Pence group announces $20 million effort to fight GOP’s ‘drift toward populism’


Former Vice President Mike Pence’s political advocacy group plans to invest $20 million this year to shape the conservative agenda, an effort to directly counter what Pence had previously described as populism “unmoored to conservative principles.”

Advancing American Freedom, which Pence launched in 2021, announced Wednesday the creation of the American Solutions Project, a three-prong effort to push more traditional conservative policy priorities during an election year likely to be dominated by former President Trump.

“Our nation was founded on conservative principles that have stood the test of time. The Constitution and this great American experiment must not be swayed by movements or personalities, but must hold fast to the time-honored principles that have made America strong and prosperous and free,” Pence said in a statement to RealClearPolitics, which first reported on the new effort.

The new project, an outline of which was obtained by The Hill, will have three main objectives. 

The first will be to shape political majorities by creating a policy platform for candidates to embrace “and reverse the Right’s drift toward populism and the Left’s embrace of socialism.”

The second piece is focused on championing conservative legislation and advancing Pence’s policy priorities, which include promoting free trade, limiting government spending, restoring U.S. leadership on the world stage, and confronting China.

The third and final part of the project is aimed at protecting conservative principles, such as limited government.

The $20 million investment will allow Advancing American Freedom to expand its staff, build out its infrastructure and promote its work. RealClearPolitics first reported that former Heritage Foundation President Ed Feulner will join the group, as will major conservative donor Art Pope and Catholic University board of trustees chair Victor Smith.

Pence has spent the three years since leaving office advocating for more traditional conservative policy principles and pushing back against the personality driven politics that have defined the Trump years of the GOP, even as Pence was a key part of those years.

Pence was an unflinchingly loyal vice president for Trump throughout his first term, until the two had a falling out over Pence’s refusal to reject the 2020 election results on Jan. 6, 2021.

Pence ran against his old boss for the 2024 GOP nomination. The former vice president frequently warned the party against following what he called the “siren song” of populism and questioned whether Trump was committed to conservative policy goals.

Pence’s campaign offered detailed policy proposals and broke with Trump on support for Ukraine in its war against Russia and on the need to reform entitlement programs. 

But Pence failed to catch on, dropping out of the race last October. He has yet to endorse a candidate, with Trump’s team projecting he’ll become the presumptive nominee by mid-March.

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