Is It Time For Mike Pence To Be President?

Yin Bogu/Xinhua via ZUMA

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis and more, subscribe to Mother Jones' newsletters.

Back in the day, there was a bit of bloggy conversation about whether Donald Trump might actually be a less destructive president than, say, Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio. The case against that was pretty simple:

He’s a serial liar. He’s a demagogue. He’s a racist and a xenophobe. He appeals to our worst natures….He’d appoint folks who make Michael Brown look like Jeff Bezos. He would deliberately alienate foreign countries for no good reason….And while that volatile personality of his probably wouldn’t cause him to nuke Denmark, you never know, do you?

This week we’ve seen both of his two most serious flaws in action. Resurgent neo-Nazis and white nationalists, who take Trump as their inspiration and role model, invaded Charlottesville and produced exactly the violence and mayhem you’d expect. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio had no problem denouncing these racist thugs. But Trump, as he did before with David Duke, refused to clearly and explicitly condemn them. He offered only his usual weasel words, which gave him plausible deniability but refrained from risking his reputation as the champion of white America. “Nobody in media/politics can legitimately claim they didn’t know that Trump plays footsie with white supremacists,” says my boss today, and then lays out MoJo’s extensive coverage of exactly this over the past two years. You should read it if you have even the vaguest thought that maybe Trump isn’t quite as toxic and ugly as I’m suggesting.

At the same time, he’s been engaged in a childish war of words with North Korea. This is not just idiotic, since Trump is making threats he knows he won’t carry out, but recklessly dangerous. It’s exactly the kind of thing that, with the right push, could escalate into Kim Jong-Un doing something foolhardy and then Trump responding in kind. The odds of this turning into a nuclear exchange are low. Maybe 1 percent or so. But with any other Republican the odds would be 0 percent.

Trump needs to go. The sooner Republicans figure this out, the better off we’ll be. Mike Pence may have sold his soul by signing up with Trump—and as president he’d unquestionably be bad for everything I care about—but Donald Trump is a disgrace, and a dangerous one. His 15 minutes should have been up long ago.

THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.