The running theme of this early Republican primary has been one of catch-up, specifically to Donald Trump. Trump has held consistent in polls among potential voters and maintained an average of around 33% favorability. This percentage held true in the respected Monmouth University polls that came out earlier this week. The biggest surprise in these results concerns another novice politician, neurosurgeon Ben Carson. He has since upset Jeb Bush for the runner-up position behind Trump at around 18%. Perhaps most surprising, if the race came down between Trump and Carson, poll results show that it is Carson who runs away with it at 55% to Trump’s 36%, based on subsequent polling questions. He gained this rise through keeping his mouth shut, staying in the background and letting the circus tent fall down around the rest of the bickering clowns. Evidence of this can be found in the conversely drowning campaign of Bush. The once presumed frontrunner has been backsliding since he thought himself capable of taking on Trump mano a mano. He has fallen in polls to a humble 8%, down from a sustainable 13%. This ties him for third place with Ted Cruz, someone who gamblers would not waste an ante on.
That said, it has been an even worse August for Union buster, Scott Walker. He is being branded with a terminal case of flip-flopping, a diagnosis few candidates can survive. Treading water in third place at 11%, Walker has now dropped to a meager 3%. News site, Politico, interviewed several Iowa Republicans on the condition of anonymity in regards to the stalled Walker campaign. “He can’t seem to find his way on any given issue with a handheld GPS,” the Iowan continued, “He’s been on all three sides of every two sided issue.” Craig Robinson, editor of the Iowa Republican website went further saying the Walker campaign was in a “freefall”. It did not help when Walker stumbled trying to walk back his comments on building a wall on the Canadian border (and no, that is not an Onion headline). As he backslides, Walker has attempted some stupendous acrobatics, flipping from one opinion to the next, desperately trying to find the pulse of a nation of which he is just not in sync with, evidenced by his stammering non-answers seen in several recent interviews. Under anonymity, one of Walker’s fundraisers admitted to CNN’s Tom LoBianco, “There’s no doubt he has had some gaffes that have not helped his cause. It has not been a good couple of weeks.”
So what is a party to do when their frontrunner all but assures their demise in a general election? Well, here’s where things go from interesting to downright bizarre. You remember Mitt Romney, you know, that Mormon millionaire and three-time loser? So devoid of leadership, Romney is now being touted as the elder statesman of the GOP and is being brought in to consult on ways to topple Trump. He is also being courted by the candidates for his considerable financial support. He has met with nearly the entire GOP field since the beginning of the primaries, all but Trump, whose caustic insults run counter to Romney’s ‘milk and cookies’ ethos. There has been a surge of people on the Right calling for a Romney 2016 ticket to serve as savior of a party potentially going the way of the Whigs if they cannot find a way to connect to a country that is drifting further from their hard line base.
If there is any consolation for the dwindling campaigns of Bush and Walker it is in the rest of the mediocre field that trails behind them. Texas governor, Rick Perry is left with only 1% support in the same Monmouth poll. He stopped paying his last aide earlier this week as his campaign is officially bankrupt and now hemorrhaging staffers. Israel cheerleader, Mike Huckabee is stuck at a useless 4%, edging just ahead of John Kasich and Chris Christie who share 2% a piece. Pataki, Santorum, and Jindel are all sharing a whopping 0%. Expect all of the aforementioned ‘candidates’ polling at or below 4% to bow out or to be rendered obsolete soon after the Iowa primary neuters them. I predict that after Iowa Trump will start slipping in the polls bit by bit. Carson will eventually fizzle and despite his sluggish campaign so far, Bush is still my odds on favorite with Rubio being a potential dark horse spoiler if he can start making adequate waves.