Just a few weeks ago, Gov. Scott Walker, of Wisconsin, was riding high in the polls, nationally and in the key early caucus state of Iowa.
His was to be the Midwestern vessel into which mainstream and evangelical Christian Republicans could pour their hopes for a return of the GOP to the White House.
Now, he’s not.
Just over 70 days of a presidential campaign, and it’s over.
Walker withdrew after having been hopelessly outshone by the phenomenon called Donald Trump.
What did not matter? Reality.
That Walker was a real governor and had a record much praised in the GOP for attacking labor unions in his home state seemed to fade beside the bluster and egotism of the Trump “brand” in politics.
The pundits are speculating that after two major candidates — Walker and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry — there will be others soon leaving the GOP nominating race. A couple of candidates seem longshots by any reasonable standard, former Govs. George Pataki, of New York, and James Gilmore, of Virginia.
What, now, is the call from Camp Jindal, still plugging away in Iowa?
The Louisiana governor is one of those who, despite formal qualifications, could never quite seem to get a hearing in the electorate even before Trump’s rapid rise. An occasional blip up in the Iowa polls, from the state where he has most campaigned, has been relatively minor.
Nor is money unlimited for Jindal. He’s a very effective fundraiser, no mean skill in politics, but he’s also someone who has not posted the big numbers that several of his competitors did, including former Gov. Jeb Bush, of Florida, and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, of Texas.
If the Jindal operation in Iowa is lean enough, perhaps he can make it through to the caucuses. He has certainly tailored his appeal to the most conservative caucus-goers; four years ago, the winner was former Sen. Rick Santorum, of Pennsylvania, who made a similar appeal.
Santorum, however, is also one of the candidates who can “live off the land” with a low-budget campaign, and he seeks to win again in Iowa, thereby providing more competition for Jindal in the latter’s chosen niche.
The departure of more candidates in a field so large is to be expected, but we don’t know when or if Louisiana’s entry will be one of them.