If Jeb Bush Doesn’t Do This In The GOP Debate, It’ll Be The End For His Campaign
On paper, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush makes a great Republican presidential candidate, but sometimes a great résumé just doesn't cut it. Based on the polls, as well as the last few GOP debates, Bush's campaign may be nearing an end. Unlike leading Republican candidates Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, Bush represents moderate Republican ground, giving voters an establishment alternative. But, to prove himself to those voters, he needs to approach his stance with more confidence.
Bush has failed to step up to the plate and make himself relevant in a number of ways during the past debates, but luckily for him, he's got one last chance to convince America that he's presidential material. After all, it seems to run in his family given the fact that both his brother and father have served as president in the past.
Questions about Bush's confidence onstage surfaced following the Republicans' third debate in Colorado last October, when Bush unsuccessfully took a jab at Marco Rubio's voting record. Rubio quickly dismissed him and the camera wheeled around to reveal a confused Jeb Bush. After the debate finished, he expressed regret to CNN regarding his performance ability, saying:
I'm running for president of the United States. I'm running with heart. I'm not a performer. If they're looking for an entertainer-in-chief, I'm probably not your guy.
But in order to show the public that the heart is there, he has to perform (or debate) with passion, especially while competing with big, loud personalities. He continued to speak to the press immediately following the debate and attempted to redeem himself by implying that he's a guy who takes action as opposed to one who simply talks about it and never follows through. Said Bush:
I wish I could talk as well as some of the people on the stage, the big personalities on the stage. But I'm a doer.
As early as that October debate, NBC News grimly noted that Bush's campaign was on life support. Contrary to their doubts, Bush has persevered through the rough and tumble race, but at this point, he's crawling. The day following the debate, however, Bush weakly denied NBC's statement. "It's not on life support," he said. "We have the most money, we have the greatest organization. We're doing fine."
But as Trump's supporters have shown, people aren't looking for an establishment candidate who has an impressive record on paper. It may have been enough in the past, but this time, by remaining in the shadows, Jeb Bush simply isn't staying relevant. He's not sparking excitement, anger, or any sort of powerful emotion, for that matter. According to CNN's Poll of Polls updated on Monday, Bush comes in at just 4 percent support nationwide. If he wants to gain some momentum, he's going to have to get confident in Thursday's debate and speak with vivacity.
Unlike the last few times when his insults fizzled, Bush will have to successfully attack the other big name candidates on stage. He's already called Trump a "jerk," "unhinged," and a "chaos candidate" as The New York Times pointed out. In the latest debates, Bush satisfied audiences by lashing out at Trump... he just needs to do a little more of it. Usually, he's interrupted and kicked out of the conversation by Trump's loud mouth, but the Florida Governor turned a new leaf during January's first debate. He used basic logic to explain why banning Muslims, as Trump had suggested, would be an absolutely horrible idea. He suggested that instead, America should have a more thorough screening process for Syrian refugees.
This policy is a policy that makes it impossible to build the coalition necessary to take out ISIS. The Kurds are our strongest allies. They're Muslim. You're not going to even allow them to come to our country? The other Arab countries have a role to play in this. ... We don't have to have refugees come to our country, but all Muslims? Seriously?
Bush brought it to the table, proving to himself and the nation that he can step up to the plate. He furthered a moderate viewpoint that is currently not represented by the Republican party's leading candidates, and that's exactly what the party needs. But, in order to keep his head above water, he must represent the moderate Republican establishment more aggressively, because right now, his moderate right-wing politics are his biggest strength.