Unlike Perry, Walker leaves no real mark on the 2016 race

23 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Scott Walker sacrifices himself for the cause of stopping Trump … kind of.

When Republican Scott Walker suddenly quit the 2016 presidential race he called on the party to rally around a strong conservative candidate who could win the election.

Two months ago, Scott Walker officially announced to supporters that he was running for president because God had called him to it and because “I am certain: This is God’s plan for me.” “Today I feel I am being called to lead by helping to clear the field so that a positive, conservative message can rise to the top of the field,” Walker said yesterday in quitting a race in which he was once considered a frontrunner.NEW YORK • Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin, whose early glow as a Republican presidential contender was snuffed out with the rise of anti-establishment rivals, is quitting the race and urging some of his 15 rivals to do the same so that the party could unite against leading candidate Donald Trump.

Scott Walker’s expired presidential campaign yesterday to explain how the candidate traversed the space from front-runner to dead meat in just a couple of months. There is little unity, however, among his supporters on who to back now, reflecting the dilemma many Republicans face in choosing among 15 candidates. Almost to a one, reporters concluded that Walker had been done in by assorted money woes and fumbling performances at both candidate debates, both of which drove him to the bottom of the polls. This is fundamentally important to the future of the party and, ultimately, to the future of our country.” But let’s be honest: Walker didn’t drop out for the good of the party or the country, nor did he do so as a sacrificial act of leadership. Interviews on Tuesday with two dozen people who told Reuters/Ipsos pollsters they had backed the Wisconsin governor in the past showed they are far from settling on another candidate.

Appearing ashen and drained at a brief news conference on Monday, Mr Walker said the Republican presidential field was too focused on “how bad things are” rather than on “how we can make them better for everyone”. Of the group, seven said they were leaning toward retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, four liked real estate mogul Donald Trump, four leaned toward former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, two liked Florida Senator Marco Rubio and the rest were undecided. Many of their choices appeared to be driven by the candidates’ personalities rather than their positions. “Myself, I’m leaning toward Trump and my wife says she is leaning toward Rubio,” said Jim Clark, 79, a Walker supporter from New Berlin, Illinois. “Trump tells it like it is. Furthermore, it’s highly unlikely that anybody with a significant degree of support will agree to “clear the field” against Donald Trump by quitting as Walker has.

He reminds me of (former Democratic President) Harry Truman.” Beverly Fenton, 80, of Sumter, South Carolina, said she liked Walker at first but eventually found him wanting. Still, by framing his decision as the beginning of a “Stop Trump” movement that is “fundamentally important” to the party’s future, Walker does betray just how nervous Republicans have become over The Donald’s success. Ben Carson because he’s sincere and he’s not full of bombast,” said Alan Rowley, 73, of West Wendover, Nevada. “And I like Carly Fiorina because I think she’s really, really smart and I think she could take the challenge to (Democrat) Hillary Clinton.” Walker appealed to a mix of Christian conservatives and center-right establishment Republicans who admired his record of taking on public unions in Wisconsin and winning elections three times.

By April, the New York Times marveled that “Scott Walker’s Ties to Donors Put Him Ahead of Rivals” and noted the significance of Walker being anointed as the future beneficiary of Koch brother money. In June, a month before Page tallied Walker’s winning positives, Reuters was declaring him “the clear favorite of conservative voters” and NBC News was calling him “one of the strongest Republican candidates.” In early July, a piece in POLITICO Magazine predicted a Walker victory.

But he wilted on the national stage, struggling to demonstrate he had firm grasp of major policy issues, doing poorly in two televised debates and giving shifting answers to questions about illegal immigration. Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, Florida Senator Rubio and other candidates were making direct calls to some Walker donors asking for their support.

Chart Westcott, a Texas biotech investor who donated $200,000 to Walker’s fund-raising Super PAC, Unintimidated, said he was already fielding calls from other campaigns. He was geographically well-endowed, too, by virtue of his state’s proximity to Iowa, where the first caucuses will be held (and where he had lived in his youth, making him an honorary favorite son).

Walker had “Room to grow,” she wrote, unlike Trump, who was approaching his “ceiling.” If anybody correctly predict the breakdown of the Walker campaign in August, prior to the CNN debate and his disappearance in the polls, I missed it. But that doesn’t prevent journalists from routinely exercising their predictive skills in assessing the contours, strengths and weaknesses of campaigns. This brief mediation on the Walker coverage is intended to provide readers with a cautionary tale on how to read future stories—as they arrive—about how Donald Trump is finished and Hillary Clinton is inevitable. Any veteran observer of the Derby, the Belmont or your local pony track knows that a snapshot of the horses in the first curve or the backstretch doesn’t necessarily tell you that much about how the race will later end.

All summer long, journalists worked hard to collect Walker facts and then used those facts to speculate that he would remain (in Susan Page’s words) a contender. A journalistic ban on speculation might block faulty projections like Page’s piece about the “contenders,” but it would produce copy drier than salt. Perhaps news reports—especially presidential campaign news—should come with product liability notifications. “Nothing in this report should be read as a solid prediction of future,” the notification might say. “Our journalists have no access to functioning crystal balls.

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