The Corner

Politics & Policy

How Do You Measure a Campaign’s ‘Stench of Death’?

The Lexington Herald-Leader declares, “Death watch underway for Rand Paul’s presidential campaign.”

The assessment cites reports in Politico and the Washington Post.

The Politico report cites an unnamed New Hampshire Republican who declares, “Rand Paul’s campaign [reeks] of the same stench of death that surrounded the Perry and Walker efforts before their demise.” (Do you measure that sort of a stench with a specially-trained bomb-sniffing dog? Perhaps a mass spectrometer?)

The Washington Post assessment comes from a Chris Cillizza column declaring, “Walker’s departure from the race means that the senator from Kentucky is no longer the front-runner for the most disappointing campaign of 2016.”

From those utterances, the “death watch” begins.

Now, Rand Paul obviously isn’t in the best spot. His poll numbers are pretty low in most of the early states, he got little time in the first two debates, and neither one went particularly well for him. He did a fundraiser for his Senate race — Paul still intends to run for both offices simultaneously — but some in the press insist any time devoted to the Senate effort represents a concession in his presidential effort, which is just silly.

Doesn’t this “death watch” talk seem premature? Two weeks ago, Rep. Mick Mulvaney, co-founder of the House Freedom Caucus, endorsed Paul and last week Paul won the Mackinac straw poll.

(The fact that one of the three Super PACs supporting Rand Paul stopped raising money doesn’t seem like such a huge deal. Besides, ask Rick Perry and Scott Walker how much their well-funded SuperPACs helped them.)

If Paul has a brutal fundraising quarter then yes, he’ll follow the path of Perry and Walker. If you don’t raise enough money, you stop paying your staff. If you stop paying your staff, people think your campaign is at death’s door. If people think your campaign is at death’s door, they stop donating money, and the vicious cycle gets worse.

Earlier today, Paul appeared on Fox News and said “we’re in for the long haul, we’re organizing in all 50 states, and we have 350 college student groups on campuses.”

Finally, is it crazy to think that after this…

…Paul might stay in the race out of spite?


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