How Mike Pence’s Candidacy Will Hurt Trump in 2024 (and Who It Will Help)

News & Politics

According to reports, former Vice President Mike Pence will launch his 2024 presidential campaign on June 7, by releasing an announcement video and delivering a speech in Iowa.

Make no mistake about it, Mike Pence has virtually no chance of winning the nomination. He’s been poisoned with Trump-supporting voters over his refusal to stop the certification of the Electoral College vote in January 2021 — something he had absolutely no power to do. Yes, there were election irregularities in the 2020 election, and yes, they were not properly investigated before the Electoral College voted, but at that point, it was out of Pence’s hands.

I maintain my belief that the 2020 election was not entirely fair, but the real fault lies with the numerous Republicans in key battleground states who failed to take the necessary steps to ensure the integrity of the vote, both before and after Election Day. On top of that, the judiciary also chose not to intervene. The 2020 election will forever carry an asterisk, as we can never be certain who the rightful winner truly was. But that doesn’t change the fact that Mike Pence could not have prevented the certification of the election, just as former Vice President Al Gore also could not stop the 2000 presidential election from being certified back in 2001. At that time, there were strident claims within Gore’s own party alleging that George W. Bush had stolen the presidency. It is worth noting that even today, many Democrats still believe those claims.

Pence’s role in certifying the Electoral College vote was ceremonial, and the idea that one person could single-handedly stop the ratification of a presidential election, even a fraudulently decided one, is absurd. But Trump didn’t see it that way and suggested that Pence lacked the courage to take action.

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And that’s why Pence’s entry into the race will hurt Trump.

We’ve already seen how DeSantis’s “lack of loyalty” to Trump has caused the former president to concentrate virtually all of his attacks on the Florida governor. Well, if Trump still blames Pence for failing to stop the certification of the 2020 election — which he most certainly does — we can expect this to come up repeatedly upon Pence’s entry into the race. Trump’s presence in the 2024 race already opens up the GOP to a rehash of the 2020 election, but adding Pence into the mix will make it worse. And that’s a problem for Trump.

Related: The GOP Must Transform the Presidential Debates

Polls have shown for some time now that GOP voters want to move on from the 2020 election. A Quinnipiac poll conducted last year found that 52% of Republicans surveyed sided with former Vice President Mike Pence over Donald Trump regarding Pence’s ability to overturn the election results in January 2021. In contrast, only 36% of respondents agreed more with Trump. A Morning Consult/Politico poll from last year also found that 50% of GOP voters were ready to move past the 2020 election, while only 37% indicated a preference for maintaining their attention on it.

It is unlikely that Trump will ignore Pence, despite the fact that Pence is polling in single digits. Should they share a debate stage, you can bet Pence’s “failure” to stop the certification of the 2020 election will be made an issue. As GOP voters look to win back the White House in 2024, the last thing they’ll want to do is re-litigate the 2020 election. Election integrity remains a critical issue for the GOP — and a winning issue at that — but Trump has so far failed to prove that he can talk about election integrity without making the issue personal. That will drive swayable GOP voters away from him — and we know most of Trump’s support comes from swayable GOP voters. They most likely won’t throw their support behind Pence, but they will probably gravitate toward Trump’s most formidable challenger: Ron DeSantis.

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