Get Woke, Mike Pence

by Shelt Garner

In the book, “How Democracies Die,” they propose a solution to prevent a democracy from dying outright — the other, non-autocratic parties have to bond together for the sake of the nation.

Now, this solution is extremely problematic for America. The country is too big, unfocused and divided for any sort of “unite for the sake of the nation” plan to work.

And, yet, there is one person who could make such a plan a lot closer to being real — Mike Pence.

All he has to do is one fucking thing and he is SOOOO CLOSE to be the Democratic Union (or whatever) Party nominee in 2024: become a MAGA apostate (a John Dean-type character). He doesn’t have to change any other policy view other than turning on Trump and MAGA.

Pence would never do this, of course, because he’s a fucking coward, but if he did, he would suddenly be throw into the rarified ranks of Great American Men because, he could, single handedly give American democracy some breathing room if he teamed up with, say, AOC.

But he’s never going to do it. He somehow thinks he can play it safe and may a charge at MAGA King Trump and somehow succeed (fun fact: no.) So, Pence really faces sinking into political oblivion with both sides hating him equally for different reasons.

Or, he could get woke get pretty damn close to becoming the next POTUS. Of course, if he did run with AOC, there would have to be some sort of power sharing agreement. The whole thing would make America’s government seem rather schizophrenic, but at least it would probably avoid a civil war and probably keep the country a functioning democracy for one or more additional election cycles.

Mike Pence Is Such A Coward

by Shelt Garner

The brass ring is right there for Mike Pence and he’s such a fucking coward that he won’t grab it. All he has to do is become a #NeverTrumper and he instantly becomes a darling of the center-Left to the point that there will be talk of him heading some sort of “Unity Ticket” in 2024.

Or not. Don’t listen to me. I’m just some doofus in the rural part of a flyover state.

But the case could be made that if Pence did some domestic realpolitik assessments in his mind that it would be clear that the only way he will ever and I mean EVER become politically relevant again is to become a #Never Trumper. And as Liz Cheney has shown, you don’t even have to change your otherwise antediluvian conservative views.

He would get a pass from the center-Left for all his other brutish conservative views simply because he turned his back on Trump and MAGA. He already has the means, motive and opportunity to do it and…yet he won’t do it. He is beginning to kind of do things on the edges, but in general he’s still towing the MAGA line.

I will note, however, that if there is some sort of Second American Civil War that Pence definitely might change his mind on being MAGA. In fact, I would go so far as to say him jumping ship to Blue State leadership would be a sign that we’re about to have a second American civil war.

Yet, of course, I still am reluctant to believe we’re going to have a civil war in the first place, even though it’s a definite possibility. Blue States just don’t have it in them to leave the Union, especially given their lack in leadership — unless, of course, someone like Mike Pence becomes over to their side.

Talk About A Vibe Shift: Imagining Pence As A #NeverTrumper

by Shelt Garner

I continue to believe that we should not sleep on the potential significance of the #NeverTrump movement. I say this because even though at the moment they’re a very, very small collection of Republicans, they are all usually really smart and articulate leaders.

And should things get as harry as I fear around 2024 – 2025 what Blue States are going to need is leaders.

As such, at the moment, the person who is most likely to be forced, by history, to rise to the occasion is Liz Cheney. It would be extremely ironic, but if Blue States got fed up and left the Union, Cheney is just the type of person who would step into the leadership void that currently exists with the center-Left. The center-Left is so divided and deluded for various reasons as to be useless.

But there is another person who could really shock us all if he would simply do the obvious and become a #NeverTrumper — Mike Pence.

Let me be clear — I absolutely fucking hate Mike Pence’s political beliefs. I despise them.

But I swear to God if that motherfucker confessed everything he knew about Trump and Trumplandia and I would be the first in line to vote for him in 2024. I’m so enraged by the impending return of fucking ding-dong Trump in 2024 that if the only way to save the Republic was to vote for motherfucking Mike Pence I would do it in a heart beat.

The thing about Pence is while he’s crazy conservative, he’s enough of a traditional American conservative that he would probably stay within the bounds of the Republic’s norms at a minimum. And he would definitely stay within the spirit of Constitutional law – he did do that, after all, when he was required to on Certification Day 2021.

If Pence was to become a #NeverTrumper it would throw the American political system for a loop. It would be most shocking political event of this new century, up there with the election of Obama the first time and the election of Trump — and the January 6th Insurrection.

Pence would completely, and totally, rewrite his political fate in an instant. He wouldn’t have to change a single political view other than his fidelity to Trump. And he would be within shouting distance of being the Democratic nominee as part of a 2024 Unity Ticket.

There would be, of course, a huge amount of risks to such a Hail Mary pass. If he got any traction, MAGA would want to kill him. But, come to think of it, they already want to do that, now don’t they. He would become the most hated person in America for about 38% of the electorate.

But since Blue Check liberals have proven that they’re all fools, they would love Pence with all their heart and he wouldn’t have to change a thing. Of course, I just don’t see Pence doing any such thing. He will never rise to the occasion and be a hero of the Republic by giving the center-Left the leadership it needs.

Oh well. I wonder if my re-education camp will have wi-fi and a shower.

Mike Pence As America’s (Potential) Great White Hope

by Shelt Garner

It’s beginning to dawn on me that Mike Pence has a rendezvous with history — if he so choses. There is no way that man is going to be POTUS if he stays safely within the MAGA family. If he leaves MAGA cold turkey and confesses everything and I mean EVERYTHING he knows about Trump and Trumplandia, then he has a pretty good chance of becoming extremely culturally and politically culturally again.

Now, obviously Pence is never, ever fucking going to do this.

But it’s beginning to eat away at me that he won’t and so I find myself needing to write about it.

One question is, of course, when would Pence turn on MAGA? My best guess would be just after the the results of the 2022 mid-terms are known and we find out if Trump is going to run again. If Trump does run again — which obviously he will — Pence might, just might decide that the only way he can possibly ever be president is as an Andrew Johnson type figure.

Andrew Johnson was a royal asshole, but for Lincoln at the time of the 1864 election, Johnson served an important purpose as a War Democrat. Or, put another way, Pence would instantly be seen as a liberal darling by easily seduced Blue Check liberals who have learned nothing from Bob Mueller and various other false hope conservative Republicans.

So, the moment Pence joined the “Resistance” in a very public manner, he would be fawned over by Blue Check liberals who would believe the he, at last, will be the one to save us all and allow them to continue to write long breathless Twitter threads instead of doing any of the hard work in the real world.

Anyway, I don’t know what to tell you. I don’t see any way out of our existential choice of autocracy or civil war around 2024 – 2025. But it’s extremely annoying that Pence won’t show any leadership at all.

Mike Pence’s Only Option Is To Become MAGA’s John Dean

by Shelt Garner

It is comical how dumb Mike Pence is from a political standpoint. He has the means, motive and opportunity to become, overnight, a liberal political hero and, yet, he’s so beholden to Trump he can’t bring himself to do what he has to do — become MAGA’s John Dean.

Let me explain.

Despite their protests to the contrary, modern Blue Check liberals like the “Mueller, She Wrote” Twitter account really do still believe in the system and really do believe that somehow, magically, Trump and his ilk will be, at last, held accountable. They write breathless Twitter threads about the latest MAGA scandal, leaving their audience with a warm fuzzy feeling of justice just on the cusp of being served.

Now, this is the point where Mueller, She Wrote calls me “a terribly negative person” who “mischaracterized” her work. Uh huh. But why is the account itself named after the delusional belief on the part of Blue Check liberals that life-long Republican Bob Mueller was going to somehow — you guessed it — save us from ourselves?

What’s more, people like Liz Cheney have proven that liberals are willing to fall all over themselves with support for you — even they otherwise disagree with you on everything else — if you just are willing to stand up to the MAGA New Right.

So, as such, the case could be made that if Pence became a MAGA apostate that he could potentially throw himself into the ring as — gulp — the Democratic nominee in 2024. Or something. Something like that. At a minimum, he would be in a far better political position that he is now.

Rather than run away from the fact that the MAGA base hates him and wants to “hang Mike Pence” he would be far better off politically to reverse polarity and embrace the #NeverTrump movement.

Why doesn’t he do such an obvious thing?

I dunno. It’s one of the biggest political mysteries of our time. The brass ring of political relevancy is right there in front of him. And, in real terms, he wouldn’t even have to change anything he believes other than stop being a Trump sycophant.

I mean, Liz Cheney is till a tough as nails conservative I don’t agree with on anything, but if she ran for president, I would seriously think about voting for her out of desperation for the fate of the Republic, if nothing else.

Pence switching sides would be not only the biggest political event of the decade, it would breath a huge amount of air into our failing Republic. All he would have to do is totally, completely disavow Trump, confess everything he knew about that malignant idiot.

He could keep all is horrible political views, otherwise. People — especially Blue Check liberals — would be overjoyed at what had happened, that they would ignore the rest of his brutish policy beliefs. The fact that the MAGA base actively wanted to murder him has not been enough to dislodge him from MAGA is, well, it’s something else.

Mike Pence’s Potential John Dean Endgame (Which He Will Never Do)

by Shelt Garner

It is a testament to how fucked things are in America right now that the thing that should happen, Mike Pence shiving Trump politically, isn’t probably going to happen.

Pence is never going to be a modern day John Dean.

Pence is the one person with the means, motive and opportunity to play John Dean in the Trump Show. If he were to politically immolate himself and turn state’s witness against Trump as some sort of Hail Mary pass to position himself to be the 2024 Republican nominee, then I would feel a whole lot better about where we are headed as a country.

But I think to think that this is in any way possible is to fall into the now-dead post-Watergate narrative where someone, somewhere breaks and does the right thing for the country out of guilt, or shame or principles or whatever. That just isn’t going to happen.

Watergate, it turns out, was a very specific set of circumstances. A lot of things went wrong for Nixon on both a political and personal level that simply are not practical. The press after Watergate became so cocky and started to believe it’s own…press…that they thought any major political scandal going forward would follow the same narrative.

After the Mueller Report was a bust, that was proven to be total bullshit. Trump is now above the law politically and he’s just as likely to become Speaker in 2023 as he is to be elected president in 2024.

So, while it would otherwise make total sense for Pence to be a modern day John Dean…just don’t see it happening. I say this, even though logically the only way Pence has any shot of being president is to rebrand himself as a Trump slayer and change the political equation so he is a more palatable option than the fascists of DeSantis, Hawley, Pompeo or Cotton.

If he could somehow destroy MAGA, then Pence a ticket of Pence / DeSantis makes a huge mount of sense. But we’ve passed the tyrannical event horizon. There is no stopping MAGA other than a civil war at this point. But that high risk, high reward option is so horrific I don’t like to think about it.

Mike Pence Has Trump’s Political Fate In His Hands

by Shelt Garner

I’m a strong believer in the idea that we’ve passed the tyrannical event horizon. In other words, we’re fucked. We’re going to slip peacefully in the tyranny of autocracy no later than January 2025 — the Fourth Turning, if you will.

There is, of course, a greater-than-zero chance that the most powerful nation in human history could very well have a civil war and bomb itself into the Stone Age of its own volition.

But, for the moment, the Second American Civil War option isn’t really something I think is going to happen, but for how Trump himself is such a fucking lazy, stupid chaos agent that he might cause one by saying “the quiet part out loud” to the point that Blue States grow enraged and leave the Union.

One bit of context I don’t know yet as we lurch towards autocracy is what Mike Pence is ultimately going to do. There is a minor chance that Pence, in his craven desperation to become president, will turn on Trump and become MAGA’s John Dean.

As the 2024 presidential election cycle begins to approach, Pence might see turning on Trump has his last gasp Hail Mary option. The thinking would be, with Trump out of the way, the natural pitched battle between various would-be Republican autocrats can take place.

Because, if you think about it, Pence is the one person with the means, motive and opportunity to do some “front stabbing” as The Mooch might say. All he has to do is lay out everything he saw happen in the Trump White House up close and personal. There a tiny chance that Pence could do just by ending his long-term status as a Trump sycophant more political damage than two impeachments and a special council ever did.

Yet, this is very, very doubtful.

Pence is far more likely to sit on his hands if Trump really does run again. Then the likelihood of a 2ACW becomes far, far greater because Trump is so fucking lazy and stupid that he self-owns by pushing us into an avoidable civil war.

Autocracy is popular in the United States. Fascism is ascendant. So, I dunno. Which would you rather do, slip peacefully into an autocratic state or go through the high risk, high reward trauma of a 2ACW?

The Ballad Of Barr & Pence: A MAGA Autogolpe That Wasn’t

by Shelt Garner

When the history of Trumplandia is written, two people will stick out as having changed everything by what they did — or didn’t do: Bill Barr and Mike Pence.

What makes their actions so weird in hindsight is neither one of them was ever mentioned as the “guardrails” that were going to save us from Trump’s excesses. In fact, they were some of the biggest toadies for Trump — until they weren’t at very crucial moments in time.

Bill Barr — at least in my opinion — had a specific purpose when he was originally hired: end the Mueller Investigation. He wrapped that up and did plenty of really shitty things. And then in the 2020 – 2021 timeframe he did something that saved American democracy for four more years: nothing.

He sat on his hands.

So, even though Barr intimately knew on a personal basis how badly Trump wanted DOJ to indict the Bidens, or Hillary or Obama or whomever, he was able to simply slow walk all of Trump’s would-be autocratic moves so they were moot. Without Barr doing that, it’s very possible that all the autocratic things I thought up in 2020 Trump would have done and he would still be president.

Then there’s Mike Pence.

Pence is the consummate Trump sycophant. Or, at least, he was until January 6th. After defending Trump at every turn for any and everything he did, no matter how horrible or autocratic, on January 6th Pence gave American democracy a second chance by simply doing his fucking job. (Which in the specific case of certification was simply to announce the certification, he didn’t really have to do anything other than not nullify the certification by going rouge.)

And, so because of the actions of two people everyone assumed would be Trump’s lapdogs, American democracy was spared for a few years. You honestly could not make such shit up.

What happens next is up to us. We aren’t going to be as lucky, next time.

The Shakespearean Tragedy That Is Mike Pence

by Shelt Garner

You couldn’t make this shit up if you wanted. About four-ish years, Mike Pence was the biggest fucking suckup to Trump there was on the planet. Pence, like von Papen before him with Hitler, gave Trump a patina of political legitimacy.

And then, near the end of the Trump Era he blew everything by doing the right thing!

So, in a sense, Pence destroyed his career near the end of the Trump Era for simply doing the absolute basics of the job he was elected to do. Now, Pence inhabits a strange nether realm where he is both hated by the center-Left AND the very people he would depend on to win any sort of primary.

The only Pence might find some redemption at this point is, tragically, if there was some sort of civil war and he flipped to the Good Guys in a big, big way.

I dunno. Strange times, guys.

Republicans Have Become The ‘Leopards Eating People’s Faces Party’

by Shelt Garner

It is becoming clear that Trump is no longer thinking in terms of politics but rather strictly in terms of self-preservation. As such, we’re careening towards a moment in time when Trump goes extra-legal and extra-political in his attempts to stay in power. There are a number of things that are concerning me about this.

The Defense Department
Trump keeps cramming the Defense Department with cronies. I’ve read somewhere that this may be an effort on the part of Trump to find out how much he could, in fact, get away with if push comes to shove. That’s really nerve wracking because what if Trump somehow manages to move the autocratic dial a little bit. Just a little bit would freak us all the fuck out.

Mike Pence
I’m growing concerned that on Jan. 6th Trump will goad Mike Pence to simply nullify the certification of Electoral College votes by not doing his job — or not doing it in a manner that follows the spirit of the law. Remember, the point of this would be to throw things to SCOTUS in such a partisan manner that they’re absolutely boxed into a up-or-down corner. Trump wants a replay of 2000 because he’s a craven ding-dong who’s actual political skill is little more than that of Chauncy Gardner in Being There. So, it’s very possible that there will be extreme, rancorous debate in Congress over the certification of votes, but in the end, Trump will lose. Even if Pence tries to be a spanner in the works.

Trump Going Transactional
This is a real wildcard. As it becomes more and more clear that Trump is, in fact, going to actually have to leave office, it’s possible that he stops “joking” and insinuating about violence against his enemies and flat out tells MAGA to murder liberals in cold blood. Or he could begin to demand Red States hold snap conventions so they secede. Pretty much anything is on the table once Trump finally snaps mentally.

This is probably my worse fear. If we get to this stage of things, then Trump really has lost his mind. This is a very dark situation, indeed. Everything from Trump blackmailing America by suddenly bringing up his ability to use nuclear weapons to him going the literal Hitler-in-the-bunker route would be possible under this scenario.

But there are some things to take into consideration. One is Trump is not nearly as well-put-together as we keep thinking and he’s so unstable and lazy that any transactional things he does may be so half-hearted and poorly thought out that they aren’t very successful.

Yet, we’ve now officially entered the most dangerous phase of the Trump Era. Anything could happen. We could all get the shit scared out of us before it’s over with. There will be no narrative, no value as it all happens.