Jeb Bush Doesn't Want You To Vote? Not Quite
A video clip from Thursday showing former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush appearing to imply not voting at all would be a positive has, unsurprisingly, gone viral. In the clip, Bush appeared to tell reporters, "Well, if everybody didn't vote, that would be a pretty powerful political statement, wouldn't it?" Talking Points Memo tweeted, "Jeb Bush thinks it would be 'powerful' statement if nobody voted this year." The Today Show tweeted, "WATCH: @JebBush suggests he may not vote at all this fall #Decision2016." However, it's not clear that encouraging people not to vote was Bush's intention.
In the full context of the questions he fielded from reporters, as noted by CNN, it doesn't actually seem like he had suggested Americans shouldn't vote. First of all, Bush made it clear that he, himself, was voting for someone — that someone just wasn't Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. "It's not a binary choice for me," Bush said. "The presidency is a place where, for whatever reason, I'm not comfortable supporting either party's nominee."
Secondly, according to the CNN report, Bush was asked, "What would happen if the average voter took his stance and didn't vote for Clinton or Trump?" That's when he said, "Well, if everybody didn't vote, that would be a pretty powerful political statement, wouldn't it?" In that context, it seems far more likely he was referring to if everyone didn't vote for either of the two major-party candidates.
Clearly, that won't be the case. The vast majority of Americans will vote for Trump or Clinton. But Bush certainly won't be alone if he ultimately casts his ballot for a third-party candidate. According to the latest RealClearPolitics averages, Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson and Green party candidate Jill Stein are getting about 10 percent of voters, combined.