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Former Vice President Mike Pence

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

It remains to be seen whether or not former President Donald Trump will seek the GOP nomination in the 2024 presidential election — and who Trump will endorse if he decides not to run. The non-Trump possibilities often mentioned by pundits range from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. But one person who isn't generating enthusiasm among many Republican voters, journalist David Siders stresses in an article published by Politico this week, is former Vice President Mike Pence.

Raymond Harre, vice chairman of the Scott County Republican Party in Iowa, told Politico, "I don't imagine (Pence would) have a whole lot of support. There are some Trump supporters who think he's the Antichrist."

In the past, Pence might have done well as a Republican presidential candidate. He is a severe Christian fundamentalist and an outspoken social conservative with an anti-gay, anti-abortion, anti-feminist resumé. And in 2016, Trump thought enough of Pence to make him his running mate.

But in the minds of Trump devotees, Pence committed an unpardonable sin when, on January 6, he accepted the certification of now-President Joe Biden's Electoral College victory over Trump.

In the days leading up to January 6, Pence said that as vice president, he didn't have the authority to overturn Biden's Electoral College victory. But Trump insisted that he could have pulled it off if he had tried harder, and the insurrectionists who were chanting, "Hang Mike Pence, hang Mike Pence" on January 6 believed that he betrayed their "Dear Leader."

Republican operative Doug Gross, who served as chief of staff to former Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, is equally skeptical about Pence performing well as a 2024 presidential candidate. Gross told Politico, "It's just, where would you place him?.… With Trumpsters, he didn't perform when they really wanted him to perform; so, he's DQ'd there. Then you go to the evangelicals, they have plenty of other choices."

Steve Bannon, who served as White House chief strategist under Trump in 2017 and now hosts the War Room podcast, believes that the MAGA base will never support Pence as a presidential candidate.

Veteran GOP strategist Sean Walsh, who served in the White House under President Ronald Reagan and President George H.W. Bush, told Politico that Pence has "got to justify to the Trumpistas why he isn't Judas Iscariot, and then, he's got to demonstrate to a bunch of other Republicans why he hung out with someone they perceive to be a nutjob…. I just think it is an awfully tough, tough hill for him to climb."

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Dr. Mehmet Oz and Sean Hannity

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Fox News prime-time host Sean Hannity is priming his audience to see election fraud in any defeat for Dr. Mehmet Oz, his favored candidate who currently leads the GOP primary for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania with two percent of votes outstanding. If the fast-closing hedge funder Dave McCormick takes the lead and the Oz camp claims the election has been stolen, it could set up a potentially explosive proxy war with Hannity’s colleague Laura Ingraham, whose Fox program favors McCormick and has suggested he is likely to prevail when all the votes are counted.

The GOP primary was a chaotic slugfest that split Fox’s slate of pro-GOP hosts in an unusually public way. Hannity was Oz’s most prominent supporter, reportedly securing the support of former President Donald Trump and using his program to endorse the TV personality, give him a regular platform, and target the challenge from right-wing commentator and Fox & Friends regular Kathy Barnette. Ingraham, meanwhile, used her Fox program (which airs in the hour following Hannity’s) to promote McCormick, criticize Oz, and defend Barnette.

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Overturning Roe v. Wade is very unpopular, yet another poll confirms. Nearly two out of three people, or 64 percent, told the NPR/PBS Newshour/Marist poll that Roe should not be overturned, including 62 percent of independents. The poll also includes some good news for Democrats.

According to the poll, the prospect of the Supreme Court striking down Roe in the most extreme way is motivating Democratic voters more than Republicans: Sixty-six percent of Democrats say it makes them more likely to vote in November compared with 40 percent of Republicans. That echoes a recent NBC poll finding a larger rise in enthusiasm about voting among Democrats than Republicans.

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