[intro-text size=”25px”]Roughly four months into the primaries and the writing on the walls for some candidates is as legible as it is grim. In the coming weeks, expect to see a handful of lower tier candidates shutter the windows and pack it in. [/intro-text]

Far too early in the race at this point, none of the other candidates are in the process of short-listing their VP picks just yet. This means those who bottom out before the Iowa primary will have no one to concede to. By the time tickets begin pairing off, stalled-out candidates will have lost all momentum and will be considered left for dead. These are the shifting sands through which Texas Governor Rick Perry suddenly finds himself slipping through. No longer able to pay his staff, the Perry campaign is running entirely on volunteers and IOU’S at this point, hoping his super-PAC donors have kicked in enough to carry him to the first primary election where a good showing could hypothetically encourage more eleventh-hour donors to resuscitate his campaign. But that is a long haul to an unlikely possibility, leaving Perry, and presumably Gilmour and Jindel, without a life boat to rescue their drowning campaigns.

Several of the candidates in the “snowball-in-hell” division stumped at a Nevada rally over the weekend. They wore cowboy boots and dungarees as per the Basque party theme, because, really, what choice do you have when everyone else is dressing up for the junior high prom? In Iowa, the rest of the pack attended its State Fair, the obligatory precursor to the state’s early and consequential primary next February. It is a special kind of bottomless pandering that takes place in a primary race, and there is none greater witnessed than amid the Great Midwest­­—that blue-collar, wide-waisted expanse of rolling, socially conservative, agrarian plains that billionaires have no reasonable place setting foot in. It was the same fairgrounds last election that brought Mitt Romney low when the crowd heckled his “corporations are people” stance.

Hillary Clinton came into Iowa off the recent endorsement of five-term Iowa Senator Tom Hawkins. Hawkins was at her side at the fairgrounds when he said the infusion of humanity in the Clinton campaign was a refreshing change and a marked improvement from her 2008 bid, whose failure he attributed to her inability to be as personable as he knows her capable of being. This is a blunt assessment, but also true and demonstrably valuable. Hillary Clinton has the obvious potential of being an incredibly successful President but it is the same calculated efficiency that serves as a crippling double standard, leaving her tainted with an air of unapproachable detachment. Attempting a more accessible persona this time around, Hillary is determined to press the flesh anywhere within fifty miles of a camera. A photo release followed her visit, featuring the candidate standing in line among the masses, double-fisting a pork-chop-on-a-stick and a jumbo lemonade. Clinton can win the war of photo-ops and superficial social media cameos if the general election leans heavy on the person rather than the platform, but there are few other GOP prospects, aside from perhaps Rubio, with an ounce of even pre-constructed likable personality that can affect a casual smile for more than two seconds without appearing like a glass-eyed automaton gone haywire.

During his brief Iowa appearance, Donald Trump offered little to reporters growing conditioned to his constant aversion to specifics. On paper, Trump reads as a spectacular orator but only in the fashion that affords Mike Tyson the same praise. Tyson’s in-ring boasts were every bit as bombastic and thuggish as the GOP frontrunner’s running commentary on immigrants, women, the President, and other world leaders, but at least Tyson had the excuse of constant blows to the head.

Trump ended the short Q&A by wandering away from the microphones and cameras while in mid-thought before staggering into a ring of children and asking, “Now, who wants a ride on my helicopter? Where are your parents?”

Which, taken at face value, is one hell of an authentic campaign slogan for the Don.

  • Content Strategist, novelist and prolific roustabout who drinks entirely too much coffee. You can find him on Twitter @therealadamdodd

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