Pence cannot turn back the clock on the Republican Party

Mike Pence gave an interesting speech this week. That’s a sentence you don’t read often. But in his speech in New Hampshire, Pence argued that the Republican Party is at a turning point.

The party must choose between “populism” and “conservatism,” he said. In doing so, he tried to draw clear, very clear lines between himself and his rivals for the GOP nomination.

Specifically, he wanted to target Donald Trump and his “populist protégés,” by which he particularly meant Vivek Ramaswamy. Pence himself was now clearly striving for Ronald Reagan’s throne.

It was a good speech. But there was a problem. The real turning point for his party was 2016, the election in which Pence proved to be a crucial pair of stabilizing wheels. The change that took place this year cannot be undone, nor should it be.

Because what Trump took advantage of this year was a real thing. The growing gap in this country between what the people want and what a small elite at the top of politics, finance and media want.

The gap between the people who make politics and the people who suffer the consequences of those politics.

Before 2016, it was bad form for Republicans to talk about a trade war with China. Trump changed all that. He talked about the jobs that have been taken away from this country and how to get them back. He spoke about illegal migration at the southern border and a concrete solution.

It was the left that said it was all just “populist.” Over the four years of the Trump presidency, “populist” became a new word for “popular,” if the politics happened to be conservative. Indeed, it was rare for left-wing politics to be described as “populist.” Strange, that.

The problem wasn’t with the program. The problem, as Pence himself well knows, is that Trump simply hasn’t done much of what he promised. Is this because of the evil “populist” nature of his politics? No – it was because Trump proved incompetent.

At this point, supporters of the president still like to claim that this was because he was prevented from fulfilling his agenda by the “deep state” and other enemies within. But there was only one man who was truly to blame. This was the man who couldn’t fill any positions in his administration because people didn’t trust him.

The man was so undisciplined that his colleagues caught him surfing channels during the day when he should have been working. The man who confused saying something with doing it. The person who thought if you said something enough times it would become true.

It is unfortunate that Trump was such a difficult and unreliable figure. He didn’t just burn members of his government. He has let many down. He rewarded loyalty with insults. Something Mike Pence knows all too well.

But the idea that the GOP should go back to the pre-Trump era because Trump didn’t accomplish everything is for birds. The voter base had long since had enough of the talent the party offered them and the slogans it offered them.

What exactly was so great about the Bush family that they had to field a candidate for president every election season?

Furthermore, the position that Trump still holds in the Republican polls should tell us something. His lead is currently so large that you could add up all the other candidates’ numbers and still not get a number that can beat Trump.

So it seems sensible to find a way to use everything you think Trump used in 2016 – and today. And then think about how you can make the best of it while eliminating the worst.

Not everyone seems to want to complete this delicate task. Trump had four years to reform the FBI and other agencies. Either he didn’t do it because it wasn’t possible, or he didn’t do it because he lacked the discipline or support around him.

And if you believe that he had the best people in the country around him, then you have to explain why so many of them happened to be his relatives.

But because of that failure, a new generation of Republicans believe the painstaking operation isn’t worth it. There is a type of conservative who has become a type of revolutionary. They want to blow up half of this country’s institutions and tear down the other half. Not unlike their opponents on the left.

The FBI isn’t working as well as we’d like? Let’s burn it down and sprinkle the earth with salt. The Ministry of Education is inefficient and too controlled by teachers’ unions? Destroy the Department of Education.

This is not just unconservative. It is disingenuous in many ways. This suggests that Republicans don’t have the patience, knowledge, or perseverance to do what they need to do when in government.

But we know that this is not the case. In his speech this week, Pence took aim at Ron DeSantis and criticized the Florida governor for his dispute with Disney. But what DeSantis did there was a model for what Republican politics could look like. They could effectively defend themselves against their opponents and critics.

Conservatives don’t always have to be on the losing side. Or whine about the next battle they’ll lose. You can also move forward using government resources.

So no, it doesn’t necessarily have to be “populism” or conservatism. How about both?

Mayor Adams’ illegal immigrant outbreak this week was very special. But I have another question for him. Can this be the same man who ran for mayor by saying New York should remain a sanctuary city?

Is this the same man whose 2021 “WeRise Plan” called on “all city agencies to make their services accessible without putting immigrants at risk of law enforcement” and promised to “severely limit cooperation between NYPD and ICE”?

Mayor Adams has done his part to move this “doomsday” forward very well. Why doesn’t he like his season finale?


DUSTIN JONES is a USTimeToday U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. DUSTIN JONES joined USTimeToday in 2021 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with DUSTIN JONES by emailing

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