Mike Pence is trailing former President Donald Trump by some 50 points in national polling.
It’s no great revelation that the former vice president needs some major breakthroughs to be considered a serious and viable candidate for 2024.
But all is possible, and here is one approach.
I call it the Pence Black Plan.
Each presidential cycle, we see Republican presidential candidates making efforts to reach out to Black voters.
Arguably, Republicans are seeing some gains. In 2020, Trump picked up 12% of the Black vote, compared to 9% in 2016.
The number worth focusing on is 67%. That is the percentage of all voters in 2020 who were white.
If we look back to November 1980, when President Ronald Reagan was elected, 88% of voters were white.
A defining reality of today’s American elections is that the American electorate is becoming less and less white and non-white voters overwhelmingly vote for Democrats.
In 2020, of the 67% of voters that were white, 58% voted for Trump and 41% for Joe Biden. Biden won all other racial/ethnic categories.
As the percentage of the electorate that is white continues to decline, as it will, unless there is some change in the inclination of non-white voters to vote Republican, it will be increasingly difficult each election to elect a Republican.
This is where Mike Pence can impact prevailing reality.
Mike Pence’s strong point is his clear definition not just as a conservative, but as a conservative evangelical Christian.
He is pro-biblical values — meaning pro-life and pro-family. And as a conservative, he supports limited government.
The data shows that the higher probability that voters attend church frequently, the higher probability that those voters will vote Republican.
With one glaring exception: Black voters.
Black Americans have among the highest church attendance in the nation, yet they vote overwhelmingly for Democrats.
In recent data from Pew Research, 40% of Americans said that they attended religious services in some way in the previous month. Highest, at 72%, were white evangelical protestants. Next was Black protestants, at 69%.
Why do white frequent churchgoers vote Republican and non-white not?
White churchgoers understand, as America’s founders understood, that putting your faith in God means taking responsibility for your own life and not putting faith in government.
It always has been harder for Black churchgoers to make this connection because of the country’s complicated racial history.
But, regardless, it’s still true. I have always argued that Blacks need to be consistent in what they do on Sunday and what they do on Tuesday.
Big government has hurt low-income Black Americans, and Blacks have paid a great price in collapse of family.
The same Black Americans are likely to pay an even greater price. Just as we saw in the recent debt ceiling debate, the addition of work requirements in welfare programs, this will continue. The massive debt and fiscal problems of the country will put welfare payments in increasing jeopardy.
Pence has indicated his support of reforming Social Security for younger workers with individual investment accounts in place of the payroll tax.
This would be a boon for Black Americans, only 34% of whom own stocks, compared to 61% of white Americans. It would be a major contribution to closing the racial wealth gap.
Furthermore, a more responsible fiscal stance in the country — less debt, less spending — would produce faster growth, clearly in the interest of low-income Americans.
And, of course, school choice is a big issue that Black Americans already support.
Mike Pence should use his impeccable evangelical credentials to reach out aggressively to leading Black pastors with a message of family and freedom.
Such an effort could not just be a game changer for Pence’s campaign, but for the whole country and its future.
Star Parker is President of the Center for Urban Renewal and Education and host of the weekly television show “CURE America with Star Parker.”