MEMO: Panic in Walker World
Word around Wisconsin is that Team Walker is getting pretty nervous. As the AP recently reported, “Wisconsin’s tight race for governor is putting Republican Gov. Scott Walker on the defensive about his record on education, roads and health care.” There’s more than a whiff of panic in the air.
Let’s do a quick recap:
- Walker spent $4 million on ads trying to cover up his real his record and went backward in the polls.
- Team Walker is on their third or fourth different strategy in the last six months. What happened to “Walker 2.0?”
- Walker has seen current and former allies turn on him and call him out.
- Former cabinet secretaries Peter Bildsten, Ed Wall, and Mark Gottlieb have all spoken out about Walker’s misplaced priorities and ethical missteps.
- And Scott Walker is seriously struggling in the polls.
- Walker trails in five of the last six public polls, and was only tied in the sixth.
- Ratings gurus like Larry Sabato and Nathan Gonzalez have moved the race to a Toss-Up.
This all sounds pretty bad. Is Walker-world starting to panic? Take a look at their actions and draw your own conclusions.
Burning Down the Village
- A “Walker insider” claimed the Governor’s general election strategy would be a “shock and awe” campaign of negative ads he called “burning down the village.” As the Governor gets more desperate, his ads have reached a new low, and are turning off viewers. Giving up on your record in favor of a purely negative strategy is never a good sign for eight-year incumbents.
- Walker and his allies spent nearly $6 million on negative ads in the first three weeks of the general election, an eye-popping number even for big-spenders like Walker.
Trumpian Strategy of Last Resort
- Moving far away from Midwestern nice, Walker has embraced his own version of the Trump Twitter rant on the Donald’s core issues like media bias and the NFL.
- This strategic move may indicate that Walker has given up on independent and persuadable voters in favor of a “Trump voter” mobilization Hail-Mary.
Right now, Walker’s campaign more closely resembles his failed presidential campaign than his successful gubernatorial efforts.
Politico summed it up well when they said “There’s every reason to believe this is the beginning of the end for Scott Walker.”
So, is Walker-world panicking? If not yet, they should be.