If you need any further validation that Bernie Sanders is right about at least one thing, look no further than Jeb Bush. Money in politics is one of the twin pillars of Bernie Sanders’ message to voters, and nowhere is that influence more evident than in the continued existence of the Jeb Bush candidacy, unless it’s in the existential jeopardy that candidacy currently finds itself in.
According to a new PPP poll, more voters in Jeb Bush’s home state of Florida want him to drop out of the presidential race than want him to stay in:
Only 40% of voters in the state think Bush should keep running, compared to 47% who think he should drop out. And the numbers are similar for Rubio with just 42% believing he should continue on with his campaign to 48% who believe he should end it.
The result is sad for Rubio, too, but Bush is a guy who’s supposed to be winning the whole thing, and he can’t even get voters in his own state to want him to stay in. In fact, even among Florida Republicans, 41% want him to drop out, which is not that far off of the 50% of Democrats who say he should hang it up. The news is worst for Bush among independents, only 25% of whom think he should stay in the race.
So Jeb Bush is polling in single-digits nationally, getting trounced in his own state, has his own former constituents telling him to hang it up, and is about to take the stage for the second Republican debate. If he were anyone else, say, Rick Perry, people would be calling this a do-or-die moment for Bush’s campaign, and predicting that a bad performance (which he will definitely deliver) would mean the end of his campaign. No one is saying that, though, because even with his failure to achieve any kind of lift, Jeb Bush has raised huge amounts of money, money that ensures Bush wouldn’t quit even if he wanted to. His donors are pot-committed now, and they’ll keep Jeb around until the bitter end.
Conversely, the main reason Jeb Bush is doing so very poorly is yet another indication that money is too influential in politics. It’s possible that Jeb would never have been the huge success everyone expected him to be, but the fact that Donald Trump has been kicking sand in Jeb’s face for months has been the deciding factor in Bush’s depressing showing. Trump’s own personal, bottomless war chest ensures that the other candidates, the media, and the RNC know that he can hang around until the bitter end, too. Ironically, Trump hasn’t had to spend any money to overtake the entire field, and may never have to, but it was the money that made anyone take him seriously as a candidate to begin with.
Don’t feel too sorry for Jeb Bush, though, he’ll find something else to do. As a great American once said, “There’s always barber college.”