When a political candidate suspends a campaign it is assumed that the factors at play are the usual suspects — running out of money, the failure to gain favor and popularity among Party insiders and primary voters, and other considerations that are to be expected. Those considerations include behind the scenes pressures. A good example is Chris Christie’s pending announcement today that he is suspending his campaign. Behind the scenes pressure is just as much a factor as the failure to gain popularity with Republican voters.
Christie is the perfect candidate for a place like New Jersey, where he is governor. He can survive the overwhelming opposition of liberals and progressives because he is a product of it. He understands the mindset and can successfully attack it head on. What Christie has done in New Jersey was and is very necessary. But it would not fly in Alabama or Texas. Thus, when Christie used his well oiled New Jersey tactics to attack fellow candidate Marco Rubio, he hit a brick wall that flew back and hit him in the face. He hurt Rubio, but he hurt himself even more in doing so.
Thus, the pressure was on behind the scenes. All of the usual factors were present in Christie’s pending decision to suspend his campaign. But the behind the scenes pressure was enormous.
U.S. Representative Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., a rising star among Republican conservatives, stated prior to Christie’s suspension of operations that the New Jersey governor was helping Democrats by going after Rubio in the manner in which he did. That statement is probably true in that a weakened Rubio will strengthen the hand of Democratic candidates who will take all of the help they can get in light of the turmoil regarding Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.
In spite of the fact that polls show Donald Trump in the lead in Gowdy’s home state of South Carolina, Rubio is still a popular figure as are Cruz and Bush. One of the state’s two U.S. Senators, Tim Scott, has endorsed Rubio. So have some other key Republicans in the state, including Gowdy. It did not set well for a New Jersey governor to carpet-bomb attack one of the state’s favored national Republican figures.
Will Christie’s attacks prove to be fatal blows to the candidacy of Marco Rubio? It is highly doubtful that such is the case. Rubio has plenty of support to spare, and his supporters in South Carolina in particular have no intention of backing away from him. A more realistic threat to candidates such as Rubio, Cruz, and Bush is Donald Trump.