For Mike Pence, a second term for President Donald Trump would have been a 2024 ticket to Republican frontrunner status.
But with Trump’s loss — after Pence spent the last four years as his most loyal soldier and the past year doggedly campaigning on his behalf — the Vice President is contending with a far less certain future. The situation is made even more complicated by Trump’s refusal to accept defeat and private flirtations with running again himself four years from now.
It’s a balancing act for Pence. He cannot risk alienating supporters of the President who want to see Trump — and by extension the Vice President — keep on fighting. But Pence also risks damaging his own brand if he aligns himself too closely with baseless claims of voter fraud.
“Pence is trying to navigate between the land mines of a President who insists on total fealty and protecting his options for his own political future,” said Dan Eberhart, a prominent Republican donor and Trump backer.
“Any Republican who is thinking about running for office in the next four years is definitely looking at that and trying to figure out which way the political winds are going to blow,”