Will Mike Pence Run For President In 2020? His VP Debate Performance Suggests He's Planning For The Future

While the first (and last) 2016 vice presidential debate wasn't nearly as chaotic as the first presidential debate, the candidates certainly talked over each other, aggressively interrupted, and were filled with plenty of "I never said that!" comebacks. It may feel like there was no clear winner on Tuesday night or that the debate between Mike Pence and Tim Kaine may not have a massive impact on voters, but we did get a better idea of who these two candidates are as politicians, and perhaps more insight into their motives within the election. We saw Democratic nominee Kaine attack Donald Trump, crack Apprentice jokes, and question how Pence could side with him while Republican nominee Pence avoided questions, shook his head repeatedly, and changed the subject without really defending the attacks against Trump.

Was Pence's calm, disciplined demeanor a strategy meant to balance out Trump and win the 2016 election? Or does Pence have something else on his mind — like another election? Following the debate, network heads and political correspondents had similar assessments of Pence and Kaine's performance: Tim Kaine debated as the 2016 vice presidential candidate. Mike Pence debated as a 2020 presidential hopeful.

Many Twitter users accused Pence of throwing Trump (and the campaign) under the bus by not fighting back to Kaine's attacks. But this isn't the first speculation about Pence's possible plans for 2020. According to Chris Cillizza in The Washington Post, as long as he runs a cool, calm, and collected VP campaign, Pence joining Trump's ticket initially was pretty much a win-win for him.

"If Trump loses, Pence can make the case to the real estate mogul's supporters that he is the natural landing spot for them in 2020. And he can make the case to the GOP establishment that he took on the VP slot for the good of the Republican Party — in hopes of modulating Trump and making him more electable."

And if Trump wins? Then he's the VP and has a chance to be the Republican nominee in 2024 or 2028. While the outcome of the 2016 election remains to be seen, it does seem like Pence isn't planning on going anywhere anytime soon.