On Saturday, South Carolina spoke GOP. When the vote count was complete, Donald Trump had won and Rubio/Cruz had finished 2/3. While the spin masters labored trying to make each finish a win, one candidates stepped back. John Ellis (Jeb) Bush suspended his candidacy and for a moment sounded like a President.
Jeb never really had a chance. Bush’s candidacy was about a fictional great Governor, a relative of two former Presidents and someone who could talk like a president or world diplomat. Jeb was about an idealized person just waiting to be recognized and nominated. Hmmm.
Bush’s campaign spent over $100 million and never got an enthusiastic following. In hind sight, Bush and his advisors never saw opponents coming who would run crude, “tell it like it is (even if it is only half true)”, “ I’m not connected to Washington” type, no holds barred campaign. Bush had no message other than “I’m Jeb” and simply got blown away. Jeb had no Karl Rove to do his thinking.
Jeb’s campaign suspension does not just reflect that Bush was the sixth best candidate but in a game of resources, more to the point, Bush ran out of money and reasons to convince backers they should reach deeper into their pockets to bank roll him further. Without money there is no campaign. Hmmm.
The GOP is still staring at almost certain defeat unless they radically change their platform and drop the wedge issues they have used during the primary season. It will not be enough to say “Washington is broken” (which of course it is) and expect to win in November. The GOP nominee will need to explain how he will fix Washington, what it will cost, and how will he pay for it.
The GOP candidate will also be unlikely to escape grillings on immigration (Hispanic vote), family planning (women’s vote), gender equality (gay and women’s vote), and the traditional third rails, Social Security and Medicare (the senior vote). Of those remaining, Trump, Rubio, Cruz, Kasich, and Carson, which one could handle these issues best?
There is a remote possibility that the GOP convention will arrive with no clear winner. All bets are open whether is such a case, a second look at Jeb Bush might not seem the least of poor options. And then, of course, there is a rerun of Mitt Romney. Hmmm.