Mike Pence is the most conservative candidate running for president. The former vice president wants to ban abortions from the point of conception. He is the only leading candidate to advocate cuts to Social Security and Medicare. And he has the most hawkish foreign policy, especially in confronting Russia.
It used to be important to be the most conservative in the Republican presidential primary.
Mr. Pence’s presidency, Donald J. Trump, transformed the Republican electorate, making the path to President Pence visible only among true believers. Pence hasn’t changed much since he became governor of Indiana over a decade ago, but his party has changed. Same Mike Pence but a different Republican, a different Republican because of his former boss.
The focus of the Bill Clinton-era Republican Party on character and morality has been replaced by a different tenet, former Justice Department official Jeffrey B. This was made clear during the debate on Twitter.
“We are not a congregation to vote for a new pastor.” claimed Clark is one of the top Justice Department officials who tried to help Trump overturn the 2020 election. “We are voting to choose our national leaders.”
According to this line of thinking, it doesn’t matter that Mr. Pence is only married once and is so determined to keep his vows that he won’t allow himself to eat alone with a woman who isn’t his wife. . It doesn’t matter how long Trump has had affairs or whether he paid hush money to porn stars. Trump kind of silences all of this with one candid social media post, “I Could Kill Roe v. Wade.”
Pence announced his candidacy in the first video on wednesdayHours before the scheduled rally outside Des Moines, few chances were given to anyone outside the core team. Republican pollsters and strategists dismiss him. Faced with Pence’s situation of being controlled and burdened by Trump, most politicians, after considering polls and focus groups, believe there is no “theory” for him to win the nomination. would have concluded.
But Pence doesn’t seem to be good at statistical analysis.
“Our country is in a very difficult situation,” Pence said in a nearly three-minute announcement video, accusing “President Joe Biden and the Radical Left” of weakening the United States “at home and abroad.”
“Runaway inflation”, looming recession, southern border “under siege”, Russia and China “on march” unbridled “enemies of liberty” and what he calls “timeless American values” Citing unprecedented attacks, he promises. To fulfill what he says the nation desperately needs.
“We are better than this,” Pence said. “We can turn this country around. But different times require different leadership. We need leaders who appeal to the better angels of our nature.”
While some Republican politicians use God as a topic and know little of the Bible, Mr. Pence puts every decision through the filter of the Bible. When he says he prayed about his decision, he means it, and that includes running for president. Throughout his political career, Pence has often gathered around staff and his family to pray, according to people who have worked for him. Because if his theory about this race incident seems to rely more on faith than data, it really does.
Pence served as Trump’s yes man for three years and 11 months. In that final month, Pence refused to comply with a clearly unconstitutional executive order to single-handedly overturn the 2020 election. His loyalty to the Constitution was rewarded when Trump supporters burst into the Capitol yelling “Hang Mike Pence” and Mr Pence and his family barely made it to safety. .
Instead of criticizing Trump’s treatment of Pence, Republican voters put him as the front-runner. More than 50% of Republicans support the former president, according to national polls. Pence won about 4% of the vote. Even in the heavily evangelical state of Iowa, where Pence is betting his candidacy, his approval rating is around 5%.
Pence has no trouble explaining his policy positions. He will run for president as a national security hawk, a staunch social conservative, a free trader, and a fiscal conservative. No one who knows him well doubts his honesty on these matters. He may be running the least polled campaign in the Republican field.
The problem is that Mike Pence, as most Republicans know him, has made it his job for four years to support Trump through policies and actions that often contradict his professed principles. If, in Pence’s introspection, he wonders why the party he’s long aspired to lead is no longer interested in having someone like him lead it, it’s the responsibility. Part of the burden may fall upon him.
The Trump-Pence administration has increased the national debt by about $8 trillion. So much for fiscal conservatism. The trade policy of the Trump Pence administration has largely pleased the protectionist Democrats. So much for free trade. And while Trump spent his first three years in office largely listening to a conventional national security adviser, Pence didn’t endorse him in his final year. laid the groundwork for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan.
Mr. Trump’s currently announced “America First” foreign policy (including ending U.S. aid to Ukraine and considering giving some of Ukrainian land to the Russians) means that the U.S. We couldn’t be further from Mr. Pence’s Reaganite vision of defending freedom. globe.
But it’s not just anti-populist policies that are holding Mr. Pence down. Republican voters have very different expectations of their leaders than they did when Mr. Pence rose to political status as Congressman and Governor of Indiana.
For the past seven years, Mr. Trump has trained Republican voters to appreciate the various virtues of candidates. He trained them to value Republicans fighting hard and dirty, using all the tactics necessary to defeat their opponents. He also trained his students to look away from behavior once considered disqualifying.
Mr. Pence also looked away for four years. She continued her relationship with Trump through a number of controversies, including the leak of an “Access Hollywood” tape in which Trump boasted of grabbing a woman’s genitals. He vouched for Trump’s character to the skeptical evangelicals with whom he eventually forged relationships.
Bound by loyalty, the vice president remained silent as Trump praised North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as president. But during a recent campaign, after Trump congratulated Kim on his re-admission to the World Health Organization board, Pence chided his former boss for “praising the North Korean dictator.”
Pence may finally be freed to tell voters what he really thinks about Trump. His problem is that most Republicans don’t want to hear it.