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Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis have been shaking things up by gearing up their campaigns and going after the presidency in what will easily be one of the most important elections of the century. While Donald Trump already has a history of ruffling feathers across the board, Ron DeSantis is just getting started as his many flaws become clear in the spotlight of national politics. As governor of Florida, he made plenty of friends with conservatives on the far right while invoking the fear and hatred of those on the left and the LGBTQ+ community in particular. Mike Pence, however, is that special kind of fire-and-brimstone Republican that should raise more concern than the other two put together; here’s why.   

Assessing the 2024 Presidential Race: Why Mike Pence Comes Up Short

The race to the White House in 2024 has already kicked off, bringing together an array of potential candidates across the political spectrum. Two names that have commanded the limelight in the Republican camp are former President Donald Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. However, there’s a third name that can’t be ignored: former Vice President Mike Pence. The question for many conservative voters is who will best represent their interests and uphold the Republican values in the face of evolving American political climate. Unfortunately, Mike Pence will most likely take conservative values to unattractive extremes if given the chance. One of the main criticisms against Mike Pence as a presidential candidate rests on his lack of charismatic, dynamic leadership. His more soft-spoken, subdued approach stands in stark contrast to the fiery and compelling speeches that Trump is known for. The latter figure has been lauded for their ability to galvanize and energize crowds with a mix of populist and conservative rhetoric. In contrast, Pence, despite his political experience, lacks the kind of inspirational, captivating presence that drives people to the polls. His subdued, measured demeanor may appeal to some as an antidote to the brashness of Trump, but it lacks the passion and spark needed to excite a broad spectrum of voters and engage them in the electoral process. Pence’s performance as a debater and public speaker during his term as Vice President can be described as wooden and rehearsed, lacking the fervor and spontaneity that can ignite a campaign.

Second, Pence’s political career is inexorably tied to Donald Trump due to his tenure as Vice President. He is often perceived as Trump’s steadfast supporter, endorsing and backing his policies, sometimes even in the face of controversy. This loyalty has put Pence in a challenging position. On the one hand, he has been unable to carve out his unique political identity separate from Trump. On the other hand, he has faced criticism from the more ardent Trump supporters for not backing the former President’s unsubstantiated claims about election fraud in the 2020 Presidential elections. Compared to Trump himself, who carries a considerable base of loyal supporters, or DeSantis, who has attempted to distinguish himself with his economic policies in Florida, Pence finds himself in a political no man’s land. It’s challenging for him to appeal to the broad Republican base, which is divided into Trump loyalists and those looking for a new direction for the party. If anything, Mike Pence wants to drag the GOP backward by insisting on upholding some of their most controversial and unpopular opinions on restricting women’s reproductive rights and demonizing the LGBTQ+ community. His staunch conservative views, particularly on LGBTQ+ rights and reproductive rights, may alienate moderate Republicans and Independents. Trump and DeSantis, on the other hand, have demonstrated a knack for appealing to a wider audience, striving to resonate with a larger demographic. Moreover, Pence’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic is another potential point of contention. While all politicians faced unprecedented challenges during this time, Pence was a visible figure in the federal response, which was criticized for its slow response, mixed messaging, and politicization of the pandemic. For his part, DeSantis has earned a reputation among conservatives for his resistance to lockdowns and emphasis on individual freedom as opposed to public health. Now, let’s consider electability. Presidential elections are not just about policy or personality but also about a candidate’s ability to win crucial swing states and energize a diverse base of voters. Trump demonstrated his ability to achieve this in 2016, and DeSantis’s success in Florida, a key state, indicates his potential national appeal. Pence, however, has not yet demonstrated such broad-based appeal or electoral success outside his home state of Indiana. His inability to create a distinct political identity, combined with his subdued public presence, his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, and his stance on social issues, makes him a less compelling candidate in the changing political landscape of America. This election will likely require a candidate with charisma, a unique political identity, broad appeal, and a track record of handling crises effectively — criteria that Pence, unfortunately, might not meet as convincingly as his potential contenders.

Pence’s Opposition to Reproductive Rights Is a Problem

One of the significant reasons why Mike Pence may not be an ideal candidate for the presidency lies in his rigid stance on reproductive rights, especially his opposition to abortion. Pence, both as governor of Indiana and as Vice President, has been an outspoken critic of Roe v. Wade and has supported policies that severely restrict access to abortion services. As governor, he signed legislation that required fetal tissue from abortions to be given funerals, a move seen by critics as an unnecessary imposition on women’s rights. As Vice President, Pence cast the tie-breaking vote in the Senate to allow states to defund Planned Parenthood, an organization that provides critical health services to women, including but not limited to abortion. While these policies may appeal to an extremist segment of the Republican base, they are likely to alienate a broad demographic of voters who believe in women’s right to control their own bodies. 

Mike Pence Has A Divisive Stand on LGBTQ+ Rights

In addition to Pence’s opposition to abortion, his stance on LGBTQ+ rights is also concerning. Pence’s record in this area is quite controversial and raises serious questions about his capacity to lead a diverse and inclusive nation. As governor of Indiana, Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) into law, sparking national outcry and widespread protests. Critics argued that the law would allow business owners to discriminate against LGBTQ+ people on religious grounds. Pence’s support for the original legislation signaled to many an alarming lack of concern for LGBTQ+ rights. While in Congress, Pence voted against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which aimed to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, effectively denying basic rights to the LGBTQ+ community. He has also been a vocal critic of marriage equality and supported the idea of conversion therapy, a discredited and harmful practice aimed at changing a person’s sexual orientation. Again, while Pence’s conservative stance on these issues may appeal to a certain demographic, it is out of step with the broader trend toward acceptance and equality for the LGBTQ+ community in the United States. Over 70% of Americans support laws that would protect LGBTQ+ people against discrimination in jobs, public accommodations, and housing.

The Future of the Republican Party

In considering Mike Pence’s potential presidential candidacy, it’s vital to look at the broader picture: the future of the Republican Party. The party is currently at a crossroads, grappling with the populist turn it took under Trump and the more traditional conservative ideology it was previously known for. Pence’s ultra-conservative stance on issues such as abortion and LGBTQ+ rights, combined with his inability to distance himself from the controversial Trump legacy, does little to move the party forward in any direction other than backward. It risks alienating moderate Republicans and Independents, whose votes will be crucial in the 2024 election. Pence’s controversial stances and potential inability to appeal to a broad spectrum of voters make him a less compelling choice for Republicans in 2024 compared to candidates like Donald Trump or Ron DeSantis. As the nation becomes more diverse and socially progressive, the Republican Party needs a candidate who can bring the party to reason and make it respectable in the modern political theater.

The Call for an Inclusive and Sensible President in 2024 Grows Stronger

As we slowly approach the 2024 presidential election, the United States stands at a pivotal moment in history. The nation continues to grapple with social, economic, and political challenges while cultural and demographic shifts herald a changing national landscape. In light of these dynamics, America needs a president who is not only sensible and grounded in their approach to governance but also inclusive and accepting of all people. This call stands in stark contrast to candidates who espouse intolerance towards LGBTQ+ individuals and women’s reproductive rights, projecting a vision of America that feels increasingly out of step with the country’s evolving reality. Firstly, the issue of inclusivity must be at the forefront of any serious presidential campaign in 2024. America is a melting pot of cultures, religions, races, and orientations, and this diversity is one of its greatest strengths. A president must not only acknowledge this fact but also celebrate it, working tirelessly to ensure that all citizens are treated equitably and fairly under the law. This requirement is not a matter of political correctness; it’s a fundamental principle upon which the United States was founded. Yet, some political candidates still harbor discriminatory views, particularly against LGBTQ+ individuals. The narrative they present — of a traditional America defined by heteronormativity and binary genders — is not only inaccurate but also harmful. It fosters division and legitimizes prejudice, further marginalizing an already vulnerable population. The next President of the United States must exercise acceptance, serving as a unifying figure who respects and upholds the rights of all citizens. Secondly, a more sensible approach to governance will be paramount in 2024. The complexities of leading a nation like the United States necessitate a level-headed, rational, and pragmatic leader. Policies and decisions must be grounded in facts, evidence, and expert advice rather than personal beliefs or partisan ideology. This commitment to reality-based governance is especially critical considering the pressing issues facing the nation, including climate change, healthcare reform, economic inequality, and systemic racism.

Despite robust scientific and medical evidence underscoring the importance of access to safe and legal abortion services, conservative politicians continue to advocate for restrictive laws that encroach on women’s autonomy over their bodies. It is crucial for the next president to respect women’s rights and make informed decisions based on data and medical expertise rather than personal or religious beliefs or bizarre personal eccentricities. Finally, America needs a down-to-earth president, someone who understands the day-to-day struggles of ordinary citizens. The role of the president isn’t solely about enacting laws or formulating foreign policy; it’s about understanding and empathizing with the American people’s hopes, fears, dreams, and struggles. The next president must be someone who can listen to the people, connect with them on a personal level, and make them feel heard and seen. In contrast, candidates who wield religious beliefs as a divisive tool, promoting an exclusionary narrative of a “real” America, risk further alienating an already divided populace. America needs a leader who can mend these divisions, and that starts with empathy and understanding, qualities that seem increasingly rare in today’s polarized political landscape. The 2024 presidential election is not just a contest between different political candidates; it’s a referendum on what kind of America we want to be. Do we want a nation that celebrates diversity, embraces evidence-based policies, and champions the rights of all citizens? Or do we want a country that perpetuates division, disregards scientific evidence, and restricts the rights of certain groups? The choice we make will reverberate far beyond 2024, shaping the American landscape for generations to come. As such, it’s crucial that we choose a leader who embodies tolerance, sensibility and an unyielding commitment to equality and justice for all.

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About The Author

Harrison Bryan

Harrison is an experienced writer and marketing connoisseur. Specializing in sales copy, he works with some of the most innovative names in business and is interested in the relationship between marketing and psychology. As a staff writer for SFL Media, he has a broad focus and covers some of the most exciting developments in South Florida.

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