I like Jeb Bush. I like Mitt Romney. I believe both men want what’s best for the country and they could really bridge gaps if they were ever given a chance in the White House. Unfortunately, neither has the ability to win for the very reason that many Republicans believe they can. Both are too moderate.
The Republican Establishment continues to try to win by being closer to the center. This goes against everything we’ve seen on the last four decades, but it seems to be set in stone in the playbook. Bob Dole, Mitt Romney, and [mc_name name=’Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’M000303′ ] failed to win because they were too moderate. George H. W. Bush lost his second term because he proved how moderate he really was in his first term.
Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush won two terms because they positioned themselves as conservatives. As it turned out, G.W. Bush was only conservative on foreign relations, but his moderate domestic policy views almost lost his second term. If it weren’t for 9/11, the Gulf War, and swift boats, John Kerry would have likely beaten him. Reagan was mostly conservative and he never really had a chance of losing.
On the other side of the fence, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama won because they promoted a very liberal agenda. In 2016, Hillary Clinton is arguably the least liberal of the major candidates but she’s still further to the left than Bush is to the right. Whether we like it or not, she will be viewed as the more passionate in a head-to-head battle with Bush.
Jeb Bush is going to position himself as the man who can win when he announces on Monday. He will reach across the aisle to garner independent voters. He will try to win over the conservative side of the party. He will try to be everything to everyone. That’s why he will lose.
Polarizing is a bad thing to the Republican Establishment, but it’s what wins elections. People don’t get excited by candidates who are close to the middle. They never have. The Republican Establishment outsmarts itself by looking at the numbers and running projections that show where people stand on issues. They don’t realize that emotion is the key to winning elections.
Like Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush fails to inspire. Like Romney, Bush has actions in his past that go against a conservative way of thinking and like Romney he will be positioned as unstable in his beliefs and waffling on his convictions. He will not be able to galvanize his base and he will not be able to inspire the type of passion that’s required to win a presidential election.
Logic states that Bush will get more money, reach more independents, and be more universally acceptable to American voters. Logic, unfortunately, doesn’t win elections as has been proven by the last three Presidents. Emotion wins elections. Jeb Bush, if nominated, is incapable of winning the presidency.