Former Vice President Mike Pence may not be the most charismatic candidate running for president, but that’s exactly what many political insiders want. Pence is someone who does not cause controversy. What Pence lacks in charisma he makes up for in name recognition, experience and reliability.
The Republican Party may seem fractured, but they are unified around one issue — beating Joe Biden in the 2024 election. With that in mind, we can turn to the 2020 democratic primary to see how Mike Pence may attempt to win the Republican nomination.
In 2020, Joe Biden ran as a political moderate with the experience required to make difficult decisions on matters affecting the lives of the American people. At the time, he was seen as a relic of the past. Not only was Biden seen as old, but he also seemed out of touch with what many in his party wanted. Still, he became the nominee. How did he do this? His campaign focused on a unifying issue — beating Donald Trump! Pence may follow a similar strategic blueprint to defeat other front-runners in what may be a crowded Republican primary field.
Mike Pence may have an opportunity to use his name recognition and political connections to quickly coalesce support behind him in the event that Trump becomes the front-runner. Joe Biden made concessions to his political opponents, including Peter Buttigieg who would go on to become the secretary of transportation.
Should Mike Pence find himself in a distant third, fourth, or even fifth place in the early contests he may turn to South Carolina for a political jump start. There, he could consolidate power among the political establishment by talking about his electability. Pence has always done well among evangelical voters, of which there are thousands voting in South Carolina’s primary. Mike Pence has also built meaningful relationships with key members of Republican leadership. If a “Never Trump” movement grows within the Republican primary, Mr. Trump may find himself in a similar position to Bernie Sanders in early 2020. At the time, Sanders was the front-runner, but after a series of wins for Joe Biden on Super Tuesday it became clear who the nominee would be.
For these reasons, I believe Mike Pence is the dark horse candidate of 2024. It is hard to see a scenario where Mike Pence is not the best option Republicans have to beat Joe Biden. If Mike Pence focuses on electability and sells himself as the candidate most likely to beat Joe Biden he will be the Republican nominee in 2024. Pence can, and should, make deals with other primary opponents to secure endorsements. And to anyone who thinks Mike Pence isn’t running for president — just look up the number of times he has visited Iowa this year.