Vivek Ramaswamy believes Mike Pence has failed.
The former Vice President is a MAGA villain for performing his constitutional duty on January 6, 2021. Therefore, Ramaswamy must find a way of not supporting his behavior that day, no matter how complicated or silly it may be.
On “Meet the Press” he recently commented on an alternative reality criticism of Pence.
According to Ramaswamy, the then vice president missed “a historic opportunity”.
Pence could have forged “a national compromise” by pioneering an electoral reform package that included one-day voting on Election Day (the one that commemorates a federal holiday), paper ballots and government-issued identification.
And that is exactly what Ramaswamy would have done – forging a “national consensus” while Pence missed his chance to “reunite” the country.
In fact, the only parties for whom Ramaswamy’s postulated grand deal would have been unsatisfactory are a) the United States Congress and b) President Donald J. Trump.
If we indulge in this small illusion, what Ramaswamy is sketching would have been a massive state overhaul of the electoral system, the kind of change that takes years to build consensus — through advocacy, committee hearings, horse-trading, and all the other elements of the legislative process sausage making.
One way or another, this legislation would have resulted in the repeal of electoral rules in most states of the Union.
It’s not clear why Republicans in Georgia or Florida, for example, would have supported a state overhaul of their systems on such a short-term basis—but the Democrats, of course, would have been totally opposed.
What would have been Ramaswamy’s bargaining chip to get her to accept a deal?
He would probably have threatened not to fulfill his constitutional duty.
In a matter – the certification of voters – that no one would have thought optional before.
This would have been seen as an extra-legal act of extortion, drawing fierce bipartisan allegations and opposition.
Rather than creating a national consensus, it would have taken Donald Trump’s post-election plan to a whole new level.
The January 6 riot was shameful, but there was never any hope of a real constitutional crisis that day because Mike Pence knew his duty and steadfastly fulfilled it.
What Ramaswamy is saying is that his role would have been up for grabs and potentially upset the entire established process.
And supposedly everyone agreed and actually rallied around him as the healer of the nation.
Let’s stretch the fantasy further and say that out of nowhere, Ramaswamy combined the legislative skills of Lyndon Johnson and Henry Clay and got this election package through Congress in a matter of weeks, days, or even hours.
You know who would have been outraged by that? The incumbent President Ramaswamy would have been in office.
Donald Trump did not want a package of electoral reforms; He wanted the 2020 election result blocked or overturned, and he wanted his vice president to use January 6 leverage to do that.
Anything else would have been anathema to him.
Legislative magician Vivek Ramaswamy would have been as insidious a traitor as Mike Pence and subjected to the same pressure campaign from above.
Had Ramaswamy had his current stance on Trump, he might have agreed with the President and his most ardent supporters: “Yes sir, I probably deserve to be hanged.”
All of this means that there would have been no middle ground and no frivolous subterfuges.
In short, Ramaswamy’s counterfactual story is absurd in every way.
But it does give him something to say about keeping his distance from Mike Pence, another piece of disingenuous salesmanship he excelled at during the 2024 campaign.
In August’s GOP debate, Chris Christie said he worried we were dealing with the same kind of “amateur” when he pointed out that Ramaswamy stole a line from Barack Obama. On the contrary: all the evidence points to the fact that we are dealing with an accomplished professional.