Last year many political pundits pegged Jeb Bush to be the inevitable GOP candidate, citing his establishment appeal and his alleged ability to do battle with Hillary Clinton. Now, as the Republican field narrows to a more manageable three from its once comically large numbers, the loss of Jeb Bush is somewhat shocking.
Put aside the odd rise to relevance that we’ve seen from Sanders and Trump and it’s easy to argue that Jeb Bush’s low polling numbers are the most surprising side show of this election cycle. Never before in the political landscape have we seen someone so well established, with both a presidential father, and brother, and who received and spent more than any other candidate while campaigning, do so poorly during the primaries.
And so we ask the inevitable question, what has changed in the American political landscape? American trust has changed. For liberals and conservatives alike, the last seven years of congressional, and presidential squabbling have left the American public incredibly uneasy. And with this unease we see distrust for what many people consider to be authoritative, or high powered people. Somehow, Hillary Clinton has managed to fend off this distinction with some, albeit mild, success while Jeb Bush was put in a corner by it.
Another mistake that Jeb Bush made in his campaign was his lack of grandiose claims of changes he would make across the board. Sanders, Trump, and even Cruz have promised vast changes in what constitutes America and what we will do going forward. While the masses continue to believe such change is so incredibly possible, as people did in 2008, the Bush campaign, for their part left the big plans at home.
As a young boy I grew up watching the intense scrutiny of George W. that he encountered every day as president. And while his legacy is left for history to decide, little brother Jeb couldn’t escape from that shadow. And maybe that is Jeb Bush’s legacy, to be perennially cast as a backup to some of history’s most interesting characters in his brother, father, and Donald Trump.
So as I sit here and pray for better, more reasonable Republican candidates, I imagine Jeb Bush is sitting somewhere right now, wondering how a Hillary Clinton fan who wants to build a wall on the Mexican border, a Cuban with a Miami Dolphins Cheerleader wife, and a Canadian named Rafael bested him and his family presidential dynasty.