Following the first primary debate Rick Perry has yet to signify any substantial bump in the polls. Though he has continued to press forward on the campaign trail his funding has significantly dried up. Staying afloat required relying on the aid of Super PACs to rescue the struggling campaign. To make matters worse, Perry has resorted to the aid of a largely volunteer staff to get out his message. Some argue that the financial difficulty Perry is experiencing is the handwriting on the wall that he will likely be the first to bow out of the race. However, there are a few reasons why Perry may benefit from continually lurking in the background.
Just as the tortoise and the hare taught us, a slow and steady pace always wins the race. With so many candidates seeking nomination to the Republican Party many gain media attention quickly and then quietly disappear into the shadows after a short-lived surge. While Donald Trump grabs headlines and brings contrast to what the party stands for, Perry campaign volunteers are building a grass-roots network filled with dedicated voters with a shared vision of America. Essentially, what the Perry campaign is advertising to America is one of collective action. With dedication and a little brawn the Perry campaign has the potential to show voters what putting some skin in the game can lead to.
Another consideration for the Perry campaign is recognition. Nearly all voters paying attention to the primaries this year remember Perry from the 2012 election cycle. The infamous slip that left Perry babbling for the third agency is likely not one that voters will easily forget. However, such name recognition may not be entirely what is at the brunt of the low poll numbers. Often when new products come out many of us rush to the store and browse the new lineups. We push the buttons, turn the nobs and turn up the volume all before leaving the store with the last year model that we are much more comfortable with. After all, usually a year or two after the new models are released the bugs are worked out and the results are proven. Given Perry’s experiences most of his notable accomplishments have been recognized already, but there are still just a few candidates whose buttons need to be pushed. Overall, for Perry, patience is a virtue. If he can survive the excitement of all the new faces, he may find victory through their elimination without writing a check.
When you put a handful of Skittles in your mouth it is nearly impossible to tell the differences. The tastes all mesh together and pretty soon you don’t really know which flavor suits you best. Such logic could be at play for the Perry campaign. With seventeen candidates all running for the post, distinguishing what they stand for and how their ideas contrast can get a bit muddled. Such a busy field could be a distraction from the message Perry is delivering. As the field narrows Perry may still have the opportunity to hone in on what distinguishes his plans for America from those of others in the GOP and certainly from Democrats.
Overall, it may be too soon to discount Rick Perry from the nomination. His slow start could very well be by design to avoid the pitfalls of early stardom. Likewise, his name is already familiar to many, but the prospect that others may be a better choice could lead voters to shop around. Of course, sometimes in politics everything is exactly as it seems. The poll numbers could indicate that nobody cares for Perry and he has zero chance of moving into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. One thing we do know for certain is that Perry is moving his campaign along at the pace of a tortoise. Unfortunately, at this point in the race his biggest competition isn’t policy, it is Donald Trump’s hair.