(The Conversation is an independent, nonprofit source of news, analysis, and commentary from academic experts.)
(THE CONVERSATION) Former Vice President Mike Pence filed documents to declare his candidacy for president on June 5, 2023, placing him in unusual ranks.
While 18 of the 49 former vice presidents have run for president, it is rare for vice presidents to run against their former bosses. Six of those former vice presidents, including President Joe Biden, were eventually elected president.
Pence, alongside other candidates, is expected to formally announce his candidacy on June 7.
Pence and former President Donald Trump had a complicated relationship. Pence’s devout conservative evangelical Christianity was a crucial ingredient in helping lead Trump to victory in 2016.
But Trump blames Pence for the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol riots and said he was angry with him for certifying the 2020 election results. Pence remained trapped in the Capitol during the attack, which Trump did not nothing done to try to end.
There are only a few other moments in American history that vaguely resemble the ongoing battle over who will become the Republican nominee for president. Both were extraordinarily bitter, and centuries later their feud still raises eyebrows among historians and presidential pundits, including myself.
Insults in 1800
There is another time in history where a vice president ran against the president he was in office with.
In the 1800 election, Vice President Thomas Jefferson challenged incumbent John Adams. Adams had won the presidency in 1796 and Jefferson was vice president, making him the vice president. Until 1804, the person who came first in a presidential election became commander-in-chief, while the person with the second most votes became vice-president.
Jefferson, however, wanted the top job.
And so when Adams ran for re-election, Jefferson ran against him in one of the most notorious races in American history.
Jefferson’s allies have called Adams a hideous hermaphroditic character who has neither the strength and firmness of a man nor the gentleness and sensitivity of a woman.
An Adams ally with the pseudonym Burleigh, meanwhile, offered an omen if Jefferson wins the presidency: murder, robbery, rape, adultery and incest will be openly taught and practiced, the air will be torn with the cries of those in distress, the ground will be soaked with blood, and the black nation with crimes, wrote Burleigh.
The two used proxies to launch vicious personal attacks on each other in the press. But neither of them took advantage. The election ended in a tie in the Electoral College. This set up what is sometimes called the Revolution of 1800, the very first time that a group with political power peacefully ceded that power to another group, based on the results of an election.
Jefferson emerged victorious in the election.
Dumber than a guinea pig in 1912
But there is another point in the story that is similar to the Trump vs. Pence race that is about to begin.
Vice President Theodore Roosevelt assumed the presidency after the death of President William McKinley in 1901. Roosevelt was re-elected in 1904 and decided to leave office in 1909, rather than seek another term.
Roosevelt endorsed William Howard Taft, his Secretary of War, for the presidency. And Taft won the race easily.
But Roosevelt became dissatisfied with the Taft administration, as he felt it did not confirm his beliefs that the president should do what is necessary for the good of the country, as long as it was not explicitly prohibited by law.
In one case, the Taft administration filed a lawsuit against U.S. Steel Corporation for violating antitrust laws that prevent illegal mergers or other business practices.
Roosevelt flew into a rage. Other factors were at play, but he had personally endorsed the steel company’s trust and viewed Taft’s actions as a personal attack on himself and his administration’s legacy.
Roosevelt challenged Taft for the Republican nomination and ran against him in 1912. The former president dusted off his bullying pulpit and used his rhetorical knives to maximum advantage against Taft.
In the spring of 1912, Roosevelt called Taft a fathead, a bewildering wit, and dumber than a guinea pig.
Taft then used the term puzzlewit in a humorous, self-deprecating way to draw attention to what he saw as Roosevelt’s failures. This included Roosevelt’s opposition to treaties with Britain and France.
Taft also said in a 1912 campaign speech in Ohio that I consider the man a demagogue and a flatterer who goes out and tells people they know everything. I hate a flatterer. I like a man to tell the truth straight out, and I hate to see a man try to trick people into telling them something he doesn’t believe.
The 1912 Chicago Republican Convention, where the two faced off, was one of the noisiest in history. Supporters of Taft and Roosevelt even fought to the punches.
The Republican Party leadership ultimately backed Taft. And Roosevelt, in dramatic fashion, withdrew his supporters from the convention after a speech, in which he declared, we stand at Armageddon, and we fight for the Lord!
Then Roosevelt formed the Progressive Party and split the Republicans, paving the way for Democrat Woodrow Wilson’s presidential victory.
No other time exactly like this
Pence’s decision to run against Trump has no direct equivalent in American history.
This election cycle will break new ground and help set expected future standards in part because Trump is the only candidate to run while facing a criminal indictment and multiple other ongoing investigations into potential criminal activity.
However, if the past is any prologue, the Republican primary season will likely have more in common with the Roosevelt and Taft game than others, at least in terms of direct insults and attacks on leadership style things than Trump. is known to do.
This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article here: https://theconversation.com/mike-pence-is-jockeying-against-donald-trump-for-the-republican-presidential-nomination-joining-the-ranks-of-just-one – vice-president-who-in-1800-also-ran-against-a-former-boss-207165.
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