RIP, specter of a third Bush presidency

Share on Nextdoor

The presidential candidacy of former Florida Governor Jeb "Jus' Jeb!"  Bush succumbed to The Void late Saturday after a months-long struggle with voter indifference.

The candidacy was taken off life support on the heels of an embarrassing loss in South Carolina's Republican primary, in which the candidate, despite formidable fundraising and establishment support, had a showing of less than 10 percent.

"I'm proud of the campaign that we've run to unify our country and to advocate conservative solutions that would give more Americans the opportunity to rise up and reach their God-given potential," Bush said, appearing emotional, according to the News Service of Florida. "But the people of Iowa and New Hampshire and South Carolina have spoken, and I really respect their decision, so tonight I am suspending my campaign."

The announcement marks the end of speculation, for now, that there might be a third Bush presidency.

It also heralds a strange turn in American politics, namely for Republicans, that, nine months ago, no one saw coming.

In a word: Trump.

With billionaire real estate tycoon Donald Trump in the once very crowded race for the GOP nomination, Bush's candidacy appeared comparatively pallid, or as Trump put it, "low energy," which only grew over numerous debates in which Bush barely chimed in.

The Donald's grip on the GOP zeitgeist hasn't loosened since his June announcement that he's running for president, which many political observers scoffed at as a vanity run (some probably still do), which is a terrifying prospect for the GOP establishment as well as most Democrats, given Trump's brashness and apparent lack of understanding on multiple issues. Trump came in second in Iowa, which has a stronger evangelical showing, before going on to win New Hampshire and South Carolina.

The Bush candidacy is survived by Trump, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, who took second place by a hair, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, who placed in third, Ohio Gov. John Kasich and surgeon Ben Carson.

It also makes Rubio the only candidate from Florida left in the race. (And Carson, we suppose; he's also technically sorta from Florida and technically sorta still in the race.)

"He was the greatest governor in the history of Florida, and I believe and I pray that his service to our country has not yet ended,'' Rubio said of Jeb! Saturday night.

With Trump (not an establishment favorite) and Cruz (who thinks the Holy Bible trumps the U.S. Constitution) as the two most popular GOP candidates, it's likely that Rubio will inherit the bulk of Bush's stash of establishment support, especially in Florida, where he's already a smidge cozy with the state GOP.

Saturday also marked the Democratic caucus in Nevada, where Hillary Clinton won against progressive favorite Bernie Sanders.

Nevada's GOP caucus is Tuesday, followed by South Carolina's Democratic primary on Saturday.

Scroll to read more News Feature articles

Newsletters

Join Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.