Mike Pence is back home and plans to live in Indiana. But, his political future may not be certain. Several political scientists talked about what might happen with the former governor and former vice president.
“If history is any guide in this case, when a vice president loses on a ticket, there’s not a huge trajectory going forward. It’s usually a pretty modest career,” said IUPUI history Prof. Ray Haberski. He pointed to former vice president Dan Quayle, whose political career fizzled after the Bush administration.
Most of the panel agreed that Pence’s loyalty to Trump may have dampened his chances at running for office.
“In part I think it’s gonna depend upon the continued influence of Donald Trump on the Republican Party,” said Kevin Brown, professor of law at the Maurer School of Law at IU, Bloomington. “If this remains the party of Donald Trump, then Mike Pence, in the final analysis, is gonna look like the one who did not hold the line.”
Brown said Pence may fare better, if the part remains loyal to Trump, if he can take Trump with him in some way. But, Pence may have limited his chances of running for president in a couple of ways.
“His personality was sort of a yes man to Donald Trump and now that you remove Donald Trump, it doesn’t mean that you go to the yes man. It could very well be that you go to other strong candidates, and there quite a few strong candidates in the Republican Party,” said Brown.
Dr. Elizabeth Bennion, a political science professor at IU South Bend, said she doesn’t necessarily believe that Pence made a clean break from Trump after the Capitol riot, which may mean that Pence’s attempt to keep the Trump base puts him out in the cold with Republicans who do not support Trump.
“After all of that was said and done, his remarks to military personnel were very much about ‘our administration’, the record of our administration and what ‘we’ have accomplished,” said Bennion. “I think he really walked a tight rope there, trying both not to alienate Trump supporters while also carrying out his Constitutional duties regarding the election.”
Bennion said she believes it’s also worth noting that Pence refused to invoke the 25th Amendment to have Trump removed, despite Trump supporters calling for Pence to be hanged.
Prof. Emerita Margie Hershey, with IU Bloomington, said she believes Pence does not have to pursue politics.
“I’m sure it will be a lucrative career in whatever for it takes,” she said. “I don’t think there’s any shortage of corporations and think tanks and other groups willing to pay a former vice president to be on their staff.”