}

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Third clown leaves

The third Republican clown candidate has left the Clown Car, and few noticed. Today Piyush "Bobby" Jindal dropped out of the race for the Republican presidential nomination, with little attention: The AP story I linked to was, at the time I saw it, a mere 130 words in only five paragraphs. Kind of sad for him, really.

Jindal never caught on with Republican voters, despite his constant pandering the most-meanspirited and negative among the far-right religious base of the party. To me, his pandering often seemed like a cynical ploy—a bit like Mike “The Huckster” Huckabee’s decision to go Full Asshole.

Jindal, who is term-limited out as governor of Louisiana, never stood a chance. Despite his constant, endless, ceaseless pandering to radical right “Christians” in his party, they never embraced him, and that segment is pretty critical to winning the Republican contests in Iowa and other states. But Jindal is brown, and despite the nickname “Bobby”, he was just too “foreign” and, well, brown, for the Republican base to accept. He’s also leaving office as an extremely unpopular governor who, in my opinion, was really pretty bad at his job. So, his failure to connect with Republican voters didn’t surprise me at all.

What has surprised me, however, is the reluctance of clearly hopeless candidates to leave the Clown Bus. Jindal is only the third clown candidate to drop out so far, and the previous one, Scott Walker, was nearly two months ago (I had to double-check that: I was sure I must’ve missed someone’s exit…).

While polls continue to show Trump and Carson overwhelmingly dominate the Republican contest, with Rubio an often distant third, there are a total of 14 Republicans still in the race, and it’s obvious that the vast majority will win few if any votes in the early contests, no matter how enthusiastically they pander to their party’s most extremist base. Perhaps the candidates just like the attention, but maybe a more thorough explanation is that they hope to get the best deal for themselves when they do drop out: Supporting the one who eventually does win the nomination could pay off for them.

That wasn’t to be with Jindal: Always scraping the very bottom of opinion polls, with no national constituency or fundraising base, his endorsement offers nothing to any of the candidates, and he didn’t make one. In fact, his pledge to vote for the eventual Republican nominee actually matters little more than my own pledge to vote for the eventual Democratic nominee. That, too, is kind of sad for him.

I honestly have no idea what Jindal was thinking when he decided to climb aboard the Republican Clown Bus, because he never had even a remote chance of winning his party’s nomination, let alone the presidency. The fact his campaign ended isn’t a surprise—just that it lasted as long as it did.

So: Who’ll be the next one to quit?

As of today, there's still 11 months, 22 days until the US presidential election.

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