Can Scott Walker Defeat Donald Trump by Quitting?
Walker and Bush were supposed to be the ones with the best shot at the nomination when this wacky election cycle started, but one is out and the other is limping toward irrelevance. The Trump juggernaut hasn’t found an establishment Republican it can’t roll over yet.
So whom does Walker want to serve as anti-Trump? As of now, only Carson and Fiorina are nipping at Trump’s heels in the polls. Carson – an accomplished pediatric neurosurgeon! – has somehow turned out to be as ignorant as Trump. Fiorina is a Potemkin candidate: she owned the last debate, but her own record of failure at Hewlett Packard is her worst enemy. If she becomes a serious contender, as it looks like she might, there’s no way she’ll survive the scrutiny.
Ted Cruz isn’t an establishment candidate; he’s sucking up to Trump either to catch his supporters when he fails or to be his running mate if he doesn’t. Rand Paul is finding out his plan to mainstream his father’s nutty libertarian ideology isn’t a winning formula. Christie, Jindal, Huckabee, Santorum, Graham, Kasich – so far, all of them are non-factors.
Marco Rubio? It’s hard to imagine him surviving relentless attacks from Trump over immigration given the mood of the GOP primary electorate.
Walker’s right. Establishment Republicans need to choose a champion and get behind that person if they want a shot at taking down Trump. But his double-secret reverse-psychology plan of dropping out of the race to beat Trump has a fatal flaw: The enormous field of Republican candidates for president, the best of the best the GOP has to offer, just isn’t that impressive.
The donors, elected officials and party officials who make up the Republican elite are terrified of Donald Trump. They have pretty good reason to be; he’s an unpredictable madman who could destroy their party if he wins the nomination, and much more if he wins the presidency.
As unlikely as that latter scenario still seems, it’s not impossible. And Walker dropping out doesn’t really get the GOP any closer to beating Trump. The problem wasn’t that Scott Walker was still running – the problem is that everyone left isn’t any more appealing than he was.