Bush = Romney?



Written by Gary L. Bauer

In a recent interview, Florida Governor Jeb Bush implied that he was following Mitt Romney’s 2012 playbook. Asked about his current standing in the race, Bush said, “What happens in October is completely irrelevant. Ask me how it is going in January.”

The thinking goes like this: In 2008 and 2012, the establishment candidates initially struggled, but eventually overpowered their lesser known, underfunded conservative challengers.

Jeb Bush, clearly the establishment’s choice in 2016, is following this model. But there are a number of problems with this analysis.

First, Bush’s polling is pathetic. While voters flirted with various candidates at various times throughout the 2012 cycle, Mitt Romney was always in contention. The same cannot be said for Bush.

At this point in the 2012 campaign, Romney was running neck and neck with Herman Cain. In stark contrast, national polls show Bush is currently in fifth place — where Ron Paul was at this point in 2011.

Now consider some state polling: Bush is sixth in Iowa at 7%. He’s fourth in New Hampshire at 9%. He’s fifth in South Carolina at 6%. He’s fifth in California at 8%. He’s seventh in Ohio at 4%. He’s even running third in his home state of Florida!

Just look at those percentages — 7%, 6%, 4% — for the guy with the name everyone knows. Voters just aren’t interested in a third Bush presidency.

Bush does have one big advantage: Money. Super PACs supporting his candidacy have raised in excess of $100 million. Clearly it has not helped him yet.

But money becomes more important as the process moves on, as candidates have to buy expensive TV ads to remain viable in the primaries. It’s even more important when there are multiple primaries on the same day. That’s where the establishment candidates really begin to take control.

We’ve already seen two candidates (Perry and Walker) drop out for lack of funds. Other campaigns are reportedly on “death watch,” just hoping to make it until the next debate. Bush can wait them out. As he indicated, he’s looking to January. But money is meaningless if his numbers don’t improve.

Here’s another problem for Bush: There were no self-funding billionaires in 2008 or 2012. Donald Trump is a total wild card. He can stay in the race as long as he wants, and he seems to be serious this time. How does that play out?

This commentary was originally published by CWFPAC.com.