Scott Walker's "regular guy" and anti-union stance made him a key contender for the GOP nomination in the early days of the race, but after Donald Trump entered the race in June, the brand of politics he was selling was no longer what Republicans wanted to buy, says Washington Post columnist Chris Cillizza in a postmortem analysis of the Wisconsin governor's attempt at the White House Tuesday.
"From the day Trump entered the race in mid-June, Walker struggled to find his footing in a race in which the "star" was no longer Jeb Bush — a relatively conventional opponent — but rather an entertainer who would say and do anything to draw attention," Cillizza writes in his column, "The Fix."
And that star kept rising, and while Trump went from an entertaining novelty to lead the presidential race, Walker's race continued to pale, said Cillizza, which became evident at the two debates that have already been held.
Walker "seemed diminished" when he was on the main stage with his rivals at the debates, said Cillizza, and not only Trump but former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, and New Jersey Gov. Christie all seemed "more presidential" than Walker.
Further, the Wisconsin governor, who was noted for his strong individual speeches, after the last debate complained about not getting enough speaking time, but Cillizza pointed out that "part of running for president is being able to butt your way into conversations and make moments," which Walker was not able to do.
And even though Trump's numbers have dipped after the CNN debate last week, a CNN/Opinion Research pol
l released Sunday gave the Wisconsin governor less than one percent of the national vote.
The problem, Cillizza said, was that Walker's appeal "was always an inch deep" and his rise came from just one speech at a conservatives' forum earlier this year and a resume that posed him as an "electable conservative."
However, his performance never matched what Republicans saw in his Iowa speech, and once Trump entered the race, voters quickly left Walker.
But refusing to adjust to Trump's challenge, or ignoring him is not a solution, said Cillizza, and hoping a bland candidate like Walker could be the one to rally Republicans "looks like a major mistake."
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