It would seem natural the former Vice President Mike Pence would be one of the frontrunners for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, but it turns out that many inside the GOP consider him to be persona non grata and say there’s absolutely no way they’ll ever support him, according to a surprising new report from Politico.
The reason Pence is no longer seen as a viable option can be boiled down to the name of the man he so dutifully served for four years: Donald Trump.
Many Iowa Republicans had seen the results of the most recent Conservative Political Action Conference straw poll, released just days earlier, in which Pence flatlined, drawing no more than 1 percent support. Before that, they’d watched the video of Pence getting heckled and called a “traitor” at a major gathering of conservatives in Florida last month.
“I don’t imagine he’d have a whole lot of support,” said Raymond Harre, vice chair of the GOP in eastern Iowa’s Scott County. “There are some Trump supporters who think he’s the anti-Christ.”
Can Pence ever hope to overcome the negative opinion so many Republicans have of him? It seems unlikely based on the things party insiders are saying about the ex-VP:
“Who?” Doug Gross, a Republican operative who was a chief of staff to former Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, replied flatly when asked about Pence. “It’s just, where would you place him? … With Trumpsters, he didn’t perform when they really wanted him to perform, so he’s DQ’d there. Then you go to the evangelicals, they have plenty of other choices.”
When he’s not being called the anti-Christ, others are fond of comparing Pence to Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver in The Bible:
“He’s got to justify to the Trumpistas why he isn’t Judas Iscariot, and then he’s got to demonstrate to a bunch of other Republicans why he hung out with someone they perceive to be a nutjob,” said Sean Walsh, a Republican strategist who worked in the Reagan and George H.W. Bush White Houses and on several presidential campaigns.
Ironically, it’s white evangelicals who seem to be the most aggrieved by Pence’s refusal to agree with Trump’s “Big Lie” that voter fraud was rampant and the 2020 election stolen. That group of voters would seem to be the most logical base of support for the former VP, but at the moment they’re too angry to pledge their support to Pence.
According to former Trump campaign strategist Steve Bannon, Pence has no future whatsoever in the GOP:
“MAGA is maniacally focused on 3 November, and they understand Pence betrayed them. He is being shunned and erased from the MAGA movement, and it hasn’t even started.
“Mike Pence’s political career is over … It’s done.”
Too bad Pence didn’t realize sooner the simple fact that’s best summed up by former GOP strategist Rick Wilson: Everything Donald Trump touches dies.
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