Mike Pence’s delusional quest: After all this, he still believes in a GOP that died long ago 

Sure, half a cheer for the former veep for resisting the Jan. 6 coup. But after all the groveling, that’s it

Jonathan V. Last of the Bulwark asked an interesting question in his column this week. He wondered, “[C]ould Mike Pence walk through the crowd at a Kari Lake or Doug Mastriano rally without security? On the other hand, what would happen to Mike Pence if he walked through the crowd at a Josh Shapiro or Mark Kelly rally? Would he need security?”

I think we know the answer, don’t we? There is only one crowd that literally tried to hang the former vice president and it isn’t the crowd who would gather for any Democrat. Pence is loathed by the MAGA base and if they happen to forget how much they hate him, Donald Trump will be sure to remind them every chance he gets.

This week Pence gave a speech sponsored by the Heritage Foundation (where he is a “distinguished visiting fellow”) in which he caught the media’s attention by giving  a coy answer when asked if he’d be willing to vote for Trump in 2024.

It’s no secret that he intends to run so that really wasn’t the point of his speech. Pence kept referring to “our movement,” and while some might initially assume he meant Trump’s MAGA movement, that clearly wasn’t the idea. It was more like a throwback to Reaganism:

Our movement cannot forsake the foundational commitment that we have to security, to limited government, to liberty and to life. But nor can we allow our movement to be led astray by the siren song of unprincipled populism that’s unmoored from our oldest traditions and most cherished values. Let me say: This movement and the party that it animates must remain the movement of a strong national defense, limited government and traditional moral values and life.

So who, exactly, does Pence think is his constituency? Democrats wouldn’t attack him at a rally, and might even give him a pat on the back for his actions Jan. 6, but they certainly aren’t voting for him after his years-long display of unctuous groveling. Republicans won’t vote for him because he betrayed Trump, and the Never Trumpers aren’t likely to forgive him for betraying the GOP. I guess that leaves Liz Cheney and maybe a few members of the Bush and Romney families.

Mike Pence helped turn the GOP into what it is today and now finds himself a man without a party. He gets credit for not capitulating to fascism all the way, but his fate is richly deserved. He should start looking for some of those nice lucrative board seats and retire from public life. He’s cooked. 

Salon editorial for Salon written by  HEATHER DIGBY PARTON

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