Forget what the polls say. Polls this far out are notoriously worthless in predicting Presidential nominees. Right now Scott Walker is sitting in the catbird’s seat for the 2016 Republican Presidential nomination.
Virtually everyone who is contemplating running for President in 2016 or who has ever contemplated running for President in their life went to Iowa last weekend but unless you were a regular reader of RedState you would have no idea that anyone other than Scott Walker delivered a speech. This is just one indication of how thoroughly and completely Walker has stolen the early show from the other nominees and sucked all the oxygen from the room.
But Walker’s domination of the first 2016 cattle call isn’t the reason that he has to be considered the favorite right now. The simple fact is that Walker is the only candidate in the field who has already won what could be considered two national elections.
Much has been made of the fact that Walker has already won essentially three tough elections. This is true, but it undersells how Walker’s electoral experience differs even from other candidates in the field who have successfully won bruising statewide elections like Chris Christie or [mc_name name=’Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’R000595′ ]. Running for elective office involves successive levels of difficulty – and more importantly, scrutiny – especially in terms of the media. A hard fought state legislature race involves less media poking and prodding than a tough U.S. House race, which involves less than a Senate race, and so on. As Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich so ably demonstrated in 2012, no one who hasn’t won office at least statewide should really attempt to run for President because the increased glare of a national race tends to wilt those who are not prepared for it.
Walker, on the other hand, has not just won statewide races in a blue state. He has already been through the gauntlet, at least twice, of being the number one national target of the Democrat apparatus. He has already felt the full fury of having Democrat and union operatives trail him around to every campaign stop, recording every word, and digging up every detail on his life possible. His recall election was especially impressive because he was, nationwide, the only Republican target on the ballot at the time it occurred. He has already faced bogus prosecutions by politically motivated prosecutors and every other government hack under the sun.
This speaks well to Walker’s ability to survive a general election, sure, but it also bodes well for Walker’s ability to survive what promises to be the most bruising Republican primary in history. In a campaign where the candidates will be throwing unprecedented money against each other and the media will be doing their part to contribute, Walker stands head and shoulders above the rest in his ability just to survive. And as we saw in 2012, the proven ability to be the last man standing is the surest way to win the Republican nomination nowadays.
Regardless of the early polls and money races, Walker has to be considered the presumptive favorite at this point, until and unless he makes a damaging mistake.