Sunday, February 21, 2016

My take on Jeb Bush dropping out of the 2016 presidential race.

Jeb Bush at a town hall meeting last week. AFP.

Jeb Bush ended his presidential campaign after yet another poor showing in an election. AFP. The former front-runner dropped out of the race despite being the son of one US president and the brother of another. His support was in the single digits nationally and he only got 8% of the vote in South Carolina. Bush had millions of dollars at his disposal and spent most of it on adds, but never made much headway. His SuperPAC, Right to Rise, raised $118 million dollars and spent most of it for little gain. Donald Trump is widely seen as the man who destroyed Jeb Bush's campaign. Trump largely got the best of Bush at the debates and gave him the "low energy" label. That label haunted Bush throughout the campaign. Bush never was able to connect with the voters and could not escape the legacy of his name. 

My Comment:
I'm almost sad to see Jeb! go. Don't get me wrong, two Bushes as president was more then enough. But Bush was an amazing person to have on the campaign trail just because Donald Trump was so effective in mocking him. From a pure entertainment value standpoint, Bush was probably the best part of this campaign by far. Not only were there great moments during the debates, there was also the way the internet brutally made fun of the guy. To a level I have never seen before and may never see again. Here's just one small example. Fair warning, there is some turtles getting eaten in the video and a little foul language. Also, you might feel bad for poor ol' Jeb at the end. 

No idea if this will be up much longer, so apologies if it is removed.

Here's another video that is basically the same thing in case the first video is removed. I could post more, literally dozens more videos like this, but this should make the point:

Ouch at Barbra Bush at the end there.... 

Wasn't that just brutal? But it pretty much sums up Bush's entire campaign. All though the campaign he was just bullied and made fun of. The internet loved it, the candidates joined in and above it all, Donald Trump was gloating. Bush was a meme candidate and not in the good way. Even Marco Rubio, his former protege, effectively humbled  him at one of the debates. In short, everyone turned against him, and his campaign ended up as a complete joke. Nobody took him seriously and in the end he was a huge punching bag.

And part of me loves that. If for no other reason that it shows that money isn't everything. Jeb Bush raised more money then anyone. His SuperPAC alone raised almost 120 million dollars, and that doesn't even include the $30 million he raised himself. The only other candidate to raise anywhere near that money is Hillary Clinton, and she's barely winning as well. Who out competed Jeb Bush? Donald Trump, who is largely self funding his campaign. The fact that Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are doing so well without the help of these huge SuperPAC's is very gratifying. As much as the elites may hate it, it really isn't always possible to buy an election.

Still, it wasn't just Donald Trump and internet memes that brought down Jeb Bush. It was his name. That's why he went with the "Jeb!" title for his campaign instead of something that mentioned his last name. That should tell you something about the GOP. The Bush name is no longer something the electorate cares about. Well, they do, just not in a good way. I know personally that I voted for George Bush twice, and though I think he did a better job then Al Gore and John Kerry would have done, he was by no means a good president. George Bush wasn't nearly as bad as the media made him out to be and I have defended him in the past, but that doesn't mean I ever really wanted another Bush in the White House. I never really seriously considered voting for Jeb unless I had no other options and the choice was between him and Hillary Clinton or perhaps Bernie Sanders.

I am more tolerant then a lot of other people out there. Almost everyone on the left, most independents and even a few people on the right hated George Bush and wanted nothing to do with Jeb Bush. And in an election year were independents matter and there's a chance that more then a few Democrats could consider voting for the GOP, that was very bad news for Jeb Bush. He just didn't have a base to rely on, and his last name had a lot to do with it. He may not be the same man as his brother, they do have some political disagreements after all, but for the American public? He might as well have been named George Bush II.

And he just didn't connect with the average GOP voter. What was the biggest issue for the GOP this year? Immigration. Where did Jeb Bush stand on the issue? In favor of amnesty. Called illegal immigration an "act of love". Said that immigrants were "more fertile" then native born Americans. In short, he was telling the GOP working class base the exact opposite of what they wanted to here. Instead of listening to the issues that so effect lower class GOP workers and promising to do something about it like Donald Trump and Ted Cruz did, he essentially said that he cared more about the people breaking the law then the people that are here legally. Regardless of your opinion on the issue, you have to admit that was never going to play well this year. Not with anger so very high. Bush wasn't alone in this backlash, but things came to a head this election in terms of immigration. The GOP base is sick of hearing about amnesty. 

Bush also didn't really stand out from the rest of the crowd. I always saw him as a person that had the exact same platform as Marco Rubio. Establishment GOP through and through. If that was what I was looking for, why not just pick Rubio instead? He's had a much better campaign other then the one debate where he looked unhinged. Rubio was always well spoken and could get his point across in a very effective way. Bush wasn't anywhere near as effective. He was always stuttering and stumbling and generally making a fool out himself. For the 30% of people in the GOP that want an establishment candidate, Rubio was a much better choice. And even John Kasich, who is practically a Democrat, was beating Jeb Bush in the polls at the end. 

Bush's defeat was inevitable, but I do have to wonder where his 5% of the vote goes. I think that Marco Rubio is probably where most of them end up going. Some could go to Kasich, assuming he doesn't drop out soon too, but I really don't see his voters going to one of the protest candidates. Maybe Ted Cruz or Ben Carson, but I really don't think Donald Trump gains much of anything for this. Donald Trump is the main reason Bush is gone, so I don't see his die hard fans supporting him. Indeed, without his favorite punching bag, it will be interesting how he handles the next few debates... 

As for the greater election picture, I am thinking that it is going to be Trump vs Clinton. I don't see the other Republicans stopping Trump's momentum. I mean the guy got into it with the Pope himself and it didn't really hurt him at all, so unless Trump literally murders someone or the GOP pulls of some kind of masterful scheme against him to screw him out of the candidacy, he's it. And with Bernie Sanders losing in Nevada, he is way behind in delegates. He was always behind in delegates due to the Democrats idiotic super-delegate program, but he is even worse off then he was before New Hampshire. At this point I would probably put money on it, if I was a betting man.

The best news out of all of this is that because Hillary won in Nevada, Michael Bloomberg will probably not run. As he is the only person that has thought of running that would make me seriously consider voting for a Clinton, I am ecstatic right now...

Back to Jeb Bush though, I wonder what will happen to him now. I think he burned too many bridges for a vice presidential nod, and I can't see him ever running for president again. After all, his donors must be angry that he wasted $120 million. I can't see him ever making a political impact again, but who knows what could happen in the future. The GOP may no longer be the official party of the Bushes, but I doubt we have heard the last of them... 

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