Some of my favorite stories we commission are the ones based on a simple premise. In this case, a colleague noted this week that former Vice President Mike Pence was about to announce his plans to run for president – against Donald Trump, his former boss. Is there any precedent for this?

Shannon Bow O'Brien, a scholar of the presidency and presidential rhetoric, was the first person I thought of who would know the answer.

Indeed, in 1800 Vice President Thomas Jefferson challenged incumbent President John Adams. And then in 1912, a similar kind of scenario played out between William H. Taft and Theodore Roosevelt.

Both were ugly races, checkered with some colorful insults that include “dumber than a guinea pig,” Bow O'Brien writes in her story.

Still, that might be no match for what lies ahead.

“Pence’s decision to run against Trump has no direct equivalent in American history,” Bow explains. “This election cycle will break new ground and help establish future expected norms.”

Amy Lieberman

Politics + Society Editor

Former President Donald Trump and former Vice President Mike Pence appear together in November 2020. Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

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

Shannon Bow O'Brien, The University of Texas at Austin

Pence’s announcement that he will run for president brings to mind how rare it is for a vice president to compete against a former running mate.

In an aerial image taken on May 12, 2023, a border wall and concertina wire barriers stand along the Rio Grande river between Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, left, and El Paso, Texas. Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

Title 42 didn’t result in a surge of migration, after all – but border communities are still facing record-breaking migration

Lydia Renee Cleveland, Old Dominion University; Alexandra P Leader, Eastern Virginia Medical School; Erika Frydenlund, Old Dominion University

When host communities unexpectedly receive large numbers of migrants, the influx can tax local services – and relations between migrants and residents.

President Lyndon Johnson delivers the commencement address at Howard University on June 4, 1965.

Supreme Court is poised to dismantle an integral part of LBJ’s Great Society – affirmative action

Travis Knoll, University of North Carolina – Charlotte

President Lyndon Johnson’s commencement address at Howard University in 1965 offered a compelling argument on the need for affirmative action. His policies have been challenged ever since.

Republicans’ anti-ESG attack may be silencing insurers, but it isn’t changing their pro-climate business decisions

Rachel Kyte, Tufts University

A ‘greenhushing’ campaign is targeting insurers, who have the power to accelerate the transition to cleaner energy in how they write policies and invest.

Arrests of 3 members of an Atlanta charity’s board in a SWAT-team raid is highly unusual and could be unconstitutional

Beth Gazley, Indiana University

Georgia authorities have filed charges against Network for Strong Communities trustees. The nonprofit opposes the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center, which protesters call ‘Cop City.’

Judging the judges: Scandals have the potential to affect the legitimacy of judges – and possibly the federal judiciary, too

Ali S. Masood, Oberlin College and Conservatory; Benjamin J. Kassow, University of North Dakota; David Miller, East Tennessee State University; Joshua Boston, Bowling Green State University

Courts have no army or police force to enforce their decisions. Their power rests on their legitimacy in the public eye. How does scandal affect that?

Forts Cavazos, Barfoot and Liberty — new names for army bases honor new heroes and lasting values, instead of Confederates who lost a war

Jeff South, Virginia Commonwealth University

The last relics of ‘lost cause’ ideology are being removed, as a federal panel renames US military bases that honored Confederate generals.

Kakhovka dam breach: 3 essential reads on what it means for Ukraine’s infrastructure, beleaguered nuclear plant and future war plans

Matt Williams, The Conversation

Russia and Ukraine have blamed each other for the attack on crucial civilian infrastructure. Experts explain what the incident means for future war plans, and for the safety of the affected region.

US, Chinese warships’ near miss in Taiwan Strait hints at ongoing troubled diplomatic waters, despite chatter about talks

Meredith Oyen, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

What was behind the latest encounter between US and Chinese military vessels in contested waters?

Like this newsletter? You might be interested in our other weekly emails: