With three primaries out of the way, the list of GOP candidates has now been whittled down to a meager five from its initial list of seventeen. The most recent dropout comes courtesy of former Florida governor Jeb Bush, who has “suspended” his campaign after several disappointing performances.
Bush’s under-performing campaign is shocking, given that he was declared an early favorite among many big-name Republicans. This is not surprising, as he looked perfect, on paper anyway. He was a successful governor of a swing state, had the legacy (for better or worse) of his name, and was strong on a number of policy issues.
Unfortunately, the “Jeb!” campaign was more like “….Jeb?” It lacked the vibrancy and empowering message that Rubio, Cruz, and dare I say, Donald Trump were able to bring to the table. At debates, Jeb put in average performances and stood out as the only candidate to consistently go toe-to-toe with Trump, and for that I commend him, but by the end, it was hard to watch. “Please clap” has to go down as one of the most awkward gaffes in campaign history. Between the awkward gaffes and inability to excite a crowd, Bush failed to rise above the rest of the field.
For most conservatives, Bush was never going to be their top choice, but I think we can admit that he would have made a good president- not a great president, but a good one.
He left his campaign with grace and dignity, saying that “I congratulate my competitors that are remaining on the island, on their success for a race that has been hard-fought…I’ve had an incredible life, and for me, public service has been the highlight of that life.”
Thank you for your service, Governor Bush.
It looks like the American political scene is free of Bushes for the first time in decades. The old-guard of the Republican party is on the decline, and time will only tell what will take its place.