The new “It” candidate in the Republican field is Scott Walker. Yes, the Scott Walker who narrowly escaped a recall effort in Wisconsin. His appeal is that he presided over successful efforts in Wisconsin to initiate reforms inspired by the Koch Brothers. Now he is leading the polls in Iowa, New Hampshire, and nationally. It’s way too early to declare anyone the likely winner (that goes for Hillary, too), but Walker’s taking the early lead bodes well for him in his first national campaign.
In Iowa, Walker’s lead is slim, but if you look deeper at the other numbers, he enjoys the broadest support. Only 7% think he is too conservative and only 3% think he is too moderate.
With high profile candidates like Jeb Bush and Chris Christie expected to run, it is significant that Walker is leading them this early. We can go down most of the GOP field and find weaknesses that will hinder their chance of winning the GOP nomination. I don’t think that is true with Scott Walker.
The fact that Chris Christie did his job and worked with President Obama after Hurricane Sandy will make it hard for him to win the nomination. Jeb Bush’s support for Common Core and immigration reform will interfere with his chances to win the nomination. And the rest of the cast of characters are either conspiracy nuts or delusional.
I do think it is good for Democrats that Walker leads Christie and Bush, because I think they would be the GOP’s strongest candidates in November. Although Christie’s comments on vaccinations show he is not ready for prime time, I think he is a gifted campaigner who can overcome a lot of baggage. Jeb Bush sounded like a Democrat in Detroit the other day when he talked about income inequality and didn’t blame it on laziness. He did make a statement that struck me as out of touch.
“The dream is alive in the college student driving an Uber car part-time to graduate debt-free,” Bush said. I understand the intent of his statement, but there aren’t many part-time jobs that could put a dent in college debt.
Scott Walker’s baggage is only baggage in the eyes of Democrats. The things that anger Democrats about Walker make him a hero to Republicans. Just a few of the things that make him a hero of the GOP and hated by Democrats:
- Assault on public sector employees - Scott Walker’s assault on public sector employees was launched with legislation called “Act 10.” We all know what happened after that. Democratic lawmakers left the state to avoid a vote on Act 10, and the people occupied the State Capitol for weeks protesting the legislation, which mainly modified the following areas: collective bargaining, compensation, pensions, health insurance, and sick leave of public employees. The courts went back and forth on the constitutionality of the law, but the Wisconsin Supreme Court upheld the law in 2014.
- Voter ID law - The Supreme Court blocked implementation of Walker’s Voter ID law for last November’s election, but the law is still on the books and could go into effect in future elections.
- Concealed weapons law - More guns … yup, that is exactly what we need. Walker signed a law allowing concealed carry in July of 2011.
- Walker said no to health care exchange - Wisconsin did not set up its own health care exchange. Many Republican governors decided they would show their opposition to Obamacare by not setting up exchanges. Wisconsin also refused to expand Medicaid coverage to its low income residents. This will be seen as a positive in the primaries. But if the Democrats play it right, it could hurt Walker in November of 2016. I would paint Walker as putting politics over what is good for the people.
That’s just a start. I could continue to list the things that will help Scott Walker in the primaries and hurt him in the general election.
Walker is not immune to the occasional gaffe: this past October in a debate he said, “You know, a lot has changed over the past four years. Think about it, we have the lowest employment rate we’ve had, well, since almost six years ago.” He is, however, an experienced campaigner.
A professional politician
While he’s a newcomer to campaigning for national office, Walker has run for office more times thanMitt Romney, Jeb Bush, Rand Paul, and Ted Cruz combined.
Walker quit college 25 years ago and launched a losing state legislative campaign. Walker has run 24 primary and general election races.
Walker is the definition of a career politician. His political career has been carefully engineered to lead him to this run for the White House. He is a ruthless campaigner who has left casualties along the way, including among his own backers. One Walker supporter was convicted for voting for him 5 times in the recall election, an election in which documents showed that Walker had pressured donors to funnel money through the conservative group “Club for Growth.”
Walker ran his first campaign for elective office four years before Jeb Bush and eight years before Marco Rubio. Walker was an elected official in Wisconsin 17 years before Rand Paul was elected in Kentucky and 19 years before Ted Cruz was elected in Texas. Walker was running even before party elders like Mike Huckabee, who won his first election in Arkansas in the summer of 1993 — a month after Walker was first elected to the Wisconsin Legislature.
Walker will not be as easy to beat as most of the GOP field, but the Democrats will have no problem firing up their base. We must take him more seriously than most of the field, but there is no reason to fear him in 2016. But if he wins …
- The Daily Call has an extensive free archive of stories on the real Scott Walker. If you have friends and families in other states who think Walker might be what Aerica needs, check out the stories we have, or send them the whole archive. If you have activist firrends in other states, send them the link to archive so they can begin to prepare for a possible Walker candidacy. Link Here