Home/Daniel Larison/Nothing “Happened” to Walker, He’s Just a Weak Candidate

Nothing “Happened” to Walker, He’s Just a Weak Candidate

Ed Morrissey asks what happened to Scott Walker:

Of all the curiosities of the 2016 Republican presidential race — and there have been plenty — the quietest may also be the most difficult to answer. Over the last two months, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has gone from leading the field to barely making the debate cut.

Walker’s decline isn’t really all that puzzling. He was treated as a “top tier” candidate months before he announced his campaign, and during that time expectations continued to be raised despite Walker’s obvious lack of preparation on national and international issues. Once he started campaigning in earnest, the actual candidate did not compare well with the imagined version of Walker that so many of his fans had created from what little they knew about him from his tenure in Madison. He failed to live up to a version of himself that never existed, and the reality of Walker turned out not to be very interesting.

In other words, nothing “happened” to Walker. His weaknesses as a national candidate were there for all to see, but most Republicans preferred not to see them until Walker made them impossible to ignore. Many of his fans assumed that Walker’s poor grasp of foreign policy issues would be remedied over time, but instead he has just adopted the most hard-line positions he could find with no sign that he has thought seriously about any of them. It is often said that he has been hurt most by Trump’s presence in the race, but that is mostly because he has responded to Trump’s challenge in the most ham-fisted and clumsy way possible.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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