Republican candidate Scott Walker is going from presidential hopeful to presidential hopeless.
Walker’s popularity has plummeted in recent weeks. In Iowa, a key early-primary state, Walker was polling in first place in July, and is now ranked 10th among Republican candidates. And after a dismal performance in this past week’s Republican debate, a new CNN poll shows less than half of 1% of Republicans in favor of the union-busting Wisconsin governor nationwide.
Realizing that his campaign is in tail-spin mode, Walker has decided to cancel multiple events in important states such as Michigan and California, turning his focus exclusively to Iowa and South Carolina instead, in a last-ditch attempt to gain a victory in the early primaries.
Walker was scheduled to speak to thousands of Republicans at an event on Mackinac Island in Michigan, but twice canceled his appearance. He said that he was unable to make it to the event because he was attending another Republican forum in South Carolina. But his Republican opponent, Jeb Bush in fact attended both events without a problem. Walker also attempted to blame the weather for his cancellation.
In an interview with MSNBC, Walker tried to play off his sinking popularity as reflecting mere fluctuations in the polls, saying that it was “just about shaking things up.” He also cited the fact that Ronald Reagan was 8 points behind in the polls days before the presidential election. But 8 points is not the same as 24 points, and Scott Walker is not Ronald Reagan.
Michigan and California are important primary states, with far more delegates than Iowa or South Carolina. Thus, Walker’s decision to ignore them can only reflect panic in his campaign. Apparently, the hope is that a victory in one of the earliest-voting states would help launch him to national popularity. But this is seeming more and more impossible, and without a national focus, he is doomed to fade into the background against candidates like Donald Trump and Carly Fiorina, who enjoy broad national support among Republicans despite having absolutely no political experience.
Walker had the least amount of speaking time at the last Republican debate, and was only asked three direct questions. During the debate, Donald Trump joked that he “only respond[s] to people that register more than 1% in the polls.” If this is true, then it would appear that Walker and Trump are no longer on speaking terms.