John Kasich's Campaign Has No Chill
It's a bird, it's a plane, it's ... sinking Jeb Bush? By now, it's no secret that the former Florida governor has struggled to meet the expectations of many pundits and supporters who had predicted he was a shoo-in for the Republican nomination in 2016. As the Iowa caucus and the New Hampshire primary loom closer and closer, Ohio governor John Kasich's campaign wants to turn Bush's former supporters into Kasich's much-needed votes.
Bush, who seemed to be a favorite among GOP'ers early on, has remained closer to the middle of the pack lately. According to Real Clear Politics, Bush had less than 5 percent of the national Republican primary vote with just about two weeks left until the Iowa caucus. What's perhaps more interesting than Bush's lackluster performance so far is that Kasich, a candidate faring even worse than Bush in the polls, has taken to targeting his would-have-been supporters. According to the same roundup from Real Clear Politics, Kasich had less than 3 percent of the vote among Republican primary voters nationwide. Still, since at least Saturday, Kasich has been asking voters, "What happened to 'Jeb!'?" in a new campaign tactic that positions Kasich as the "better, brighter way."
On Saturday, Kasich's campaign released a new video ad that describes Bush's downfall. It even starts with Bush's campaign logo — the unforgettable red "Jeb!" — only the exclamation point has been substituted with a question mark. "He had the name, the money, the support, and yet a lukewarm message, weak debates, and sagging polls have left Jeb attacking John Kasich in desperation," a narrator says. The ad then runs through a highlight reel of Kasich's accomplishments and ends with the charge, "America, there's a better, brighter way: John Kasich."
Kasich's campaign has been tweeting the video and attacks on Bush throughout the week. The video is posted on a Kasich-approved website called SinkingJeb.com. The one-page site features the video and a donation portal for Kasich's campaign. It reads, "Jeb planned to take America by storm, but instead he's fizzling."
It's obviously not a new or revolutionary idea to attack political opponents individually during a campaign. Bush himself has been attacking Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio regularly in what seems to be an attempt to demonstrate the energy and fierceness that many have found Bush to lack. Particularly in the current Republican race, it's almost necessary for the candidates to steal votes away from each other if they want to garner enough support to win. The field is crowded and the number of candidates is subdividing the GOP voting block even more than usual. To have a real impact, though, the candidates — including Kasich — are going to need to work quickly, as the primary season officially starts with the Iowa caucus on February 1.