Getting Trump out of office is an admirable goal, but if he goes, the rules say that Mike Pence would take over, and in many ways, he’s a lot worse. He at least has rock-steady and immutable right-wing views and would do his come-to-Jesus best to implement them.
A case could be made that by defending the administration and supporting like-minded felons such as the flaming racist Joe Arpaio, Pence is an accessory and abettor to Trump’s actions before and after assuming office.
In Pence, Trump has found an obedient deputy whose willingness to suffer indignity and humiliation at the pleasure of the president appears boundless. When Trump comes under fire for describing white nationalists as “very fine people,” Pence is there to assure the world that he is actually a man of great decency. When Trump needs someone to fly across the country to an NFL game so he can walk out in protest of national-anthem kneelers, Pence heads for Air Force Two.
Meanwhile, Pence’s presence in the White House has been a boon for the religious right. Evangelical leaders across the country point to his record on abortion and religious freedom and liken him to a prophet restoring conservative Christianity to its rightful place at the center of American life. “Mike Pence is the 24-karat-gold model of what we want in an evangelical politician,” Richard Land, the president of the Southern Evangelical Seminary and one of Trump’s faith advisers, told me. “I don’t know anyone who’s more consistent in bringing his evangelical-Christian worldview to public policy.”
It’s no great shock to find that the evangelical right wing is a massively hypocritical collection of political opportunists who are as adept at fleecing the foolish and the weak of their money as they are at updating their Grindr profiles and paying for their mistresses’ abortions. To them Trump is a useful idiot; they can explain away his flagrant lack of morality with the wave of a hand in the same way they blessed Newt Gingrich — the road company version of Trump — and the same way they came down on Bill Clinton.
But Pence is one of their own, and it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if the right-wing nutsery had it in their heads all along to get Trump elected and Pence as his second so they could bide their time and let him self-destruct so Pence could step in and begin to implement their real agenda.
So Pence has to go along with Trump.