Whether you’re a lifelong Democrat, an ‘establishment’ Republican of the Reagan / Bush era or a Trump enthusiast, you can’t deny the fact that the country has never been more sympathetic for Mike Pence than this month.
Of all the fallout from the January 6 hearings, the most memorable images to date featured Vice President Pence surrounded by Secret Service agents as protestors and rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to stop the 2020 Presidential Election confirmation. This week, the Wall Street Journal described Pence’s recent maneuvers and speeches as evidence that he is unofficially courting supporters for a 2024 campaign.
The obvious key difference from 2020 is Pence would no longer be second fiddle to the very President who allegedly vocalized support for his execution by certain violent members of the January 6 protestors. Unfortunately for Pence, his unwavering loyalty to Trump during the past five years should keep most of the “Never Trump” camp of conservatives from supporting Pence rather than any other Republican not named Donald Trump. On the other end of the Republican wing, Pence’s name is mud due to his confirmation of the election results and Pence’s refusal to obey Trump’s orders on January 6th.
Where does that leave Pence? For any viable shot at a GOP nomination, he must win over the middle of the road Republican voters who don’t follow politics like a sport throughout the year. Unfortunately for Pence, the majority of average Republican voters aren’t sharply focused on 2024 yet, and all of the positive publicity Pence is receiving for his courage during the January 6 incident will be water under the bridge within a few months, possibly even a few weeks.
For those reasons, Pence shouldn’t wait to declare his candidacy. For any and every critic who calls him an opportunist exploiting the hearing, there will be two voters who put more weight into the actions he took under peril on that chaotic day for Americans on both sides of the aisle.