Rick Perry, former governor of Texas, is a victim of the emergence of Donald Trump, who entered the 2016 race for president under a firestorm of criticism and second guessing. Perry was the first candidate to drop out of the race on Friday, September 11 due to failure to raise enough funds to keep his campaign afloat. The facts will show, however, that Perry would have been able to gain more ground and stay in the race longer had it not been for the rise of the Trump phenomenon. Perry is a victim of the Trump campaign and others may face the same fate.
The former governor of Texas came into the campaign with high hopes because of his success in the Lone Star State. He was doing a much better job of presenting his case in a much more effective way than his 2012 attempts, which were damaged by a flub during the first debate. He was traveling extensively and was warmly received by crowds, but found himself without enough funds as donor money was shared between 17 candidates. At one point, he was forced to lay off campaign workers, some of whom committed to working without pay. The candidate was able to raise only $1 million in the first quarter and his numbers were not strong enough for him to earn a spot in the first debate. This made it harder to make his case. In addition to these obstacles, Perry is still under indictment on abuse-of-power charges in Texas. The experience was not enough for Perry to avoid being a Trump victim.
He came into the campaign with excellent political credentials. Texas added more than 2.2 million jobs in his 14 years as governor. The state’s jobs grew more than 23 percent. The U.S. employment numbers are stalled around six percent. This means that Texas grew about 3.8 times as fast as the country during the same period. Forbes reports that New York, California, Massachusetts, and Illinois have all lost jobs. The ability of the state he governed to attract new companies and grow its business sector is touted as one of his strengths. His opposition to Common Core has angered many, but the growth of school choice in the state through charter schools has expanded the opportunities of many children. Of course, there is much more that the former governor had on his political plate, but his exit from the campaign makes that all irrelevant.
Donald Trump has yet to prove himself as a businessman much less as a contender for the presidency. His history as a businessman is filled with false starts and failures that raise red flags for voters looking for a successful leader. Biography has a list of many of his failed business deals. His casino ventures have mostly failed along with Trump Mortgage which was shuttered after one and a half years. He has declared four big bankruptcies that affected thousands of lives. The billionaire says the bankruptcies are just a matter of business, but Georgetown law professor Adam Levitin said that only an estimated five percent of the 500 largest U.S. companies have filed in the last 20 years. Everyone gets the picture. The country is faced with the campaign of a man who has a very questionable leadership history in the world of business and proposes very little in the way of specifics for the future of the country.
The Trump phenomenon can be described as the effect of an already well-known personality able to dramatically catch the attention of a disgruntled segment of conservative voters. Many people are tired of business as usual in the politics of the country but it would be a tragedy if the “flash-in-the-pan” popularity of one man causes the country to lose viable candidates with a genuine message for America.
This story is important not just as it relates to Perry. How many other candidates will be forced from the campaign by a man of questionable leadership skills? Rick Perry was a Trump victim. Will there be other potential leaders forced out of this important campaign because one man with money and popularity has emerged as the favorite?
Opinion By Lloyd Gardner
Edited By Leigh Haugh
Fortune: Failed Trump Businesses
NPR: Under Perry Texas Added Jobs at Nearly Four Times the National Rate
CNN: Rick Perry 2016 Campaign Suspended
Photo Courtesy of Jim Greenhill’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License