Like the son of many a powerful man before him, Jeb Bush believed that his name would carry him to riches and success. His father and brother were both Presidents of the United States and Jeb believed it was his turn to take the keys to the kingdom that were rightfully his.
Sadly for Jeb, he hasn’t been able to compete in a field so bereft of talent and substance it makes the GOP primary class of 2012 look like a dream team. Mitt Romney was eventually able to beat back the likes of Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, but Jeb Bush can’t get a handle on a racist hotel builder and a brain surgeon who apparently has no brain of his own.
The numbers for Jeb are devastating, and barring a miracle it doesn’t look remotely likely he will be able to turn it around. According to various sources, Bush’s donors are beginning to panic big time – and for good reason. Bush’s numbers are literally in free fall among Republicans. A Monmouth University poll released last week found that Bush was polling at only 5 percent – numbers so terrible he had to make huge cuts to his campaign budget in order to plough money into television ads.
Jeb is in such deep trouble that he has called in not only his father to help allay donor concerns, but his brother – arguably the worst president in the history of the United States. Here’s how Politico covered the closed-door summit:
This exercise in nostalgia, always meant to propel a third Bush candidacy, is instead laying bare how a family held in such high esteem by generations of Republicans no longer represents the party it once led. The few hundred well-heeled Bush-backers here Sunday night are a world apart from conservative voters who have become so resistant to dynastic politics and the GOP’s establishment and donor class…..
Many of these dedicated Bush supporters are no longer denying that the guest of honor is unable to connect with a GOP electorate that has become increasingly fractured and stridently ideological since — and in reaction to — his brother’s presidency. And increasingly, donors say, they are no longer certain the Bush family can pull Jeb’s campaign out of its downward spiral.
It does not take a rocket scientist to understand that the writing is on the wall. The truth is, Jeb Bush cannot win the nomination – a fact that even the conservative media has acknowledged. In a devastating analysis in the National Review, Lawrence Brinton (a pseudonym) analyzed Jeb Bush’s third-quarter fundraising numbers, showing that his funding comes overwhelmingly from major donors. This, argues Brinton, indicates a distinct lack of grass root support – which in modern politics is fatal given their ability to generate enthusiasm and huge amounts of money. Here’s how Brinton sees this playing out:
First, ratios of big- to small-donor money have fallen. The importance of small-donor money has grown. Even the famously plutocratic Romney raised a higher percentage of his money from small donors than did George W. Bush in 2000. Obama’s ratio of small-donor to big-donor money in 2012 was 18 times higher than Gore’s in 2000. Second, Jeb Bush cannot win. I don’t say this because I dislike Jeb. (On the contrary, I think he has virtues as both a candidate and a person.) But the numbers don’t lie. It’s not just that his ratio of big-donor to small-dollar donations is vastly out of sync with the rest of the GOP and Democratic fields today. (Even Romney’s ratio of small-donor to big-donor dollars was more than twice Jeb’s.) Jeb’s big-donor to small-donor ratio is 15:1. No candidate has ever won the nomination with such a heavy reliance on big donors, even at a time when big-donor money made up a much larger percentage of total fundraising.
In other words, it is time for Jeb Bush to pack up his belongings and head home to Florida. As Donald Trump has successfully pointed out, Republican voters are not pining for a return to the Bush years given conservatism was essentially trashed due to his extreme incompetence. They’ll take a megalomaniac reality TV star or a brain-dead brain surgeon over another Bush brat, and the sooner Jeb’s donors realize this, the sooner they can put him out of his misery.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.