I have written several columns of late detailing the extent to which former U.S. vice president Mike Pence and former United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley have become political lepers to the grassroots conservative base of the Republican party – especially here in early-voting South Carolina.
These two establishment GOP politicians took different routes in arriving at their current dire straits – with Haley gradually losing the support of the “Make America Great Again” movement over a period of several years and Pence falling out of favor more abruptly. Specifically, the former vice president lost his standing with the MAGA warriors when he refused to block the certification of U.S. president Joe Biden’s disputed electoral college victory over Donald Trump back in January.
Which led to this insanity …
Of course, Haley’s dismissal of Trump following the 2021 capitol rioting was a defining moment for her as well – a bell she has been attempting to unring for the past several months (unsuccessfully, I would add).
Here is a key question, though: Are the ongoing political machinations of Haley and Pence – erstwhile rivals for the vice presidency (and potential rivals for the White House) – merely about advancing their interests ahead of the 2024 presidential primary season?
Or … are these moves tied to something bigger? And more nefarious?
Specifically, are they part of a broader effort by the Republican establishment (including the party itself) to delegitimize Trump’s movement ahead of the 2024 presidential election? In other words, even as Haley and Pence heap praise on their former boss in campaign-style speeches are they conspiring with party leaders behind the scenes to undercut him and scatter his followers to the four winds?
That is the working theory of a provocative column published over the weekend on The Last Refuge, a website many of my MAGA friends read religiously.
“Both Nikki Haley and Mike Pence are tools for the Wall Street class of republicans,” the column noted. “These are evil, yes I said that word ‘evil’ conniving people. These are not allies aligned with an earnest middle class fight against the elitist system that controls the levers of power. These are the gaslighting foot-soldiers for the same system that wants to see us destroyed (emphasis original).”
Wow … strong words.
According to the column’s anonymous author, Haley and Pence are in league with GOP chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, who is allegedly “working against the interests of the MAGA base.”
“The head of the RNC does nothing to highlight demonstrable election fraud; she stands aside and watches as media frame an extremist narrative against the base of the party she is supposed to represent,” the column noted. “McDaniel does nothing to support the legal alliance needed to push back against election fraud; and worse yet she does nothing to support the recruitment of MAGA minded candidates to lead the middle-class working revolution against the corrupt political system. Yet, amid these brutally obvious realities no-one ever seems to call it out.”
Including Trump, it would appear …
(Click to view)
But the harshest invective of the Refuge piece was reserved for Haley and Pence, both of whom are allegedly “positioning to take down Trump” so they can then “step in to grab the flag and keep the base from recognizing their deceptive agenda.”
“They are the most vile and Machiavellian manipulators within our nation,” the piece continued. “They are no different than Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer and any other breed of self-indulgent political class that defines themselves by the affluence they gain from the backs of the American middle-class.”
“In another day and age they would be covered in hot tar and feathers and ridiculed out of town… alas, today we watch the audience clap like seals while shaking our head at the insufferable stupidity of our brothers and sisters not to be able to see the scheme for what it is,” it concluded.
Not all the audience, though … in fact, the last time Pence paid a visit to the “First in the South” Palmetto State, the response he received from those in attendance was decidedly underwhelming. And Haley? Her popularity among GOP voters in the state she led from 2011-2017 doesn’t seem to extend much further than the wealthy enclave of Kiawah Island these days.
In other words, this anti-Trump confederacy is not well-positioned at the moment to win over Republican voters who – by and large – remain unswervingly loyal to the former president (particularly in the pivotal Palmetto State). And unambiguously skeptical of anyone who crossed Trump.
Nor does this anti-Trump cabal appear likely to pick up such support anytime soon … especially if Trump decides to seek the GOP presidential nomination again (or anoints a MAGA candidate to campaign in his stead).
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina and before that he was a bass player and a dive bar bouncer. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven children. And yes, he has LOTS of hats (including the above-pictured Washington Senators’ lid).
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