Dem 51
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What Mike Pence's Presidential "Lane" Looks Like

Yesterday, we wrote about the now-official presidential campaign of Mike Pence, and we were very pessimistic about his chances. Indeed, we wondered what he could possibly be thinking, since he so obviously is not going to become president.

Slate's Ben Mathis-Lilley was wondering, too, and decided to try and take Pence's bid seriously, and sketch out what the path to victory looks like. Here's the executive summary of how Mathis-Lilley has it:

What does this thought exercise—considering Pence on his own terms—tell us? It tells us, once again, that Pence is delusional. The odds of any one of these things happening are pretty long. The odds of all of them happening? We're talking lottery-ticket time. And note that it's not just enough that the decks be effectively cleared of all the main opponents (i.e., DeSantis, Trump and Biden). No, they have to be cleared at just the right time. For example, Trump's legal woes would have to overcome him in Q1 of 2024. If it takes until Q2, he'll probably already have the Republican nomination locked up. Similarly, Biden's incapacity would have to come in Q3; anytime before that and the DNC surely wouldn't give him the nod, delegates or no.

And this is basically the same lane that all the non-Trump/DeSantis GOP candidates are occupying. All of the 8-12 other Republican "contenders" have to hope and/or pray that they beat all the other contenders in Iowa and/or New Hampshire, and then that some sort of divine intervention then knocks off the big boys, since they, the second-tier candidates, are unable to do it for themselves.

This is just another way of establishing a basic truth about the 2024 presidential contest: While a game-changing event is certainly possible, it's not likely. And until it happens, there are only three real candidates: Trump, Biden and DeSantis. And, truth be told, even DeSantis might soon drop off the list. At the moment, the Florida Governor is averaging 21.3% in polls. The good news for him is that number is more than Pence, Nikki Haley, Vivek Ramaswamy and Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) combined. The bad news is that it lags Trump's 53.7% by well over 30 points. (Z)

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