Mike Pence seems to have won a lot more than Tuesday night’s debate. Judging the media’s reaction, he seems to have won the 2020 primary already. His cool and collected demeanor against an obnoxious Tim Kaine came off surprisingly well, even if he did nothing to really defend or distance himself from the candidate he is running with. Pence’s temperament is something of a breath of fresh air in this election.
However, is it premature to call him for 2020? I have no doubt he’ll try to run, and Tuesday’s debate was an audition for him, and he treated it as such. But, what strikes me is that the media is so quick to run him as The Candidate for 2020. There are a lot of folks who can run against him and likely beat him.
Recall that, had he run this year, he would have fallen to Trump just like all the rest. There isn’t anything about him that stands out as stellar. In fact, his caving on religious freedom and the fact that he said yes to being someone who has to stand with Trump are two huge strikes against him as far as conservatives are concerned. Further, if you use the “stood with Trump” thing as a disqualifier, almost all of the candidates from this year, including two of the biggest stars the conservative movement had in Cruz and Rubio, are also out.
Do I think Cruz and Rubio won’t run in 2020? I have no idea, to be honest. Cruz apparently felt weak enough in his Senate reelection bid to endorse Trump and make phone calls for the Republican Party. Rubio looks as though he’s going to win reelection, but what are his places for the future? No clue.
So… who is left to try to lead the Republican Party in four years?
I don’t give a whole lot of faith to the idea that either Trump or Clinton could be a two-term president. They are the oldest candidates we’ve ever had, and Trump has too many post-campaign business ventures to con people with while Hillary does have some health issues. The office of the presidency is incredibly taxing on a young person. How do you think it would affect these two?
So, in 2020, both parties are going to have to find fresh, young faces. For the GOP, you’re looking at folks like Ben Sasse and Nikki Haley. There is the possibility that Mike Lee could make a run, but I hope he stays in the Senate (I hope the same for Sasse, to be honest) simply because we have too few good men left there. The beautiful thing about media bias, however, is that it pushes people they don’t like to the forefront to tear them down. As a result, our fresh, young faces get more airtime than the Democratic Party’s. So, for this, we can be grateful.
2020 is very much a muddled mess. There is absolutely no reason for the media, or anyone else, to speculate on who the frontrunner is for either party simply because there’s no clear picture of where we stand now, much less in four years.