Former Vice President Mike Pence slammed the idea of Republican populism on Wednesday and warned Republicans that they need to embrace traditional conservatism over the rising movement of populism, which he likens to progressivism.
Former Vice President and 2024 Republican Presidential candidate, Mike Pence, spoke at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at St. Anselm College in Manchester earlier this week, and laid out a contrast between his vision for the Republican party, and that of President Donald Trump. Pence warned at the event that the GOP has come to a crossroads.
Pence said “I came here to St. Anselm College to simply say from my heart that Republican voters face a choice in this state and in every state around the nation as these primaries unfold, and I believe that choice will determine the fate of our party and the course of our nation for years to come. So today I asked my fellow Republicans this: In the days to come, will we be the party of conservatism, or will we follow the siren song of populism unmoored to conservative principles? The future of this movement in this party belongs to one or the other, not both. That’s because the fundamental divide between these two factions is unbridgeable.”
Pence argued that populism is threatening the GOP “from within” and that he sees populism as the right’s equivalent of progressivism and that both are rooted in the same ideology. “Those ideologies are fellow travelers on the same road to ruin” Pence said to the crowd.
“The Republican populists would abandon American leadership on the world stage, embracing a posture of appeasement in the face of rising threats to freedom. Republican populists would blatantly erode our constitutional norms,” he added.
“When Donald Trump ran for president in 2016, he promised to govern as a conservative, and together we did,” Pence said. “But it’s important for Republicans to know that he and his imitators in this Republican Party make no such promise today.”
Pence then took aim at former President Trump, without mentioning him by name and claimed that “A leading candidate for the Republican nomination last year called for the ‘termination of all rules, regulations and articles even those found in the Constitution,’ while these imitators in this primary have demonstrated a willingness to brandish government power to impose their will on opponents. And even after a historic victory for life, Republican populists would relegate the cause of protecting the unborn to the states, much in the way during another time in the life of our nation, those who sought to preserve a great evil tried to leave that question to the States alone.”
“Should the new populism of the right seize and guide our party, the Republican Party we’ve long known will cease to exist, and the fate of American freedom would be in doubt,” he cautioned.