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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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