Former Vice President Mike Pence isolated his base even more on Wednesday by claiming “populism” is on the “same road to ruin as progressivism.”
Speaking at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at St. Anselm College in Manchester, the former VP laid out a vision that contrasts the Republican Party under President Donald Trump.
Mike Pence claimed there is a difference between traditional conservative values and populism.
“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,” Pence said.
“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,” he added.
While Pence argued that the GOP has long had ideological differences with liberalism, he claimed populism is now threatening conservatism “from within” the Republican Party.
The former Vice President appears to think of populism as the right’s equivalent of progressivism on the left, with different rains of radical ideology.
“Those ideologies are fellow travelers on the same road to ruin,” he contended before noting some of America’s previous left-leaning populist movements.
Pence voiced concern that Republicans are willing to ditch long-held conservative values, including “faith in limited government,” in favor of “an agenda stitched together by little else than personal grievances and performative outrage.”
“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.
Pence then slammed his former boss, Trump:
“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,” Pence said.
“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.
“There’s already a party that embraces appeasement abroad. There’s already a party that would ignore our national debt. There’s already a party that wants to marginalize the right to life,” Pence went on to add.
Pence thinks he is “the most qualified, the most consistent, and the most proven conservative in this race” and believes a path of traditional conservatism “must guide our party and our nation as much today as they have for the past 50 years.”
“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.