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Is Mike Pence Eyeing Presidential Bid? Former Veep Has Trouble Reuniting Trump Voters, Prof Says

© AP Photo / Charles KrupaFormer Vice President Mike Pence stands for the Pledge of Allegiance during a gathering, Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2021, in Manchester, N.H.
Former Vice President Mike Pence stands for the Pledge of Allegiance during a gathering, Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2021, in Manchester, N.H.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 13.04.2022
Former US Vice President Mike Pence hinted at a potential presidential run in 2024 during a 12 April speech at the University of Virginia, according to Fox News. Last month, Pence told Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo that he would not rule out tossing his hat into the ring in 2024.
"Without a doubt Mike Pence is running for president," says Professor David Woodard, Clemson University political scientist and former political consultant for Republican congressmen. "He has an independent fundraising group, and he is visiting early Republican primary states. He has several positive things to offer voters. He was loyal to Trump, until the January 6th events when he did the correct thing of validating the election outcome."
On 31 March 2022, Pence released a new platform for the Republicans titled "Freedom agenda is the conservative path to victory" and dedicated to the upcoming midterm elections. The former vice president lambasted the Biden administration for a 40-year high inflation, "record-breaking illegal immigration," "gas prices up 70 percent," and potential food shortages.
He called for "cracking down on Big Tech censorship, adopting universal voter ID and limiting mail-in ballots to only the rarest of circumstances, and permanently ending taxpayer funding for abortion" among other measures. When it comes to the US foreign policy, Pence urged the GOP to exert further pressure on Beijing and "demand renewed military investments, including in cybersecurity and technology, to counter the growing threat posed by countries such as China and Russia."
Former US Vice President Mike Pence points as he arrives to speak at a campus lecture hosted by Young Americans for Freedom at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia, on April 12, 2022 - Sputnik International, 1920, 13.04.2022
'I'll Keep You Posted': Mike Pence Plays Coy About Potential 2024 Presidential Bid
Despite Pence being considered by American observers as an "expected candidate" he has a problem that his conservative rivals Sens. Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis don't have, according to Woodard.
"The last three have a record of opposing Biden in the press each day, while Pence has to create an event to get attention. What is more, Cotton, Rubio and DeSantis don't have to carry the bad luggage (two impeachments, endless twitter outbursts and a 'tough-guy' foreign policy) that Pence has to carry," he says. "Nothing is better in politics than the identification of being 'new, fresh and improved.' For this reason, I think Pence will have trouble reuniting the Trump voters."
It is also unclear whether former US President Donald Trump will run in 2024. Still, the professor believes that Republican voters "will be looking for a new face to carry them forward." However, recent polls show that GOP voters are still backing Trump.
In late February 2022, the ex-president easily topped the Conservative Political Action Conference‘s 2024 straw poll. At the same time, Morning Consult surveys carried out in March indicated that Trump "remains overwhelmingly popular among Republican voters in key battleground states."
Yet another March survey, carried out exclusively for the Hill by Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll, showed that the former president is leading US President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris in a hypothetical 2024 match-up.
President Donald Trump joins Vice President Mike Pence on stage after Pence spoke on the third day of the Republican National Convention at Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine in Baltimore, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2020 - Sputnik International, 1920, 16.03.2022
You’re Fired: Donald Trump Rules Out Repeat Ticket With Mike Pence
Meanwhile, Trump appears to be dissatisfied with his ex-veep over the latter's unwillingness to challenge the 2020 Electoral College votes. Pence has repeatedly addressed the issue explaining that the US Constitution does not allow such an intervention from a vice president. Nevertheless, Trump has recently made it clear that he does not consider Pence as his potential running mate. "I don’t think the people would accept it," Trump told the Washington Examiner.
"Mike and I had a great relationship except for the very important factor that took place at the end. We had a very good relationship," Trump said in another interview, as quoted by the Epoch Times.
MAGA conservative voters appear to share Trump's approach to his former vice president, which could potentially complicate Pence's path to victory.
According to Woodard, only time will tell how the 2024 presidential race may pan out, underscoring that "voters have short memories."
"A united Republican party is in the future," he says. "America likes strong presidents when it comes to wartime decisions, and Biden has the appeal of a dishrag to voters. Remember that drastic defeats, like Barry Goldwater in 1964, George McGovern in 1972 and Walter Mondale in 1980 gave rise to Richard Nixon's rebirth in 1968, Jimmy Carter in 1976 and Bill Clinton in 1992."
Meanwhile, in the short-term perspective, one can bet that the Republicans will do well in the 2022 midterm, the professor predicts.
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