As we hear constant news about Hilary Clinton’s emails or Donald Trump’s startling remarks, it is important to also be informed about the other twenty candidates running for their parties’ nomination and, of course, the Presidential nomination. In this series, “Meet the Candidate,” the Yellow Jacket will take a look at each candidate’s stance and how they are doing in their quest for nomination.
Serving as one of the underdogs running for Republican Presidential nomination, Louisiana’s Governor Bobby Jindal has had a difficult time separating himself from the sixteen other candidates running for nomination. Basing his campaign on religious freedom, the American dream, and strong conservative values, Jindal isn’t a new face in the Republican Party.
In 2001, Jindal was appointed Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services under President George W. Bush. After four years serving as chair, he was elected as a Representative of Louisiana. In 2008, history was made as he was the first Indian-American elected as Governor and the youngest sitting U.S. Governor at the time.
While not a new face in the Republican Party or in the Republican primaries, Jindal has struggled to appeal to moderate voters. As a strong conservative, Jindal believes in criminalizing and investigating Planned Parenthood, wants smaller government, is anti-abortion, wants to establish a Constitutional Amendment requiring a balanced federal budget, believes in religious freedom by any means, opposes same sex marriage, opposes Universal Health Care, and is for a strong military presence throughout the world, especially in the Middle East, to fight Islamic radicalism.
Jindal has built his campaign on the importance of the Christian religion’s “silent war” on the secular, liberal elite. The “silent war” he is referring to is the government’s funding of Planned Parenthood, the legalization of gay marriage, and his opposition to Islamic radicalism.
Furthermore, Jindal commonly refers to the idea of the American dream and how it has become lost due to some of these issues. From a political standpoint, Jindal is attempting to mobilize the social conservatives and the evangelical base and “emerge as the social-conservative alternative” as political analyst Stuart Rothenberg stated (LA Times).
Jindal commonly refers to his parents’ hard work, effort, and determination that made him the man he is today. Even though Jindal has become a common name in the Republican Party, the majority of the Republican Party does not see Jindal’s run for President as neither provocative nor serious.
Currently in 14th place in the national poll, Jindal has had issues, the majority of which are in his state, which have undermined his campaign. He has had slimming approval ratings each year that he has been Governor of Louisiana. As Louisiana is a red state, it is disheartening to Republican voters that a Republican Governor’s approval rating is only thirty-two percent.
Jindal has been on the opposite side of the country’s beliefs on gay marriage as well. In recent polls, sixty percent of Americans, including some conservatives, believed that the legalization of gay marriage is acceptable (Gallup Polls).
After the Supreme Court decision, Jindal issued an executive order protecting “people, businesses and nonprofits from losing access to professional licensing, tax benefits and other government services if they refuse to support same-sex marriage”(The Times- Picayune in New Orleans, Louisiana). Many believed that Jindal was issuing this executive order in a way to oppose the Supreme Court decision and interject his strong religious, conservative views rather than enforcing the decision. This order caused the American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana to sue the Governor, calling the executive order a way for individuals and companies to be able to “discriminate against same-sex couples, without facing repercussions” (NOLA). This, in turn, will hinder Jindal from getting the LGBTQ or socially liberal support for his campaign.
Another issue that Jindal is facing is that his state has a projected $1.6 billion deficit this year. Many state legislators claim that he failed to engage with them in order to solve the economic issues. This large deficit and inability to produce a cure for his state’s economic problems makes it harder to convince voters that he can balance a federal budget. Another recent poll conducted by Public Policy Polling shows that only one percent of Republican voters backed Jindal after the first Republican debate, his speech at the Iowa State Fair, and numerous other rallies.
Some analysts are stating that Jindal is failing to set himself apart because his record in Louisiana is in question and his extreme conservative ideals and policies aren’t as appealing to many voters. The issues that Jindal has experienced have occurred during his campaign. This is unfortunately discrediting his run in the primaries.
He has also has had a challenge appealing to the moderate voter, since he is a strong conservative. By tapping into the socially conservative and Evangelical base, he is excluding moderate, agnostic or atheist, and liberal voters and showing that the Republican Party isn’t inclusive to other citizens. This strong conservative and deeply religious base will not get the majority of voters on his side.
It is reasonable to assume that Governor Jindal will continue to have a hard time rising in the polls this year in the primaries, similar to his run for nomination in 2012.
-Jordon Lee ’16, Junior Politics/Opinions Editor