Few would argue that Scott Walker was a top tier contender before Donald Trump entered the race and grew by taking supporters away from other candidates. Scott Walker was the most affected, even more so than Rick Perry who dropped out last month. It comes down to a single word that exemplifies that catastrophic shift: fighter.
Scott Walker had built up a national reputation as someone who knew how to fight. He had fought his way through labor laws in a state that was failing. He fought his way through a recall. He fought his way to the microphone on major television networks despite being in a very lightly populated state. Scott Walker seemed, to the national audience, to be a fighter.
— Rebecca Sinderbrand (@sinderbrand) September 21, 2015
The national audience didn’t know Walker very well. Just because someone has been in a few fights and won them doesn’t mean that there’s a fighter there. What the national audience quickly learned even before his mediocre first debate performance is that Walker didn’t really have the desire to fight. He’s not a blow-for-blow candidate and this revelation quickly turned people off. Right around the time they were realizing he wasn’t the guy they thought he was, a real fighter stepped into the ring.
Donald Trump didn’t necessarily earn the support of Scott Walker advocates. In essence, they gravitated to him when Walker’s gravitational pull proved to be weaker than expected. Trump might be a lot of things to a lot of people, but one thing that is universally accepted about him is that he likes to say things that will provoke a fight. There are still questions about whether or not he could really hold his own when things get tense (his reactions to Megyn Kelly and Hugh Hewitt are indicators of this) but he’s scrappy enough to throw punches. In fact, he’s a natural punch-thrower. Walker was not.
One member of his staff pretty much confirmed this.
A former Scott Walker aide fired off a scorching tweetstorm about why Walker dropped out http://t.co/cAsZU383Oo
— Business Insider (@businessinsider) September 21, 2015
When he declared that he would “wreak havoc” in Washington, it rang out as completely hollow. He’s almost as soft spoken as Ben Carson in reality and while his passions are there, they come out more intellectually than through confrontation. Walker is a conservative who operates best in a bubble. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s not Presidential and it’s definitely not what people wanted from him. That’s why he, more than any other candidate, let the majority of his supporters head over to Trump.
Whatever remains will be split by other candidates, and while it’s not much, they’ll try to get whatever they can.
— JD Rucker (@0boy) September 21, 2015
Most will say that Trump ended Walker’s campaign. Perhaps it’s really the other way around. Perhaps Walker’s inability to galvanize his followers is the reason that Trump rose so quickly in the polls. Trump is the fighter that people thought they were getting in Walker.