Has there ever been a campaign with as much national hype behind it as Wendy Davis’ that ended up doing so poorly? Maybe Edmund Muskie’s Presidential race in 1972, Ed Koch’s Governor’s run in 1982, or Gary Hart’s abortive 1988 Presidential run. But all those were already major political players before running smack into Nemesis, and Muskie and Koch still had careers after their debacles.
Perhaps McGovern’s 1972 general election campaign comes closest, with one disastrous decision following another and a healthy streak of bad luck to boot. (Which only compounds the idiocy of Nixon’s dirty tricks team monkeywrenching an election that was already in the bag.) But the McGovern 1972 team can rightfully claim to have displayed real tactical brilliance in winning the nomination in the first place. And McGovern was already a Senator.
Davis doesn’t even have that going for her. This was her first (and undoubtedly her last) statewide race. After this horrendous showing, I’m not sure Democrats would even nominate her for the Railroad Commission.
Various media outlets are already busy writing Davis’ political obituary:
“How Wendy Davis became the Todd Akin of the 2014 midterms.” (Ouch! That’s gonna leave a scar.) “It turns out that the electorate can be just as unfriendly to bumbling liberal candidates who are identified almost exclusively with social issues.”
Michelle Malkin in National Review: “Wendy Russell Davis is on fire. And I don’t mean that in a good way. I mean it in a five-alarm, set-her-own-skirt-aflame, billowing-human-torch kind of way. To say that Davis is smokin’ hot is not a compliment. It’s a campaign incineration status update.” More: “Militant gender-identity politics [can] only get you so far.”
The Houston Chronicle‘s Patrick Svitek: “If Democrat Wendy Davis loses the governor’s race next week, there’ll be no shortage of commentary on what may have led to her downfall — early stumbles in conveying her life story to voters, coming across as too poll-tested and stage-managed, going too negative too early on Republican Greg Abbott.” He also notes Davis’ singular failure to grapple with border-security issues. That’s understandable, since Democrats keep crowing that Hispanics are their ticket to regaining majority status, and are notably hostile to securing the border for fear it might keep out future Democratic voters via their desired illegal alien amnesty.
And to top it all off, no one is buying Davis’ book:
Despite enormous levels of media buzz, Nielsen BookScan numbers provided to Slate by a publishing source show only 4,317 copies of the memoir, called Forgetting to Be Afraid, have been sold since its Sept. 9 publication.
Nielsen BookScan doesn’t include all book sales, notably sales at many independent retailers, so the actual number of copies sold is probably higher, although still likely below 6,000. As a point of comparison, Elizabeth Warren’s memoir, A Fighting Chance, sold more than 70,000 copies in its first few months on shelves. And David Limbaugh’s book Jesus on Trial, which was published the day before Davis’, has sold about 65,000 copies, including 6,778 just last week, according to BookScan.
In some cases, selling 6,000 hardback books would be a good number. For a first-time novelist, for instance, 6,000 hardbacks would be a pretty good number. (And it’s more than all but one of this year’s Booker Prize nominees sold in the UK.)
But for a book with a $132,000 partial advance? Not so much…