Home/Daniel Larison/What’s the Point of a Jindal Candidacy?

What’s the Point of a Jindal Candidacy?

Harry Enten is puzzled by Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal’s decision to run for president now instead of four years ago:

When you put it all together, it’s unclear why Jindal is running. He has little shot of winning, and other candidates are articulating his ideological views.

Enten has very thoroughly covered the reasons why Jindal’s bid makes no sense this year. Like Christie, Jindal is extremely unpopular in his own state. Oddly enough, this is the result of implementing an agenda shaped by his ambitions to be a presidential candidate. He’s hardly the only governor to have made poor and irresponsible fiscal decisions, but Jindal has done so out of the belief that it would propel him to higher office. As it turns out, it will propel him nowhere. Jindal also has the unusual profile of a former policy wonk who has chosen to adopt a pseudo-populist persona over the last several years. This puts him in the odd position of playing at being a demagogue when his main qualification was supposed to be his ability to understand and think through difficult policy problems.

I’d just add that the same thing that Enten said of Jindal could be said (and has been said) about most of the candidates running this year. As it is in Jindal’s case, it’s unclear why many of them are running, most have no realistic shot at winning the nomination, and most aren’t adding anything to the debate except more noise. Almost all of them are running as generic, party-line candidates, so it’s not as if most of them are representing constituencies or ideas that would otherwise be ignored. Before it’s all over, we’ll have more than a dozen candidates endorsing mostly identical policies, and for most of them it will have been a huge waste of time and effort. In Jindal’s case, it will have been even worse, since he ran his state’s finances into the ground to get his chance to be a losing candidate.

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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