When Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) announced his presidential bid back in May, we didn't get what his theory of his candidacy was. We wrote:
It is now official: Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) is running for president. We have no idea why. We doubt that he does. Certainly nobody else does. Is the goal to show that Black politicians can be as egotistical and dumb as white politicians? That would be equality of sorts, we guess.
Obviously, we did not think he had any chance of becoming president.
As it turns out, we might have been on to something. In the first five national polls conducted after Scott declared his candidacy, he polled at 2%, 2%, 2%, 2% and 3%, for an average of 2.2%. Meanwhile, in the five most recent national polls, he polled at 1%, 2%, 3%, 4% and 2.3%, for an average of 2.46%. At that rate, he'd become the Republican frontrunner in just 60 years (or so). Recent weeks have also featured an announcement by a pro-Scott PAC that it had canceled all its ad buys, the weird "does he really have a girlfriend?" story, a very mediocre debate performance in Republican candidates' debate #3, and a very high likelihood of not making the stage for Republican candidates' debate #4.
This weekend, the Senator saw the writing on the wall, and so announced that he was suspending his presidential campaign. This came as a surprise to his campaign staff, who had no idea he was so close to pulling the plug (and who now find themselves out of work with no warning). Still, the only question was how long Scott would linger: (1) until officially missing the next debate cut, (2) until the Iowa caucuses, (3) until the South Carolina primary, or (4) until Super Tuesday. In short, the game was going to be up sometime between now and March 6, and Scott chose "now."
In contrast to Mike Pence, Scott had enough money to keep going, so that's probably not what the problem was (unless he decided to conserve funds for his next Senate run or for a gubernatorial run). Our guess is that knowing he was making no headway, his heart just wasn't in it anymore. Who wants to spend the holiday season needlessly traveling around Iowa in the cold and snow, giving speeches to 20 people at a drug store, then sampling the variant of casserole sold at Pop's Diner, then watching a pig castration demonstration?
It's also possible the RNC (or some other entity, like Mitch McConnell) is leaning hard on non-viable non-Trump candidates to get the hell out, so that the non-Trump vote can consolidate around Nikki Haley. Trump is still polling well above 50%, and some Republicans will gravitate to him when their favored option drops out, so he'd need to take a hit of 10-15% for an alternative to become viable. Still, getting the little fish out of the way is a start, and then a conviction or two would go a long way toward taking some of the wind out of his sails and putting it in Haley's.
The field is now down to seven, four of whom probably won't make the next debate stage. So, who's going to be next, Doug, Chris, Vivek or Asa? (Z)