The End of Forbes (posted February 9, 2000)
Republican presidential candidate Steve Forbes suffered another hit last night when the Delaware primary results came in. In a state that he won in 1996 and had targeted as a must-win state, Forbes garnered only 20 percent of the vote, lagging in third place behind George W. Bush, who won with 51 percent and Senator John McCain, who got 25 percent, despite never campaigning in the state.
The results demonstrate that rather than going forward, Forbes has run far behind his own goals for this year and his past electoral showings in 1996. It therefore is no surprise that today he announced he was dropping out of the race.
Part of the problem is that unlike 1996, when Forbes emphasized the flat tax and downplayed social issues such as abortion, this year the wealthy businessman has attempted to remake himself into a fiery conservative. Voters have not bought this transformation and see Forbes as the wrong messenger for the passionate message he is trying to build. Unlike Alan Keyes, who shows real emotion when he talks about the unborn and the injustice of income taxes, Forbes' nerdy style undermines his attempt to position himself as the real conservative in the race.
Between 1996 and 2000, Forbes spent around $100 million of his own money on his failed campaigns.