Mike Pence wants to get back on his comeback path. A realistic assessment of his chances does not look good. Since 2016, Mike Pence’s only win has been the Race Bannon Lookalike Contest for the GOP. It’s unlikely that this will change by 2024. It won’t deter him; he will be in the debate next week with all the other candidates, excluding, perhaps, the frontrunner.
This is the question that everyone will be waiting to hear:
Each campaign has been working on a response to the version of a question that MacCallum & Baier will ask next week. To cut straight to the chase they could ask the candidates if they think former Vice President Pence has correctly certified the results for the 2020 election and if they would have done the same. It could be dangerous for everyone, except Pence.
“He has been clear that elections were about the future and not the past. Failure to realize that was a problem for our party in 2022.” Marc Short, senior Pence adviser, told RealClearPolitics that his courage on Jan. 6, will be a distinguishing factor between him and Trump.
He added that “long term, this will reflect positively on Pence” and will be part of the discussion in both this debate as well as future debates.
I find that a little optimistic. By “trifle”, I mean “overwhelmingly.” Mike Pence will not be able to make any progress in the GOP primaries. He will not be a factor in the 2024 Presidential elections.
Why? Four reasons.
First, regardless of whether Donald Trump attends the debate or not, his fans will tune in. They are many. Many of them are not big Mike Pence fans for various reasons. It’s not that Pence’s team isn’t trying to make the issue of Jan. 6 look good. They are, after all, doing their job by trying to portray their candidate positively.
“Ron DeSantis has failed. Donald Trump is getting indicted. “People are looking closer at Mike,” said Bobby Saparow. He is the executive director of Committed to America, a super PAC that supports Pence. The GOP operative who assisted Georgia Gov. RCP reported that Brian Kemp, who fought off a Trump-backed opponent last year, was right in the mix. “It is a way of getting earned media attention. But he resonates and climbs because people are searching for an alternative.”
Even if Trump drops out for any reason, this isn’t going to work with many of Trump’s fans.
Second, Mike Pence barely shows up in the polls. He is currently ranked fourth in RealClearPolitics’ average, with a share of 5.4 percent. He is ahead of Nikki Haley, which is not nothing. But it’s to the left of everything. His campaign started off awkwardly. His campaign should have gained some traction by now, but he hasn’t. It’s partly because Donald Trump is sucking up all the air in the room, and it’s also because the second-place candidate has an impressive list of accomplishments that many GOP voters would like to see on the road.
Third, he lacks charisma, which is a very valuable quality when running for the highest position. Barack Obama proved that even a candidate without discernible intelligence, talent or experience could win the POTUS. Mike Pence is a much more difficult candidate to win over, as he has the qualifications and experience but does not appeal on a human level. Donald Trump’s appeal in 2016 was largely due to his style. He knew how to connect with people on a level that Mike Pence doesn’t seem to have the ability to achieve. Mike Pence is full of sincerity but lacks any style.
Forth, Pence’s campaign is also facing other challenges. He has too many obstacles against him. He will be rejected by the establishment because he is Donald Trump’s vice president. MAGA, now a major part of the Republican Party will not support him due to Jan. 6th. The DeSantis campaign? Ron DeSantis may be a distant second at this point, but most DeSantis fans won’t suddenly switch to Team Pence when their candidate drops out. It’s likely that people will start to rally around the frontrunner at this point, if not sooner.
Mike Pence, yes, he is a nice man. But, nice guys don’t always win the race.