Monday, February 2, 2015

Scott Walker for President?

A friend asked me about what I thought Scott Walker's chances were in the upcoming Presidential election and I ended up writing a huge response. After I was finished, I figured I should probably cut and paste the response here, where nobody would read it or care. Situation normal!

Question: "So do you still think Walker won't be president?"


tl/dr:
I expect Walker to run, and he has a chance, but I think he is only a solid second tier candidate who will ultimately be a road bump for the more powerful GOP establishment candidates.


Full rant/opinion:
Walker's problem is that he comes across as far too ideological and not nearly as influential or charismatic as the first tier candidates: Jeb Bush, Rick Perry, and Chris Christie. Speaking of which...

FIRST TIER CANDIDATES:
Rick Perry and Jeb Bush are *far* better positioned to be the standard bearers for the establishment, and Jeb has the rallying effect of pulling droves of Christian conservatives immediately into his corner. (Let's not forget, the whole Terry Schiavo thing happened because of Jeb Bush, not George W. Bush.)

I think Christie by far has the best shot in the General, but I don't see him surviving the ideological purge during the primary. He is always going to be described by the other candidates as the guy who worked with Obama after Hurricane Sandy. If by some miracle he ends up getting the nomination, I'll bet money that Christie will crush Clinton in the general. I seriously doubt he'll get that far, though.

IMO, Perry and Bush are the front runners.

SECOND TIER CANDIDATES:
Assuming that Perry and Bush drop the ball and become unelectable, the GOP has a second tier of not-as-good candidates to draw from: Bobby Jindal, Scott Walker, and Marco Rubio. They are skilled politicians who have an appeal (such as ethnicity for Jindal and Rubio, union busting for Walker), but all of them are far too right leaning to survive the general election and have left a treasure trove of sound bites for Clinton to use to destroy them. IMO, these candidates are either don't have as much charisma and/or are far more polarizing to the general electorate than Perry, Bush or Christie.

While these guys could do well in the primaries, they will also be the primary target of the establishment wing of the GOP looking to avoid the destructive primary of 2012. Today, the Tea Party (which all of the second and third tier candidates depend on) has little influence on Washington and the money makers. Expect the Koch brothers to ultimately back the first tier candidates and help erase everyone else.

That said, Walker is probably the best Second tier candidate in the race. He was a governor of a blue state, and Americans typically choose governors for president. That said, compare the size of Wisconsin to Florida (Bush), Texas (Perry), and New Jersey (Christie). These are far more complex states, with a boatload of people and electoral votes. Bush really stands out here, because he could clinch Florida which could very well win the entire election due to that.

THIRD TIER CANDIDATES:
These are the guys running with a very small base of diehard followers, but ultimately will use the race as a PR stunt to either widen their small base (Rand Paul) or ultimately to secure another four years of talking head status on FOX or talk radio (Huckabee, Palin, Santorum, Cruz, etc.). All of these candidates can't even survive the GOP primary, but they can certainly damage the eventually primary winner in the eyes of the electorate.

Rand Paul is probably the best of the lot, but despite the small government rhetoric that Republicans like mouthing, they have never shown an ounce of support to libertarianism. If you run into one, just mention cutting back corporate welfare, military expenditures, and not invading countries due to "American Exceptionalism" and you'll see the GOP flock to big government. After all, they like big government when it pushes their agenda. Regardless, I expect Rand Paul to be a sideshow who won't gain any traction at all.


In summation, I think Walker has a shot, but it's a long shot. He's better positioned than most candidates to make a run for the office, but I don't see him overcoming the hurtle of the top tier candidates. They have far too much wealth, political clout, and influence for someone like Walker to derail their plans for the Oval Office. That said, if Christie flames out early and then Bush and Perry blow it in the debates, then Walker will have a great chance to position himself as the best "other" candidate. Everyone else, IMO, is just a sideshow distraction or one trick pony. He could pull it off, but I wouldn't bet on it.


Personally, I'm expecting Bush v. Clinton in 2016, and the lowest voter turnout for a presidential election ever seen, mainly because it's a battle between two royal families, rather than leaders that the American people give a shit about.

The song remains the same. :(