Jeb Bush, a resounding name in the political landscape of the newly opened campaign for the 2016 presidential election, doesn’t come as a surprise. The heir of a heavy name in the bid for the White House’s most coveted seat, Mr. Bush is widely expected to run for president. Yet he seems to be struggling with the confidence of the American voters, his party loyalty and the lightness of political declarations.
In staunch contrast to Hillary Clinton, his political opponent, Jeb Bush’s inheritance of the past is putting his chances off in the eyes of the American public. At least according to polls conducted by Fox News or ABC News-Washington Post. Fox News questioned the US public as to whether or not being related to former presidents is a bump forward.
In the case of Jeb Bush, aged 62, the overwhelming majority suggested that it is a clear disadvantage (58 to 34 percent). Hillary Clinton had it easy, the response to her connection to former president Bill Clinton having been positively vetted (52 to 39 percent).
The ABC News-Washington Post poll sheds some light on the background of these results. Asked how they evaluate the presidencies of former leaders George W. B. Bush and Bill Clinton, the results were negative for the Bush era, with 51 percent of the poll participants disagreeing. The Clinton era received only 23 percent negative feedback.
But does this mean all hope is lost for Jeb Bush? Mr. Bush seems to be trying to run a cleaner campaign than his opponents, at least financially. At the same time he is addressing what the American public sees as a problem: the heavy influence of big donors in the politics of the White House and campaign transparency.
From this perspective, Jeb Bush has vouched to keep his campaign finances under the 1 billion dollars threshold reached by presidential candidates in former campaigns. He stated that a smarter team could run a leaner operation and that such an exorbitant sum is not necessary.
Such statements made the day of the advocates of tighter campaign regulation and campaign finance reform. It might mean one more dismissal of credibility should the threshold be exceeded.
Until then, however, this might be a break in the unfolding of events, with critics arguing that he has acted more aggressively than any presidential candidate before him to raise money for a “super PAC” and for a related political nonprofit run by close aides. What Mr. Bush is doing is that he is offloading major costs of his likely campaign to “independent” groups that can raise and spend unlimited money.
The latest fundraiser set in motion by Jeb Bush’s team was held at the Hotel South Beach, Miami. It boasted a high number of Republican major donors and fundraisers. It also boasted an environment that stands in opposition with Republican policy tracks.
Gay couples strolling in the hotel lobby, leaflets advertising the Tesla electrical car, sustainability focused magazines and Paleo diet adjusted meals were as many symbols of a new approach. It may be argued that it was a political move for gaining wider support in the electoral base as well as from donors.
Yet, it might also be argued that Mr. Bush is only playing the political game in a more relaxed, inviting and contemporary way than his opponents. While a conservative in all matters political, he invited his guests to an openly left-leaning location, leaving many wondering about how much of this event was posing and how much a break from his party’s political lines.
Against this background, it is still unclear what the unfolding of the campaign is. What can be stated for sure is that so far, even if struggling with the acceptance of the political past of his family and the reluctance of the American voters as to whether a third Bush could bring something new, Jeb Bush stands a fair chance in light of his openness to a new direction.
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