Mike Pence thinks the Republican party and the nation as a whole are at a crossroads. He says his former boss is a pied piper who will lead his followers to ruin. Here is what Pence had to say about the divide on the campaign trail.
Pence Blaming Trump
Speaking in New Hampshire in early September, former Vice President Mike Pence told a story of mayhem about to unfold.
Specifically, Pence said that Republicans have lost their way and abandoned their conservative roots. But he says it’s not all their fault because they’ve been sold a bill of goods.
And just who does Pence blame for the deterioration of the Republican party and the conservative movement in general?
Why, none other than his former boss, ousted president Donald Trump.
As Pence sees it, Trump ran on a platform in 2016 that pandered strongly to far-right groups. Key to Trump’s appeal was his focus on cutting taxes and protecting American jobs.
It was all enough to lure Pence to the ticket as Trump’s vice presidential running mate. And, of course, it was also enough to get Trump elected, too.
But even back in those exciting days of change for Republicans, Pence says there were warning signs of what was to come.
Part of the fascination many Republicans have for Trump started with his promise to look out for “the forgotten man.” It’s a populist notion that can endear a candidate to voters but also comes with plenty of danger, Pence said.
For one thing, the former VP said, the anti-establishment appeal of populism draws people from both sides of the political aisle.
That tends to give populist candidates more leeway to play in the middle ground instead of staying true to the core principles of either the left or the right.
Pence points to Trump’s shifting foreign trade policy as evidence of this.
Conservatives typically want free and open trade, even with foreign countries. But one of Trump’s favorite tools in dealing with other nations was to slap tariffs on them in order to get what he wanted in other areas.
And, of course, the growth of anti-establishment views among the population can lead to unrest and upheaval. Even as leaders like Trump move toward the middle, their supporters go off the rails.
There’s No Turning Back
Exhibit A in that regard, of course, was the wild and outrageous siege of the Capitol on January 6, 2021.
Pence says that Republicans have a chance to not only reclaim their party in the 2024 election but to start moving America back in the direction it needs to go.
But the time to choose which path to follow is right now, according to Pence.
Continue down the populist road with Donald Trump, and there may be no turning back. Conservative ideals may be washed away forever.
On the other hand, if Republicans grab onto their traditional roots, they can start to turn things around. And, of course, Pence says he’s just the man to do it.
Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Andrew Cline