This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, September 23, 2015:
One had to read well into CNN’s latest poll on the Republican contenders to discover a startling fact: Republicans, for the first time in memory, are rejecting Republican politicians en masse in favor of three who never have held political office. Here are the numbers from last week: Trump: 24 percent; Fiorina: 15 percent; Carson: 14 percent.
Much ado was made over Fiorina’s leapfrogging over Carson, and Trump’s fading by eight percentage points. But, deep into the report was this: “In a jam-packed GOP presidential field, the leading candidates are the only ones who have never held political office.” Here’s the math: those three are favored by 53 percent of Republican voters polled, leaving the remainder with the crumbs.
Gary North, an observer of the political scene ever since he worked as an assistant to Congressman Ron Paul in his Washington office in 1976, has never seen anything like it. In his members-only newsletter, North wrote:
This is the closest thing to a political revolution that I have experienced in my lifetime. There have been times when a successful general from a popular war could be elected president, but not a businessman with no political experience.
In this case, there are two business people plus a surgeon.
This is simply inconceivable. Nothing in American history reflects anything like it.
One of those who faded from hero to zero is Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker who just called it quits on Monday. He must have read the CNN poll. In mid-July he was leading in every poll in Iowa, where he was concentrating his energy and his money. Nationally, he was in the top three or four contenders. Today? His rating is so low that he qualifies for just an asterisk: less than one-half of one percent.
Today, I believe that I am being called to lead by helping to clear the field in this race so that a positive, conservative message can rise to the top of the field. With this in mind, I will suspend my campaign immediately.
He then took a shot at the current frontrunner without mentioning Trump’s name:
I encourage other Republican presidential candidates to consider doing the same so that the voters can focus on a limited number of candidates who can offer a positive, conservative alternative to the current front runner. This is fundamentally important to the future of the party and, more importantly, to the future of our country.
What happened? A combination of circumstances ganged up on Walker, and to a lesser extent former Texas governor Rick Perry. On his own, Walker has an impressive CV: winning election as Wisconsin governor in 2010, confronting the unions and successfully defanging them and surviving their vicious recall effort in 2012, and winning reelection in 2014 by beating his previous opponent by an even wider margin. For a while there it looked like he was going to be the Koch brothers’ fair-haired child.
And then, Trump’s histrionic and vitriolic attack on the establishment in Washington began to gain purchase, and it was game over. Walker and most of the others simply faded into the woodwork at the debates. Walker contributed to his own demise by having an indistinct foreign policy and by making some silly statements that the media was only too happy to trumpet all across the country. But, following his dismal showing at the second debate, the flow of funds dried up. As Gary Marx, Walker’s senior campaign advisor, said on the day of his withdrawal: “No matter how much money was in the super PAC, hard dollars still matter. He didn’t have the finances to continue on. Money is ultimately what stops campaigns rom going further.”
Cruz and Rubio will likely benefit, at least temporarily, from Walker’s departure, immediately making overtures to members of Walker’s extensive staff at his headquarters in Madison and his Iowa offices. They will appeal to Walker’s base of evangelical Christians and conservative business owners.
Walker’s suspension hardly means that he will fade away, however. With his credibility with the Koch brothers still intact, and his email list of more than 300,000 donors, Walker will likely wait for another opportunity.
It’s a long, long way to November, 2016, and common sense may yet overcome the low-information voters infatuated with The Donald – the voters who want change, regardless of the consequences. Trump’s remarkable ability to alienate Hispanics, women, immigrants, veterans, and most recently, Muslims, threatens the very blocks of voters the Republican Party will need to stave off the Democratic frontrunner.
In the meantime, the remarkable distaste for politics as usual by Republicans is resonating, and putting former front-runners like Walker and Perry into history’s footnotes.
If that trend continues, a non-politician is increasingly likely to represent the Republican Party in November, 2016, which would be another first in recent memory.
Wall Street Journal: Scott Walker Drops Out of 2016 Presidential Race
Washington Post: Scott Walker suspends presidential campaign
New York Times: Scott Walker Ends His 2016 Presidential Run
CNN Poll: Fiorina rockets to No. 2 behind Trump in GOP field