This has been a crazy election cycle so far. Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, the heir to the Paul libertarian legacy, was out after New Hampshire. Jeb Bush, who everyone thought would be the frontrunner, dropped out weeks ago. Senator Marco Rubio is failing to catch on, and the race is coming down to an evangelical Texas United States Senator and a fiery businessman.
Nobody predicted this.
But the biggest story that nobody is talking about regarding this primary is the ideology that lost. For years, the Bush legacy has haunted Republican politics. The neoconservative principle of an imperial foreign policy and a “compassionate” big government domestically has been the Republican way. It was a sort of centric set of principles that defies genuine conservatism, which has been in the party minority for a long time.
Jeb Bush’s rejection was a huge story, as he was seen to have it in the bag. Another Bush in a party that has been Bush heavy for a couple decades? No contest.
All summer the political world was full of buzz about how this was Bush’s game, Donald Trump had no chance, and we might as well hang it up. The coronation was in progress. Even as late as November, the pundits were all calling it for a Bush nomination.
“Forget his current inability to fire up the Republican base, his low position in the polls, and his latest campaign cost-cuttings and staff reductions that analysts suggest is a sign of a troubled campaign. Forget the debates. They don’t matter. Barring the revelation of a shocking personal scandal, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush will win the Republican presidential nomination next year.”
There was never a shocking personal scandal however, people just never wanted Jeb Bush. He started out sixth at 2.8% in Iowa and his best performance was in New Hampshire was fourth with a mere 11%.
A new poll out of New Hampshire shows front runner Donald Trump gaining momentum while Dr. Ben Carson is losing ground. And herein lies the makings of Jeb Bush’s path to the Republican presidential nomination.
Trump did continue to gain momentum, but Ben Carson remained for a long time. As other candidates rose and fell, the one constant was Bush failing to catch fire.
The Republican establishment had long been banking on Jeb Bush and the media had it in the bag before a single vote was cast. Democratic, Republican outlets and publications that still pretend not to be biased alike had Bush running away with this nomination, before a single vote was cast.
There’s a trend here of the elite, the apparently unbiased media, and pundits all coming together for Bush, a candidate who later couldn’t be a relevant contender in a single state and had to beg his supporters to clap.
Bush aside, in terms of ideology, Senator Marco Rubio was probably more of a Bush than Jeb. In terms of foreign policy and defending Iraq, Jeb Bush often sounded unsure of himself and struggled to offer coherent proposals. Senator Rubio on the other hand could articulate a thorough foreign policy plan that involves the same rampant interventionism abroad and big government at home. The difference is he was a better messenger.
Senator Rubio is now losing and badly. But let’s dispel with this fiction that Barack Obama doesn’t know what he’s doing. He knows exactly what he’s doing.
Standing two hundred delegates out of first place and one hundred behind Senator Ted Cruz prior to Saturday’s caucuses, it’s not unlikely to see him out of the race within the next week. Florida is his last possible stand and it’s not looking good there.
This is the huge primary story that nobody is talking about. The Trump Phenomenon is a big story certainly, as is a conservative like Texas Senator Ted Cruz being a contender. The lost ground of the moderate mainstream in the party is another big story. But perhaps the biggest point is that the Bush legacy has failed, the neoconservative legacy was shut down, and the voters defied the party elite and the media to stick to their own principles.