Donald Trump has so shattered the structure of the 2016 GOP presidential primary race that it can be difficult to make any solid argument about just who has been hurt the most. But not that difficult. It’s very, very hard to argue that it’s not Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. His campaign is straight up gutted and at this point I have serious doubts that he’ll even make it to the first contest in Iowa, let alone win it, which was critical to his strategy.
Take the just-released ABC/WaPo poll. It has Trump’s highest number yet at a stunning 33% nationwide. He’s followed by Ben Carson at 20%, who now looks like a legitimate second place, not just a momentary fluke in a single state. Jeb is at a new low at 8%. But Walker is at 2% support. 2%. Which is to say that he’s running behind Huckabee and Kasich at 3%, tied with Fiorina at 2%, and one point ahead of Rick Perry who just had to leave the race.
Walker has fallen from 13% to 2% since July. That’s about the best example of a full-blown collapse of a campaign as I’ve ever seen.
So now, in an effort to regain his footing, he’s promising to “wreak havoc” when he gets to Washington and end unions in the federal government. Good luck with that. The labor movement, particularly in the public sector, is reeling in the face of a new court case which the Supreme Court seems likely to use to get union funding. But as a political matter, I don’t see this helping Walker at all – mostly it serves to underline, drive home, and highlight the level of Walker’s desperation and panic.
When Trump first got into the race, I thought he posed the biggest threat to Ted Cruz, who was then campaigning as the guy who would go further and say the stuff the other candidates would not. But Cruz’s numbers have actually gone up.