Pence launches $20 million initiative to fight “unprincipled populism”

by Renata

Renata Kiss, FISM News


On Thursday, former Vice President Mike Pence announced a $20 million investment into his nonprofit organization to promote traditional conservative values, according to RealClearPolitics.

The news outlet reported that Pence’s  “American Solutions Project,” the offshoot of his Advancing American Freedom nonprofit, is meant to define the conservative movement as “bigger than any one moment, election, or person” underlined by a warning against “unprincipled populism.” The latter was a key talking point in Pence’s brief 2024 presidential campaign, and it did not gain traction then. But that did not bother the former VP, who remained committed to his principles. 

Pence expanded his organization by hiring new staff and bringing in previously familiar faces in the conservative movement. These include Ed Feulner, founder and former president of the Heritage Foundation, Victor Smith, chairman of Catholic University’s board of trustees, and Art Pope, a North Carolina retail magnate. 

 RealClearPolitics says these leaders may be considered a “throwback” in conservatism, but it is “by design.” 

“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,” wrote Pence in a statement to RCP. 

He argued that “many in the conservative movement have walked away from these principles, chasing the siren song of populism unmoored to conservative principles.” Pence added that he will “hold high those principles, staying true to the ideals that have made America the greatest nation on earth” and “I know the American people will rally to our cause.”

These values are meant to contrast the growing popularity of the “populist right and progressive left,” according to the nonprofit. 

Feulner championed Pence’s initiative.

“He’s so universally known and very widely respected, not only in the party, but among American citizens all over, as being a sensible and God-fearing person, who knows what the United States is all about,” Feulner said. 

The project announcement coincides with the upcoming South Carolina Primary this Saturday, where Trump is the projected GOP nomination for the third time in a row. It also comes on the week of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), which has become a popular gathering place for hardcore fans of the former president.

The former vice president’s chairman, Marc Short, has raised concerns over Trump’s populist ideologies. He pointed out the right’s silence over free trade principles as Trump vowed a 10% tariff on all imported goods. Short went on to say that many conservatives are also losing motivation to support Ukraine, while some foreign policy hawks have become “more or less” Putin sympathizers.

Overall, Short concluded that the conservative movement has moved toward “the rule of man over rule of law” rather than upholding the traditional understanding of “law-and-order.” 

Pence’s AAF group will focus on three main goals. The first is to influence political majorities by creating a platform for candidates to reverse the Right’s drift toward populism and the Left’s embrace of socialism,” according to The Hill.

The second and third objectives will align with policy measures held by those who support former president Trump. These include “reining in the federal government,” “unleashing American energy dominance,” “promoting free trade with free nations,” and “defeating the Chinese communist party,” per RCP.

A recent Gallup poll showed that the nation’s confidence in a democratic government is at a 40-year low. After the January 6th riots, only 28% were satisfied with the state of the country.