot and couldn’t care less whether Trump’s successor is a female with tan or brown skin. Identity politics is the Democrats’ thing, though this year they’ve apparently developed a fondness for old white men. Haley will likely be part of the 2024 nominating conversation, but there are a host of possible contenders. The job ain’t hers to take – or give.

Here’s thinking Haley would be better off presenting herself as an outsider rather than try convincing people she’d be the embodiment of Trump’s third term.

Fourth, if Trump truly sought to draw attention away from the Democrat convention drama in July, all he’d need to do is live Tweet the event from the comfortable confines of the White House living quarters and there’d be plenty of anti-Trump media people falling over themselves to cover and smear his every word. Or he can simply hold a concurrent rally in neighboring Michigan or Minnesota, which would send a bright and clear message that he intended to share the spotlight with dopey Joe or nutcase Bernie.

The president held rallies in the early voting states prior to Caucus or Primary days last month and it’s stolen a lot of the thunder from the lightly attended Democrat events (except for maybe Bernie Sanders’s mobs). And if this weren’t enough, there are lots of ways to get the media’s attention. Does anyone doubt Trump’s mastery of media manipulation?

Lastly, Trump wouldn’t dump Pence ahead of his own convention because it would be a stupid political move. What’s there to gain from it? Begala suggests Trump is worried about the wishy-washy suburban soccer moms but the incumbent likely figures he can win their votes already with his policy successes without resorting to political trickery. Trump is perhaps the most confident politician of all-time and feels incredibly comfortable in his own skin.

Trump has his instincts and there’s no reason not to follow them now. Begala is full of it.

Besides, giving the establishment – or the pundit class -- what they want is the ticket to disaster. Mollie Hemingway wrote at The Federalist, “Republicans won the 2016 general election by not doing what these pundits suggest should have been done that year. Not only did they win a presidency that experts had predicted might not be won by a Republican for many years to come, they did not face the catastrophic House and Senate outcomes that the experts predicted would accompany a Donald Trump candidacy.

“The failure to stop Trump from winning the Republican nomination at the very least contributed to the fact that Republican voters got two Supreme Court Justices, 191 other federal judges, tax cuts, tax reform, departure from the administrative state-emboldening Paris Climate Accord, departure from the Iran nuclear deal, an unprecedented rollback of federal regulations, and a more restrained foreign policy.”

Well put. Hemingway’s piece included tweets from Democrats commending the party establishment for consolidating behind Joe Biden and thus avoiding what happened to the GOP in 2016. In the process, they appear to forget that allowing the voters to choose the nominee (as Republicans selected Trump) is a good thing, since they’re the ones who will ultimately decide who wins an election.

Democrat elites got their guy – or at least it looks like they got him. Joe Biden doesn’t inspire anyone and will more or less be a tool for his handlers to manipulate because the man can’t seem to remember what he had for dinner the night before. Republican establishmentarians did everything they could to try and stop Trump from ruining Jeb Bush’s coronation. They failed. And yet so many good things followed from it!

Just as with the running mate question, Trump will go with his gut. And Republicans and conservatives will keep winning. There’s no way Trump would mess with a formula that’s garnered so much success because Democrat doofus Paul Begala thinks he’ll win over more suburban white women with Haley on the ticket.

Just because the Democrat establishment was able to pull off a miracle and save Joe Biden’s candidacy from the political trash heap doesn’t grant them license to start giving President Trump advice – or to predict that he’s about to dump Mike Pence for Nikki Haley. Time and events are on Trump’s side – and he knows it.

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