Something to Think About: What in the World Happened to Jeb?
February 25, 2016
After a tough, fourth place finish on Saturday in the South Carolina primaries, it finally happened.
Jeb Bush dropped out of the Republican race to be president.
Truthfully, it has been a long time coming.
Even by last fall, it was clear that the Bush campaign did not have what it takes to win the nomination. In an election season with Donald Trump and Ted Cruz (and even Ben Carson for, like, two weeks in November) leading the polls, there wasn’t really a place for an establishment candidate like Jeb Bush.
And if anyone can be considered establishment, it is definitely him. I mean, the last name really says it all. At this time last year, it practically seemed as though Jeb was going to inherit the presidency.
Therefore, the most remarkable thing about the failure of the Bush campaign is that he had everything going for him. Name recognition, political connections, money. Definitely money. Jeb Bush spent a whopping $130 million on the 2016 race. $130 million. For virtually nothing.
Ever since the Citizens United decision in 2010, campaign finance reform has been a top issue among politicians. Money has been influencing elections since the Gilded Age. But when the Supreme Court basically decided that corporations are people, everyone started to look at American political campaigns in a different light.
People have been questioning the true level of democracy in our elections, and with good reason. Congressional and gubernatorial races are essentially decided by PACS (political action committees) and the level of impact had by negative ads is astounding.
But this election season, clearly, has been unlike any other. Even with $130 million under his belt, no amount of advertising from the Bush campaign could drown out the voice of Donald Trump. Even on the other side of the aisle, Bernie Sanders is making history by not taking a single cent of PAC money.
If there is, somewhere in the world, a formula for running for president, it really seemed like Jeb Bush had it. He was the textbook definition of the modern Republican candidate. Unfortunately for him, however, that’s not what primary voters are looking for in a leader anymore.
The tide is definitely changing in American politics, in an unprecedented way. At this point, there’s no way of knowing what the ballot will look like in November, despite the valiant efforts of every pundit on television. One thing is for certain, however, Jeb Bush’s name won’t be on it.
Isabel Giovannetti is a senior at Robinson High School. She loves politics and is part of the Mayor's Youth Leadership Council.