Why Mike Pence failed to make inroads in Trump’s party

Former Vice President Mike Pence bowed to the inevitable when he dropped his bid for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, as he was unable to resolve the central dilemma of his campaign.
Pence was running as a repudiation of former President Donald Trump’s changes to the Republican Party while his service as Trump’s vice president was the main reason for primary voters to want to send him to the White House.
Incumbent and former vice presidents generally run as an additional term for the presidents they serve.
Pence was running against Trump, the front-runner for the 2024 nomination. He understandably had broken personally with Trump, given the events of Jan. 6. And he was campaigning against Trump’s populist redefinition of the GOP.
Yet at the same time, Pence was running on the accomplishments of the “Trump-Pence administration.”
It was a difficult needle to thread. And ultimately, Pence couldn’t thread it.
If an evangelical candidate is polling in the low single digits in Iowa, as Pence was at 2% in the NBC News/Des Moines Register poll and 1% in the Iowa State/Civiqs survey, the path to victory is not there.
Pence was not in a position to replicate even what candidates like Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, and Ted Cruz h …