Jindal Out of the Presidential Race, Soon to be Out as Governor

Nick Reimann

After serving Louisiana as governor for two terms and unsuccessfully running for the United States’ President, Bobby Jindal will be searching for a new way to serve his country.

What the future holds for the two-term Louisiana governor remains to be seen, but he certainly will not be serving as the next president of the United States after ending his run on Nov. 17. Jindal’s campaign never really seemed to get off the ground, as he struggled in polls, oftentimes not even getting 1 percent of the vote. Jindal never made the main debate stage to directly take on Republican front-runners like Donald Trump, Ted Cruz or Jeb Bush.

Once loved by citizens of Louisiana with a 77 percent approval rate according to a telephone survey conducted by Rasmussen Reports in 2008, Jindal’s stock has steadily declined in recent years.

He chaired the Republican Governor’s Association in 2013 and delivered the Republican response to President Obama’s State of the Union address in 2009. He held no such prestigious roles in 2015. At the same time, other Republicans with similar positions have risen, such as Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz.

Sean Cain, an associate professor of political science at Loyola, said that this was a major contributing factor in Jindal’s failed run for the White House.

“Ted Cruz, even Marco Rubio, who held similar positions, were able to raise money, run organized campaigns and take away resources that may have otherwise gone to Jindal,” Cain said. “I think he probably would have done better in 2012, because he would’ve been able to position himself as the socially conservative alternative.”

University of New Orleans professor and WDSU political analyst Ed Chervenak also believes that Jindal would have fared better had he run in 2012.

“It was a pretty crowded contest [in 2016] and a lot of the space he hoped to operate in was taken up by a number of other people,” Chervenak said. “His timing was way off. Four years ago would have been a much better time for him, while he was still the rising star in the Republican Party.”

If Jindal’s national drop has been a steady decline, then his fall in Louisiana has been a nosedive.

After being re-elected without a runoff in 2011, his approval rating now sits at 20 percent, according to a poll conducted by University of New Orleans’ Survey Research Center. Chervenak believes that the drop can primarily be attributed to Jindal’s management of the state budget and his presidential ambitions.

“I think part of it is the fact that the governor has engaged in this kind of slight of hand with the budget, kind of using gimmicks, bubble gum and paper clips to keep it together,” Chervenak said. “And then of course, I think his presidential run offended a lot of people in the state while it was facing serious problems and difficulties. He basically abandoned the state so that he could run for office.”

State Sen. Karen Carter Peterson (D), who serves as head of the Louisiana Democratic Party, also said she feels that Jindal’s budget has hurt Louisiana.

“In these eight years, Louisiana has not only become poorer, it has also fallen further behind the rest of the nation in preparing for the new economy,” Peterson said. Governor Jindal’s place in Louisiana’s history will be clear – counted among our state’s most costly disasters.”

Despite rampant criticism, Jindal defended his decisions in an op-ed published in The Advocate on Dec. 9.

“We’ve attracted more than $62 billion in new capital investment and more than 91,000 new jobs in the state,” Jindal wrote. “These reforms have truly put Louisiana on a path to prosperity. Our reforms are what Louisiana needed and I am absolutely convinced in the good we have done.”

While Jindal will be leaving office with a 20 percent approval rating, having served two terms as Louisiana governor, and prior to that having won two terms as a U.S. representative, political analysts Cain and Chervenak agree that we have not seen the last of Bobby Jindal.

“It’s possible that he could get a cabinet position,” Cain said. “I can imagine if Ted Cruz gets elected, Jindal could be a possibility.”

Jindal officially turned over the governorship to John Bel Edwards (D) on Jan. 11.