I realize that compared to Hillary Clinton who continues running for president while under Federal investigation, Jeb Bush refusing to wake up and smell the bitter stench of defeat may seem minor by comparison. But still. Why does Jeb Bush continue his futile run for President?
In Iowa, he came in sixth place behind Cruz, Trump, Rubio, Carson and Rand Paul.
In New Hampshire, despite spending millions of dollars, he came in fourth place behind Ted Cruz whom most believed would fare badly in the more moderate Northeast state. Even Cruz didn’t think he would do well there which is why, by comparison, he spent about a half million dollars.
In several of the recent polls from South Carolina, Bush is in fifth place in a field of six.
So what gives? Why is this guy unwilling to step aside? Is ego keeping Jeb in the race?
Outside of big-money donors, Jeb’s base of support among Republican voters is hardly what one could call a juggernaut. For all the jokes about Rubio being a boy in a bubble, the real bubble boy here seems to be Jeb.
What I find a remarkable is Jeb Bush is the one guy who has made it his personal mission to talk people out of voting for Trump. However, the truth is, two-thirds of Republican voters already don’t support Trump. And Jeb’s insistence on staying in the race is doing nothing but splintering the anti-Trump vote at a time when it should be coalescing. In other words, Jeb’s presence in this race helps the very candidate Jeb despises with a passion.
So why stay in?
To use a chess metaphor, sometimes you have to sacrifice a Bishop to protect your King and win the game. If Bush believes that Trump is a genuine threat, for the good of the Republican Party, shouldn’t he be willing to sacrifice his Presidential aspirations?
But he won’t. He continues with his Quixotic campaign as though he really has a chance to garner the nomination.
This isn’t a man who is interested in preserving the Republic and ensuring a Republican victory in November. This is a man driven by self-interest.
Frankly, the same can be said of John Kasich. But Kasich staying in the race at least makes some sense given he came in second in New Hampshire. Though unless every other candidate drops out except Kasich and Trump, I doubt very highly John will ever see another second place finish, let alone an actual win. But of course for him, coming in second in New Hampshire is justification for taking up space in this 6-man race.
Bush on the other hand has not made it above fourth place. So why the charade?
I’ve said before that the Jeb Bush candidacy appears to be more about the men behind his campaign than about him. These guys want back in. These guys want to regain the center of power they lost when George W. Bush left office in January 2009. And they believe Bush will be the guy to get them there.
Jeb is irrelevant even to those who are pushing him to continue in this race.
Between Trump, Cruz, Rubio and Bush, Jeb polls consistently bad in head-to-head match-ups between either Hillary or Bernie. I don’t even know if they bother to poll head-to-head match-ups between the Democrats and Kasich. I think it’s safe to say even if all the stars aligned perfectly and Jeb managed to gain the nomination, we would lose the White House in November.
True, Trump is the second-worst in head-to-head polling against the presumptive Democrats. But the difference between Trump and Jeb is among Republicans Jeb is so far behind Trump in polling you can barely see him in the review mirror.
If a Trump nomination puts victory in November at risk, how much more would a Bush nomination?
And yet there he is, still campaigning, still spending millions of dollars fighting a losing battle.
Is it ego? Or is it blind stupidity?
If Bush or Kasich really wanted to make sure Donald Trump is not our nominee, one of the most effective things they could do is drop out. Trump’s 30% polling number would be hardly impressive in a field of three.
Frankly, the longer Bush and Kasich remain in this race, the more likely it is Trump wins the nomination. And if that happens, we can credit the over-bloated egos of two moderate Governors who cannot put aside their own blind ambition and ego long enough to do the right thing.
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