Roger L. Simon

'Republican Candidate Survivor' -- Who's Next?

First they came for Rick Perry, then they came for Scott Walker… Well, they didn’t really come for them.  The candidates saw the handwriting on the wall… or, more precisely, the lack of handwriting (on donors’ checks)… and disqualified themselves from the great game of “Republican Candidate Survivor.”

Both were sinking in the polls of course, Walker from a formerly high perch.

Now there are 14.  Who will be the next to go?

Obviously, the four from last week’s undercard — George Pataki, Rick Santorum, Bobby Jindal and Lindsey Graham — are running on the proverbial fumes. Who is paying for these guys to crisscross the country with only one percent of the vote, sometimes less?  Would their money be better spent on, say, cancer research?  Or if they wanted to get ideological, doing something about our schools or investing in movies and television with a conservative message? (They could even make money!)

The possibilities are endless, but fat cats seem to have an irresistible urge to support political candidates, much like race horses.  Most of us assume that’s for business purposes, as Trump himself admitted, but I suspect it’s almost as much for the sport and the silly autographed photo in their study.

And what about Rand Paul, who made last week’s main event by the wisp of his libertarian locks and is said, almost unanimously, to have performed abysmally? Should he be wasting somebody’s money and our time continuing his campaign?

Logic dictates — away with Pataki, Santorum, Jindal, Graham and Paul.  We have plenty of competitors in “Republican Candidate Survivor” as is.  Nine will be more than enough — for now.

And while I’m at it, I’d like to reprise one of my first Mad Voter posts in which I called for Jeb Bush to withdraw in part because he would then be well-positioned to urge Hillary Clinton to do the same.  Enough of these dynasties.  Can you imagine how depressed our country would be if we actually had a Bush-Clinton election? I’ll be moving to the Islamic State. (Okay, kidding.) But if we are going to return to monarchy, at least let’s have some of the fun stuff like changing of the guards, outbreaks of hemophilia and castles in Scotland.

But back to the first question.  Who will be the next to go in our game of “Republican Candidate Survivor?”  (Readers  are free to leave their guesses in the comments.) My wife thinks it’s going to be Bobby Jindal.  After all, he does have a day job, unlike Santorum or Pataki.  Graham and Paul also have day jobs (kind of, sort of).  Santorum has nothing much to do but run for office and appear on On the Record with Greta Van Susteren, so look for him to hang in for a bit. Actually, I would be sad to see Graham go because his perorations on foreign policy have been pretty good and probably edifying to some people who need to hear them.  But he’s going sooner or later.

Of the supposed top-tier candidates, I think most of them are probably sticking around for awhile, although we may have some surprises. It’s unlikely, however, that Fox will offer Huckabee his job back because Greg Gutfeld’s already got his slot and Greg’s a lot funnier and appeals to a much young demographic.  (He might be a better candidate too.)

But finally, I have to admit, I’m getting a little sick of this game of “Survivor” and impatient to get to the real deal, even though it feels as if we’re only at the beginning of Season 1.  “Democratic Candidate Survivor” is also in its early stages, though it has a wild card up its sleeve, sort of like the duck in “You Bet Your Life,” not currently in the Republican game called the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  The FBI could well step into the Democratic game and declare it over until there’s a change of contestants.  We might have summer replacements like such macho “Survivor” players as Al Gore and John Kerry.  Remember Genghis (pronounced “Jen-Jiss”) Khan?

Still, the big reason I’m impatient is that I’m pretty certain of the last six contestants in the Republican game and want to get it on already.  It looks very much like Trump, Carson, Fiorina, Bush, Rubio and Cruz — not necessarily in that order.

Some smart folks are going further, predicting that at (to use a phrase that should be officially banned from the English language) “the end of the day” it will be Rubio v. Cruz, Cuban-American v. Cuban-American, jockeying for the nomination.  We’ll have to wait and see as we continue our season of “Republican Candidate Survivor.”  So far the ratings are terrific.

But give Walker his farewell words:

Today, I believe that I am being called to lead by helping to clear the race so that a positive conservative message can rise to the top of the field. With that in mind, I will suspend my campaign immediately.

I encourage other Republican presidential candidates to consider doing the same so the voters can focus on a limited number of candidates who can offer a positive conservative alternative to the current frontrunner. This is fundamentally important to the future of the party and – ultimately – to the future of our country.

So there you have it. Next?

(Artwork created using multiple AP and images.)