Washington is buzzing in the wake of a new op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, where Andrew Stein openly encouraged President Donald Trump to throw Vice President Mike Pence overboard for the 2020 election…and replace him with none other than former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley.
While such an opinion piece would hardly be cause for such rampant speculation under ordinary circumstances, Stein’s piece is thought by some observers to have been given the stamp of approval by none other than Rupert Murdoch himself, who of course owns the Journal. If that’s the case, it could mean that Trump has spoken directly to Murdoch – a longtime trusted friend and adviser – about the possibility of taking just this course of action.
In the piece, Stein argues that Trump should trade Pence for Haley in an effort to win over a demographic he has struggled to hold onto.
“I mean no disrespect for Mr. Pence, who’s loyally served the president and the nation. But he’s given Mr. Trump all the help he can. He inspired his fellow evangelical Christians to take a chance in 2016,” wrote Stein. “But in 2020 they’ll already be repelled by the Democrats’ embrace of infanticide. Mr. Trump’s greater obstacle to re-election comes from politically moderate suburban women, many of whom see him as divisive.
“Mr. Trump has promoted women to the highest echelons of the White House,” he continued. “But elevating energetic and effective leaders like Kellyanne Conway, Hope Hicks and Sarah Huckabee Sanders has earned him scant credit. It’s too late for Mr. Trump to revamp his political personality. But with the 2016 election in the past, Nikki Haley on the ticket could tamp down the antipathy for Mr. Trump that seems to afflict so many moderate and Republican-leaning women.”
This isn’t the worst idea we’ve ever heard, but we sort of struggle with the real-world calculus. How many suburban women hopped on the John McCain train because he chose Sarah Palin as his running mate? Furthermore, Stein says it himself: Putting women in powerful positions (including Haley herself) has really not done Trump any good with the “politically moderate” female voter. It’s too late to “make a first impression.” Women aren’t going to be swayed to Trump by the presence of Nikki Haley.
We had our doubts about Mike Pence in the early days of the Trump campaign, but he’s proven to be a loyal supporter of the president’s agenda and a terrific spokesman for the MAGA cause. And in an administration that has been characterized by an extraordinary turnover rate, the Vice President has been a symbol of stability. We think the smart move is to stand by Pence.