If he decides he’s going to run, Scott Walker will likely become the next presidential nominee for the Republican Party.
Walker, who has been governor of Wisconsin since 2011, faces a wide range of competition and a handful of other Republican candidates who have, or will possibly, announce their intentions to run for office in 2016.
Quality over Quantity
Yet, the number of candidates won’t be hard for Walker to overcome, as each of the other GOP candidates faces tougher challenges than Walker.
Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is too libertarian on certain issues, like prison reform and international policy, for mainstream conservatives to accept.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has “Bridgegate” on his mind, and he also has one more problem many pundits are overlooking: He has collaborated with President Obama in the past.
Ted Cruz's (R-Tex.) and Marco Rubio’s (R-Fl.) stars may have both burned out already. Even Jeb Bush has issues of not being conservative enough for the base, and his last name alone gives many voters reason to hesitate filling in the circle by his name.
Walker, on the other hand, has the conservative bona fides necessary to win over the base as well as the demeanor and the communication skills to come off as “just a regular guy” to some voters.
The added bonus for the governor? Walker has the backing of the Koch Brothers, two of the most influential megadonors in conservative politics today.
Barring any catastrophic incident that would plunge him to the bottom of the polls, Walker will become the presidential nominee for the Republican Party. The stars are too well-aligned for him not to be.
Walker vs. Hillary
How he will fare against the Democratic nominee in the general election is another story altogether.
The likely nominee, Hillary Clinton, is ahead of all Republican contenders at the moment, and there’s no reason to believe those numbers won’t hold true down the line.
A recent nationwide poll shows Clinton leads Rubio by a margin of 49 percent to his 43 percent. The numbers are the same of Clinton versus Jeb Bush. The lead widens to 50 percent in favor of Clinton to 40 percent preferring Walker.
Millennials support Democrats and likely will for years to come.
Among Millennials, support is more general, though still problematic for Republicans. Civic-minded people between ages 18-33 consider themselves Democratic voters (or lean Democratic) by a margin of 51 percent, versus just 35 percent who identify closer to the Republican Party.
This is very bad news for the GOP in this election, as well in contests further down the road. As Pew Research points out:
[...] the political climate of early adulthood may continue to influence the political tilt of a generation throughout its life span.
In other words, voters generally stay with the party they started out supporting in their youth. For most Millennials (and as Pew points out, younger Gen-Xers), that translates into Democratic Party support in the future for America’s youngest, and possibly most influential, generation.
Primary elections create disadvantage for Republicans.
The primary system of selecting nominees for president worked remarkably well in the past. But, its usefulness today is questionable, as it creates a huge disadvantage for political parties. This year, it's more so for Republicans.
The most viable candidates for the general election have to make themselves appear more worthy in the eyes of the base in order to win the party’s ticket. For Republicans, that means a hard sprint to the right, which dissuades younger voters from supporting them.
When it comes time for the general election, the nominee then has to run to the middle to win the presidency.
By that point, the damage caused by the primaries may already be irreparable: Voters saw their “true colors” when candidates were fighting for votes against their intra-party opponents, and they see through the ruse of courting votes from the middle.
Why Walker Will Lose
Walker will likely take several of the Republican primaries because he’s a legitimate conservative politician.
He required mandatory ultrasounds, including transvaginal probes, for women seeking abortions in Wisconsin. He supports a constitutional amendment allowing states to ban same-sex couples from receiving equal marriage rights.
If the election is strictly on the issues, then Walker loses, hands down. His only saving grace is the baggage the Clinton name carries.
Even so, Hillary Clinton is still popular and preferred by Americans overall when it comes to match-ups against Walker (and other Republicans for that matter).
Expect Walker to win the nomination for the presidency. It will be a huge deal at the time, and he may even get a significant bump in the polls. But, when it comes time for Election Day, he will get clobbered by Hillary Clinton, especially in the Electoral College count.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of Elite Daily.