Only Rick Perry Killed Rick Perry’s Campaign
In the wake of Rick Perry’s departure from the 2016 Republican primary there’s been quite a lot of talk about the role the “Trump factor” played in his demise.
Let me give you the short answer: None.
On paper Rick Perry should have walked to the GOP nomination in 2012 and should have at least made it to Iowa or New Hampshire (he dropped out just after NH and before SC last time and endorsed Newt Gingrich).
Unfortunately for Perry, campaigns are not run on paper. They are a trial of living, breathing people and he repeatedly failed the test.
You may think the roots of Perry’s demise lay in his infamous, “oops” moment where he forgot the third federal agency he’d shut down. That was just the cherry on top of an awful campaign. The real end of the Perry campaign in 2012 and why his 2016 bid never got anywhere was an earlier moment…
“I supported Arizona’s immigration law by joining in that lawsuit to defend it. Every day I have Texans on that border that are doing their job. But if you say that we should not educate children who have come into our state for no other reason than they’ve been brought there by no fault of their own, I don’t think you have a heart. We need to be educating these children, because they will become a drag on our society. I think that’s what Texans wanted to do.”
That was the end of Rick Perry as a GOP presidential candidate for all time.
Perry’s high-water mark in 2011 came on September 13th when he led the RCP average with 37.8. The, I don’t think you have a heart line” came on September 22nd when he was at 28.4. Clearly he was already sliding by then but by the time the “oops” moment hit on November 9, 2011, Perry had already fallen to 4th place at 10.2%.
Perry never got above 3% support after announcing his 2016 candidacy during the first week of June of 2015 and trailed Trump all along, even though the latter didn’t enter the race until more than two weeks later.
There are many reasons Perry never caught on. His supporters will decry that his long record of success deserved more serious consideration but a long record as a Republican politician is a hindrance this time around (at least so far). Combine that with his dreadful and insulting 2012 effort plus other successful candidates without his national baggage and Perry never had a chance.