Scott Walker

The Scott Walker Campaign Disaster

New national poll puts him at no measurable support.


Gage Skidmore / Foter

[Update, 6 p.m.—Walker is ending his campaign as of this evening.] 

The biggest disaster in the GOP presidential race, by far, is the Scott Walker campaign.

After a breakout speech at an Iowa forum in January, Walker quickly vaulted into the top tier of Republican candidates. By March, the Wisconsin governor was tied for second-most-likely to win the nomination in one bookmaker's odds, and he was polling just five points behind Hillary Clinton in nationwide matchups—better than other GOP contenders. A profile in The Miami Herald opened with the declaration that he "may be the biggest threat to the presidential ambitions of Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton."

Walker continued to perform well throughout the summer, when he made his run official. As Donald Trump rose to the top of the pack, Walker was close on his heels, pulling into second place in late July. At the beginning of August, The New Yorker's Amy Davidson looked at Walker's standing and suggested that if Trump started to fade, Walker might be the best positioned to take the lead—and the eventual nomination.

Just two months ago, in other words, looked like a very real contender for the prize, and perhaps even the shadow frontrunner.

Today, he looks like the GOP field's biggest loser. A CNN/ORC poll released yesterday—the first national poll since last week's GOP debate—found Walker with literally no measurable support. The candidate received an asterisk, meaning that less than 1 percent of those polled said they supported him. 

This isn't the first piece of bad news the Walker campaign has received. Nationally, he's been nose-diving since the first debate. He's also been sliding rapidly in Iowa, a state he once led, and where his campaign has focused most of its resources.

The extraordinarily poor showing in the CNN poll may prove to be an outlier, but even still, the overall trend is clear. And given that Walker's campaign is already showing signs of organizational weakness, with once-loyal donors sending money to other GOP candidates, and a whisper campaign amongst supporters pushing for Walker to fire his campaign manager, this dreadful result may be enough to kill Walker's campaign permanently.

Even if Walker's campaign struggles forth, it's hard to see him having much chance at winning the nomination. It'll be a zombie campaign, shuffling onward but with no real life left.

What went wrong? I cataloged a number of Walker's specific missteps earlier this month, most of which involved aggressive pandering, shameless flip-flopping, or a failure to clearly articulate and stick to his positions.

But the larger issue, I think, is that Scott Walker the candidate has not in any meaningful way lived up to the promise of Scott Walker the governor. Walker first rose to national prominence after his successful showdown with Wisconsin's public sector unions, and his subsequent victory in a recall election and then a second-term reelection campaign in a state that went for Barack Obama twice. The Iowa speech in January that launched his candidacy into the top tier was built around that showdown; its essential pitch was that a Walker presidency would bring the same mix of political strength and big-ticket policy wins. 

But the Walker campaign approached both politics and policy awkwardly, in ways that didn't live up to that initial promise. Walker gave a good speech, but he didn't vary it much, and he had trouble going off script or answering questions on a variety of national issues. He struggled to stand out in debates for similar reasons.

On the policy front, Walker got tripped up by news-cycle shiny objects—immigration and birthright citizenship, the Iran deal, ethanol mandates, abortion, and gay marriage—that had little or no connection to the governing record he was supposedly running on, and that other candidates were better suited to tackle. At the same time, he was slow to roll out the sort of big-ticket domestic policy reforms that should have been the core of his campaign, and that his initial rise seemed to portend, and he didn't promote them effectively when he did. It wasn't until last week, for example, that he put forth a plan to reform federal public sector unions—plans he barely mentioned at the debate.

Walker, like all of the GOP candidates with conventional political backgrounds, has been hurt by Donald Trump's candidacy and by the wider interest in non-traditional candidates. But he's done himself no favors with the shallow, inept campaign he's run. His rapid initial rise was powered by the promise of a hard-charging, policy-reform driven campaign that, in the end, never really materialized. That's what people saw in Scott Walker back in January. It's what made him stand out initially, and what his supporters hoped his campaign would eventually offer. It never did. The Scott Walker who did emerge, meanwhile, couldn't compete on the hot-button issues he chose to engage on. 

So maybe it's no surprise that almost no one supports Walker at this point—unlike Walker the governor, Walker the candidate has given almost no one any reason to support him.


NEXT: Ben Carson Is Worried About Secret Muslims Running for President

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  1. Walker seemed legit at 1st glance, but later turned out to be a standard cop-sucking NSA-shilling drug warrior. So fuck him.

    1. Yep. We might as well bring back Bush II


        1. He was Bush III – GW’s 3rd and 4th terms.

  2. I’ve been very disappointed. I thought he had a good chance to get nominated. How odd that governing a state and facing down public-employee unions turned out to be easier than have a good campaign for president.

    1. To be fair, union-busting and presidential-campaigning are probably divergent acumens for the most part.

    2. See also: Chris Christie

      1. No, Christie said something nice about Obama that one time back in 2012, and a bunch of delusional conservatards convinced themselves that Romney would have won the election had Christie not done so. He’s been in the downward spiral since then.

  3. He should shit his pants louder about Muslims. That’s what the market demands these days.

    1. No, no, Warty. Only about 14-year-old teenage boy Muslims who connivingly build clocks (or did he???). That’s the pants-shitting that’s sure to get him supporters.




          2. Actually, the current theory is that the PR-professional Father is more likely to be the ‘mastermind’.

            1. Is that supposed to make it less retarded?

              1. Admit it, Epi: you got snookered by a PR stunt.


                    1. I love the fact that you are scared shitless over a 14-year-old nerd. There’s a sublime hilarity to that which is a rare find. Thanks for shitting your pants in the funniest possible way.

                    2. Thanks for shitting your pants in the funniest possible way.

                      Ask him about Ebola…

                    3. Oh, the Ebola pants-shitting was epic. Of course, not a peep now. Which is what makes it all so hilarious.


                    4. Christ, what an asshole you can be. No, about Ebola, I just thought a bit more concern was warranted than the official “Nothing to worry about” story. I never predicted an apocalypse or started wearing a face mask or anything.

                    5. Bullshit. Find me one thing I wrote that counts as “pants-shitting.” You can’t. I never made predictions of doom, I simply expressed concern over a disease that was killing thousands (including scores of healthcare workers who are supposed to know better) and was skeptical about the “nothing to see here” statements coming from The Authorities.

                      So put up or shut up. Link the comment in this thread, and let’s see whether the other commenters consider it “pants-shitting” or not.

                    6. It’s bizarre that you consider saying: “This is a PR stunt” to be “pants-shitting.” No, it’s having a bullshit detector.

              2. Well, professional Victims and Grievence mongers might be offensively dumb to the sensibilities of the people who wander yonder, but they do have a cunning streak when it comes to playing the system like a fiddle.

                I find the pre-existing support from CAIR as well as the multiple incidents of bringing reassembled devices to school (culminating in building a ‘clock’ that was designed to resemble the ‘how to spot an IED’ cop training device) elements that make me want more information rather than dismissing the possibility that they wanted to instigate a high-profile over-reaction out of hand.

                1. And if they did want to incite a high profile incident what better way to give him what they want than to have him arrested on obviously retarded charges.

                  Either way you look at it the actions of the school and the cops are retarded

                  1. Everyone can be an asshole…

                2. Dad had a pre-existing beef with the mayor due to her refusal to approve of a Sharia law tribunal for dispute resolution between Muslims, and his recent news conference focused on the mayor. This whole thing smells like a set-up.

                  1. This whole thing smells like a set-up.

                    Even so, the school/cops handled the situation pretty poorly. Almost…too poorly…

                  2. Do you think he might have been involved in the Kennedy assassination in some way?

                    1. Do you think he might have been involved in the Kennedy assassination in some way?

                      Duh, clearly he’s the person who invented the time machine that allowed Lister and company to recruit JFK to be the gunman on the grassy knoll.

                    2. Hang on, are you saying that JFK was a looper?

              3. I am reserving judgement on this one. I do think the media tripping over themselves to make him a hero is a bit nauseating.

            2. The one and true mastermind is Matt Welch, the mastermind of Reason. OBEY.

    2. I thought he was crowd-sourcing his pants-shitting?

  4. Pack it in, you pathetic Drug Warrior. And take Narco Rubio with you…

    1. …and Christy.

      1. Forgot about him…or perhaps I was just suppressing the unpleasant memory that he exists.

      2. They can’t. Not enough room in the clown car for that ass.

        1. And that’s after weight-loss surgery!

  5. I think a large number of the voters are tired of being lied to. They are conscious that candidates manipulate them, that once they have voted, or sent money, the candidate ceases to really care about them.

    These voters want someone who strikes them as honest. Who won’t bullshit them. Their compass for discriminating between bullshit artists and truth-tellers is generally pretty flawed, in that what they are looking for is someone who will say what they believe in their hearts is true.

    When it comes to public policy, most people are full of shit. They don’t understand how the law works. They don’t understand economics. They don’t understand the military arts. They don’t understand what is happening in the world today.

    On all of those subjects they have strong opinions, and they are waiting for the guy who convinces them that he sincerely holds those same idiotic opinions. So all they get are smart manipulators and honest nutjobs.

    1. I think a large number of the voters are tired of being lied to

      The American voter will never tire of being told how good they look in that dress and how tacky and slutty their opponents’ clothes are.

      I’m sorry, but how much free shit did you promise me and how soon will you punish my political enemies? That’s all I want to know.

    2. They have strong but different opinions, so don’t those vectors cancel?

  6. He should return to his union busting roots.
    Deploy the Pinkertons!

    1. I give you the next Republican Secretary of Labor!

    2. Not so simple. Read Red Harvest?

  7. Walker = boring white guy

    When ol Willy encouraged the Donald to run, I bet he could have never imagined at the time just how successful he would be.

    The cult of the Donald can only be partially overcome in a couple of ways.

    1. You’re a back guy.

    2. You’re a woman.

    Otherwise, the cult of the Donald cannot be toppled.

    The Donald will be nominated and he’ll probably pick George Zimmerman or Jared Fogle as running mate. They’ll probably dress up as Nazis or KKK for the debates.

    1. I am a bit taken aback myself at Trump’s success. I knew voters were stupid, but Goddamn, I underestimated how stupid. Or maybe I underestimated how unappealing the other candidates are.

      1. I underestimated that the voting public would apparently find Rand so unfavorable.

        Figure at this point if Trump isn’t the nom, it’ll end up being Jeb. In which case Hillary has an easy path to victory.

        1. Trump is the Jeb backup. Team Hillary had it all figured out, get Jeb nominated by the GOP and cruise to easy victory. When it became apparent that Jeb wasn’t looking too good, Bill made the call to the Donald. Now with Donald having a comfy lead for the GOP, victory is once again assured for Cankles. Once the GOP nomination is locked up, the Donald will go full on loony mode and throw the election.

          1. So this guy, renowned for his giant ego, is throwing himself under the short bus for Hilary’s benefit and virtually no conceivable benefit to himself. Holy shit, you should write conspiracy novels this is brilliant.

          2. Except you’re assuming that Barry doesn’t throw a monkey wrench into the whole thing and have her charged for mishandling classified data and half a dozen other crimes over her emails.

            Hell assume smiling joe really doesn’t want the job. Barry waits till a week before the convention, lets leak a bombshell of proof that she committed numerous felonies and then allows the FBI to arrest her.

            With no other viable candidates to take Hillaries place a groundswell of supporters clammor for Michelle Obama to receive the nomination

          3. Once the GOP nomination is locked up, the Donald will go full on loony mode and throw the election.

            At this point, I think it’s increasingly unclear that full loony mode would cost him the election.

        2. You think Hillary has an “easy path to victory” over Jeb?! Hillary can’t even get her own party to like her very much, and Jeb is looking like the most reasonable Bush so far (which is a depressing thing to say).

      2. maybe I underestimated how unappealing the other candidates are.

        I think this may be the case. I’m not sure I could bring myself to cast a vote for Trump, even in the main election, but the stark contrast with the reprocessed, unseasoned oatmeal candidates that dominate the field makes me understand why people would flock to his banner even before the unfiltered speech.

        1. The GOP establishment, its donor class, and its PA flacks at NRO and elsewhere have no one but themselves to blame for Trump pissing in their Wheaties. Ultimately, they’ll be able to kill his candidacy because of how the primaries are structured, in that there should still be enough “splitter” candidates to give their preferred guys, Bush and Rubio, a better chance at getting the “winner take all” delegates. Fiorina won’t be allowed to maintain her standing once she’s done the job of shoving Trump down to single digits, but she’ll probably get a nice Cabinet post offered as compensation.

          But in the end it won’t matter. They’ve pissed off too many of their rank and file the last 15 years or so, and they won’t have any stomach for another milquetoast, make-nice candidate. The GOP’s only hope is that these voters hate Hillary just enough to show up to vote against her, not for their milquetoast.

      3. The problem we have is not that politicians think the majority of the voting public are stupid. It’s that they know this.

        So you have your rabble rouser on one side getting people all worked up by just seemingly ignoring the needs of American citizens and pandering to illegal aliens. This is purely intentional in my opinion. Obama could care less about migrants, he just wants to stir some shit. Then you have the Donald come in on the other side, well at least posing to be on the other side, and stirring the shit a little more by attacking immigrants and talking about building a wall. This keeps the idiot public distracted while the corruptocrats in DC steal and plunder away what’s left of the countries wealth.

        So now we have a candidate leading on one side who’s someone that no one likes and is a known crook, while on the other side, you have a fake candidate behaving like a deranged maniac, leading the pack.

        They have us right where they want us, and it’s too easy. Not sure how things get better at this point.

        1. So now we have a candidate leading on one side who’s someone that no one likes

          By definition, if you’re leading, you’re someone that a plurality of the people asked like better than the other alternatives at this particular moment.

          1. “Least shit of all available options” does not mean you’re “liked”

            1. In a zero-sum political system it sure does smell like a mandate, though.

      4. Much simpler: people hate politicians, and Trump and Carson don’t come across as politicians, therefore scream and shout for them.

        But they also have no consistent substance, and the public will notice and tire of them and go back to picking “real” politicians.

        This is why Fiorina is starting to rise in the polls. She too is not a politician like the real ones, but it took Trump’s insults to draw attention to her.

        I see all this as a good prognosis for Rand Paul. Eventually the public will latch on to him as not a real politician, but not a shrill loon like Trump or Carson, and not a failed business CEO like Fiorina.

        1. But Rand is the one guy who stands out from all the other GOP candidates. Which is why he can’t win the nomination. He’s anti-war, anti-drug war, concerned about mass incarceration and police brutality. That is not GOP stances, it’s the opposite of. To remain popular in the GOP you have to beat some war drums and beat em hard. You have to be tough on crime. Sorry Rand, you’re a libertarian, not a Republican. Most conservatives I know laugh when I say I support Rand. They think he’s a liberal.

          1. But Rand is the one guy who stands out from all the other GOP candidates

            He only looks that way to you because you were paying attention to him before the cycle. To the primary voters, he’s no more distinct than George Pataki because he demonstrates as little charisma and lack of stage presence. They’re both part of the gray background smear of excess candidates with no chance.

            1. I don’t think that’s true. Rand has bad favorability ratings, which indicates that Republicans know who he is and don’t like him, not that they’re not really aware of him like Pataki.

      5. I have come across a good number of (seemingly) down-to-earth, hardworking salt-of-the-earth types who support Trump. The chorus is the same – “He’s not a politician. He means what he says. He really will change things “

        1. And I think they’re wrong.

          But you can’t blame them for at least hoping that Trump will.

      6. I blame reality TV. I mean, 11 candidates debate, a couple get voted off the island, one wins promotion from the little kids table. Is this not reality TV? Are they not here to entertain us?

    2. 1. You’re a back guy.

      It’s true, the GOP needs to find someone with some ass if they want a lock on the White House. I’m talking real junk-in-the-trunk.

      1. LA face and an Oakland booty

  8. OT: I found a picture of shriek.

    1. I can picture that as being him.

      1. I don’t know. We need a picture of the top of that guy’s head, then Obama can confirm it for us.

        1. I thought Shrieks head was up Obama’s ass.. Oh wait.. I see what you did there…

          1. Fun fact: shriek got his own name tattooed on his lower back so that Obama would know who he was.

    2. “When he wanted to extend their two-night stay a third night, Swindler said he called the front desk around 11:30 p.m. to see if there was a room available on Sunday evening. After being put on hold for 15 minutes, he hung up in frustration.

      When he called back, Swindler says he jokingly griped about the long wait on hold.

      “I told them, ‘I could have built a meth lab in the length of time it’s taken you guys to answer my question,'” Swindler — who is currently on disability — told The Huffington Post.

      A short time later, deputies from the Orange County Sheriff’s Dept. and members of Disney security came to Swindler’s hotel room to question him about the meth lab.

      Swindler has tried to tell his side of the story to the media and on YouTube, hoping to get park officials to reconsider the lifetime ban.

      “This is not who Disney is,” he said. “I’m writing a long letter to the higher-ups, and I think they will realize the lower-downs are making a mistake.”

      This is not who Disney is. Uh huh. He probably thinks Mickey Mouse is running the company.

      On fear the walking dead last night, while soldiers are kidnapping his family and beating some of them, Cliff Curtis’s character pleads with the soldiers to allow him to talk to their commander with whom he thinks he has a special rapport. Classic. “When the king finds out what you guys are doing you are going to be sorry!”.

      I will take my chances with the Zombies and never, ever set foot on Disney property.

      1. Assuming the stranger on the phone has a sense of humor is a bad idea these days.

      2. Something stinks in this story. What kind of front desk clerk hangs up on this guy’s call and then immediately goes all drug-warrior on him? I have had this job many times and believe me, they don’t give a shit about this stuff. More likely he would knock on the guy’s door trying to score some.

      3. “Swindler — who is currently on disability”

        Not too disabled for Disney World, apparently.

        1. I wish I had a dollar for every potential client that is either “on disabilty” or “waiting on my disability” when the subject of paying me comes up.

          1. I wish I had a dollar for every potential client that is either “on disabilty” or “waiting on my disability” when the subject of paying me comes up.

            Then you’d make more than they wanted to part with?

        2. That’s what he needed the extra day for, obviously. He couldn’t finish packing up to leave in the available time.

      4. Why didn’t everyone in that family change their name long ago?

  9. shameless flip-flopping, or a failure to clearly articulate and stick to his positions.

    This is pretty much the main reason I stopped paying any attention to him. A change from a position held years ago I can understand, but espousing mutally exclusive positions on the same issue over the course of a few weeks while running for office garners contempt. If you can’t even pretend to have convictions, why should I entertain the notion of voting for you?

    1. All this, plus he was pretty much awful in the last debate.

      He had a Nixon flop-sweat going and failed to do anything else memorable in the debate.

  10. Walker is a big fish in a small pond, totally out of his depth on a national stage.

    How pathetic was it that he tried to sell facing down protesters as credible foreign policy experience?


      1. Without the Northern Wall, we can never know!

        1. This is Trump’s real mistake. If he said he would build a wall to the north, he’s assured victory.

        2. Until we can capture Rufus and burn him as the King beyond the Wall, we’ll never be safe.

          1. In this analogy, are the Quebecois like Thenns?

    2. those protesters were the looniest fuckers on earth

  11. Americans are shallow. Having a droop eye and a bald spot the size of the ozone hole aren’t helping matters.

    1. It’s true, that’s why they gravitate toward the putty-faced jabberwock who despite being a billionaire can’t afford a convincing rug.

      1. I’m pretty sure that’s a combover.

      2. But enough about Hillary…

        1. The most convincing evidence i’ve seen that Trump’s hair is what God gave ‘im is that Donnie Jr. has exactly the same coif. Poor bastard.

          1. Just what a cyborg would say!

    2. You think it’s just Americans?

      1. I can’t really speak for Jamaica.

  12. What this country needs is more hope and change.

    1. That’s what Biden will be for!


  13. You would think David and Charles Koch could have done something for Scotty.

    1. You would be tempted to think that if you were an unthinking cretin who thinks all vaguely right leaning people are part of some giant Koch conspiracy to rule the world through insidious individualism. Where did the Kochs touch you?

      1. It’s gone through the grapevine that the Kochs were strong supporters of him when he ran for governor.
        They are all for cheap labor and union busting. Mr. Walker is on the same page. Accept of course, for the Police Union. Somebody with guns is going to have to stop that mob at city hall you know.

        Where did the Kochs touch you?

        I don’t have a union job and luckily for me, I’m over 50 and lived during the golden age of America, paid off my mortgage, have a buck-or-two, so I’m probably going to be a key benefactor of these policies. I feel sorry for the slobs today that have to work for that nigger-pay no-benefit part-time job. But they can always pull themselves up by their bootstraps.

        David Koch is giving away $500m towards sloan-kettering cancer center in NYC. So he’s not all that bad.

        1. Christ, what an asshole.

        2. So those big meanies didn’t touch you? And your problem with them is what then? That they support things you don’t? THOSE CRIMINALS. They shouldn’t be allowed to support things that some itchy cunt doesn’t support. That’s basically what the leftists Koch fetish boils down to. That’s for making that even more clear.

          1. The progtard opposition to Citizens United is actually starting to make sense to me now. They are too vapid to do any critical thinking themselves, instead merely reading off the MSNBC and Vox talking points as gospel truth. They assume that all Americans are exactly like them in their inability to give ideas even superficial analysis. Thus, they are afraid that of conservatives being allowed a platform as large as that afforded to the traditional leftist bastions of Hollywood, most major newspapers, all network news outlets, and all non-Fox cable news channels. Therefore, scream KKKOCHTOPUS!!11!!! every time a rich person has ideas different from progtardery.

            1. We’re not even talking about giving ‘the Right’ as big of a platform as the left has. We’re talking about building a platform 1/100th the size and so far away from the most people’s view that it might as well be built on the moon. But it’s basically murder if non-leftoids get to have any influence whatsoever.

        3. nigger-pay no-benefit part-time job

          For some reason people seem to be oblivious to the racism that motivates much of the union movement, even though the one country where they took over and ran the place was the poster child of extreme racism.

          1. If there’s one thing the Left is good at, it’s sweeping the monstrous hatred that birthed it under the rug.

        4. nigger-pay no-benefit part-time job

          And here is the world that your generation built laid bare for all to see. You have nothing but contempt for real working people. You sneer at the things your parents and grandparents had to do to make it possible for you to earn a comfortable living. And you wonder why the world crumbles around you.

        5. You sound familiar.

  14. So…his promises weren’t as good as his record…& that’s his problem?

    1. I would say that whatever Walker’s record was, his behavior as a candidate – making all sorts of promises that were mutually contradictory, made him look like a deranged weasel.

      I believe they call that in politics snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

      1. I really don’t see what’s so hard about remaining rhetorically and logically consistent to the principles you supposedly support. But I can also see why it’s so extraordinarily hard for professional politicians to do this; because it’s hard to convincingly lie about the things you understand and believe in, even and especially if, you are a pathological liar.

        1. Professional politicians only care about power. The rest is just details.

        2. *”things you don’t understand”

  15. So much for that:

    The New York TimesVerified account ?@nytimes 4m4 minutes ago
    Breaking News: Scott Walker is said to be quitting presidential race

    1. I did NOT see that coming.

  16. DaDa DaDa
    DaDa DaDa
    DaDa DaDa

    Hey Hey Hey

    Gooooood Byeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee !!!

  17. lol that dude just looks like a major tool!

  18. “But the larger issue, I think, is that Scott Walker the candidate has not in any meaningful way lived up to the promise of Scott Walker the governor.”

    Walker only avoided indictment because the Koch brothers bought the election of three right wing WI state supreme court judges who let Walker ooze out from under serious campaign violations then required the destruction of all relevant documents in that case. That’s the promise of Scott Walker, Governor. And to date on the national stage, boy, has he delivered.

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