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To win suburban vote, Trump might be smart to dump Pence and put a woman on the ticket

For any other president, dumping a loyal vice president might be unthinkable. But Trump knows no allegiance.

Vice President Mike Pence has been “uber-loyal” to President Trump, writes Laura Washington, but Trump is polling horribly with women voters — and should think about a change.
Vice President Mike Pence has been “uber-loyal” to President Trump, writes Laura Washington, but Trump is polling horribly with women voters — and should think about a change.
AP Photos

President Donald Trump loves to brag about all the great things he’s doing for black people.

His Feb. 5 State of the Union “show” was chock-full of boasts and grins aimed at African Americans. Our unemployment rate is at an all-time low, thanks to him. Trump is a criminal justice champion, he claimed in the speech. He lavished praise on a 100-year-old Tuskegee Airman and bestowed a scholarship on a young black girl.

Black folks won’t fall for that okey-doke.

No matter. Trump’s softer, gentler words were aimed at another, crucial constituency: white suburban women.

Women who swing more liberally on social issues than their male counterparts. Trump needs their votes to prevail in the November presidential election.

Women who are not amused by Trump’s embrace of white nationalists and anti-immigrant crusades. Women who abhor his bombastic, misogynist ways.

In the 2020 presidential campaign, women prefer all of the leading Democratic candidates over Trump by 23 to 30 percentage points, according to a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll.

The poll was conducted Jan. 20 to 23. If held on Election Day, it would “nearly double the previous record gender gap in exit polls dating to 1976,” ABC News reported.

A woman will surely be on the Democratic presidential ticket, as either the nominee or the VP pick.

Talk is cheap. Trump needs a secret weapon to get alienated women voters back into his fold.

Last spring, Trump was “asking his longtime friends and members of his inner circle” whether “keeping Pence on the ticket was a shrewd decision heading into 2020,” Politico reported in December.

Trump was talking up Nikki Haley, the former South Carolina governor and former U.N. ambassador, as a possible running mate.

Would he consider replacing Vice President Mike Pence with a woman on the 2020 ticket?

I rang up Pat Brady. The former chairman of the Republican Party of Illinois said he would be “surprised” if Trump dumped Pence.

“Pence is a very trusted and relied upon adviser to the president,” said Brady, a consultant, lobbyist and attorney who keeps close tabs on political and corporate affairs.

Brady’s GOP friends in Washington tell him “Pence is the guy on [Trump’s] schedule daily, more than almost anybody.” He’s “in every meeting.”

Besides, abandoning Pence “would create so much consternation” in conservative circles and “so many problems” for Trump “that he doesn’t need.”

Right now, Trump is savoring one of the best weeks of his presidency after delivering a powerful State of the Union speech and reveling in his impeachment acquittal.

But if anyone knows how to ruin a good thing, it’s this president.

During his acquittal “celebration” in the White House East Room, he berated U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and declared the investigation into Russian electoral interference was “bullshit.” He labeled one adversary a “sleazebag.”

Others “scum.”

Here’s some unsolicited, free advice for the Trump campaign.

I guarantee your candidate will continue to alienate women, no matter how much he panders. If anything, the gender gap will grow. He may need a Plan B.

For any other president, dumping an uber-loyal vice president would be unthinkable.

It would be a cinch for Trump. He knows no allegiance beyond whatever will save his orange skin.

Trump is the ultimate transactional president. What’s good for Trump personally had better be good for everyone else.

Pence and the rest of you are highly dispensable.

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