Former Vice President Mike Pence’s advocacy group released a new agenda on Thursday, which many see as the first step toward a possible presidential run in 2024.
After teasing a “big announcement” in recent days, Advancing American Freedom unveiled its “Freedom Agenda” on its website. The 28-page document is likely to appeal to conservative voters who are concerned about abortion, taxes, and social media companies.
There has been much speculation that Pence will run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024, but no campaign has yet been announced, including by former President Donald Trump, who remains the GOP voters’ favorite candidate. The Freedom Agenda is divided into three sections: American Culture, American Opportunity, and American Leadership, and it hits many of the same conservative notes.
Despite the fact that the document covers a wide range of topics, many of the points are familiar conservative positions on key issues.
The agenda’s American Culture section takes a strong stance against abortion, calling for the honoring of “the God-given worth and dignity of all people,” as well as religious celebrations and border security.
The agenda calls for the end of “federal taxpayer-funded abortion once and for all,” as well as the completion of the southern border wall promised by former President Trump during his 2016 presidential campaign. Pence’s platform also calls for the end of sanctuary cities, addressing so-called “chain migration”—another hot topic for Trump—and encouraging “patriotic assimilation of immigrants through the immigration and naturalization process.”
Plans to “promote patriotic education” for American students are also on the agenda.
“State and local jurisdictions should require high school students to pass a test on their knowledge of the Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution, and the Federalist Papers prior to graduation to ensure that high school students graduate with a basic knowledge of America’s most important founding documents and ideals,” according to the agenda. This comes amid ongoing debate over what is taught in American schools, as well as widespread Republican criticism of Critical Race Theory (CRT), which has resulted in attempts to prohibit its teaching in schools, despite the fact that CRT is generally only taught at the college level.
The section titled “American Opportunity” argues that the people of the United States should be free of “oppressive taxation, tyrannical bureaucracy, and overregulation.”
The agenda calls for lower taxes and reduced federal spending, as well as a five-year budget balance.
The agenda states, “Pay down the federal debt now so that future generations are not burdened with unsustainable interest payments.” That section also suggests that social media companies “live under the same liability framework as traditional print and broadcast media companies,” as well as a “revamp” of the World Trade Organization.
If implemented, this measure would effectively turn social media companies into publishers, resulting in significant changes to online platforms.
The Freedom Agenda’s third section, American Leadership, calls for a tougher US stance against China, Russia, and other unfriendly countries, as well as an end to what the document refers to as “woke” military culture.
The section supports NATO, Taiwan, and Israel, and calls for “robust defense budgets that provide all our military personnel with the training and equipment they require.” It also criticizes Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“Putin undermines freedom and democracy at home and abroad, while endangering stability by threatening Russia’s neighbors’ sovereignty,” the document states.
Although the Republican presidential primaries do not begin until the early months of 2024, speculation about Pence’s intentions has been rampant. Trump has also hinted at a 2020 presidential run, while Pence and Trump have distanced themselves, particularly over the events of January 6, 2021.