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A teary-eyed Jeb Bush announced what we’ve all been anticipating to a room full of his supporters on Saturday; the latest member of the Bush dynasty dropped out of the presidential race after finishing fourth to Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio in South Carolina. It was the last in a string of disappointing finishes for Bush.
“Tonight I am suspending my campaign,” Bush stated on Saturday to an emotional audience. “The people of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina have spoken.”
The campaign suspension came with relative grace, as other candidates offered their support to Bush and his family after the announcement, and in his exit speech not one explicit mention was made of Donald Trump, who relentlessly attacked Bush throughout his campaign.
Despite the relatively graceful departure, Jeb Bush’s campaign was woefully doomed to fail right from the start.
He was skeptical of entering the presidential race from the get-go. He left government in 2007 and had not run for office since 2002. He was rusty as a campaigner, to state the least, and was consequently met with questions and doubt by voters. Many questioned whether he would be able to stand up to modern-day politics after his hiatus.
He held an early lead in the polls, but began declining in popularity last spring. He spent a large portion of his campaign money on advertisements attacking fellow candidates, specifically Marco Rubio, which angered many of his donors.
Bush learned the hard way that the Republican party had changed drastically since his departure from government in 2007, and he simply was not meeting its expectations. He held views that put him at odds with many Republicans, including his support of immigration and educational reform.
He also struggled immensely with his family name in a nation that is “wary of dynasties.” He was asked countless questions about his brother George W. Bush’s decision to invade Iraq, to which he avoided and delayed his answers. He stated very little to indicate that he would act any differently than his brother and father in a nation that no longer trusts the Bush family name.
And perhaps the most-publicized point of all, Bush just couldn’t handle his bully: The Donald. He was never quite able to successfully deal with Trump’s “schoolyard taunting.” He accused Bush of being “low energy” after he insisted that he would run his campaign on a “joyful” notion – an attack that would continuously haunt him throughout the remainder of his campaign.
Jeb Bush was running for a presidential election on 2007 principles and the Republican party had clearly moved on without him.
Following Bush’s campaign suspension, many of his supporters will now likely gravitate toward Marco Rubio, his former protege. The candidates’ next test will be Super Tuesday on March 1, when multiple southern states will cast ballots.
Photo courtesy of dw.com