As we approach the South Carolina primaries, it would seem clear to many that Jeb Bush is in an increasingly delicate position. One of the more moderate “establishment” candidates, polls are placing him behind the conservative front-runners, while recent vicious attacks coming from Donald Trump have done nothing but further weaken his already questionable position.
Can Jeb Bush go higher in polls?
Recent conservative polls place him vying for fourth place in South Carolina, where Donald Trump is still in the lead and Texas Senator Ted Cruz is tied for second place with Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who, up until recently, was considered to be Jeb Bush’s main adversary.
In light of these recent outcomes, it would seem only natural that Jeb Bush, political heir to the Bush family, attempts to bring out “the big guns”, as he hinted in a Twitter post recently. The ace up his sleeve in this instance appears to be his older brother, former president George W. Bush, who has appeared alongside the Republican candidate during his campaign in South Carolina. The role played by the elder brother is a dual one in this case.
South Carolina, a big test for Jeb
On one hand, George W. Bush has tried to assure undecided South Carolinians that casting their vote for Jeb Bush would imply bringing another Bush into the White House, reverting to the same kind of conservative presidential policy from 2001 to 2009. The second objective of the former president has been to retaliate against Donald Trump’s attacks, which he has done by comparing him with Jeb Bush and referring to the Republican front-runner as being full of “empty rhetoric” and “theatrics”.
The relaxed demeanor of George W. Bush may have been a breath of fresh air for his younger brother’s campaign, but a natural question that many may ask would be why did Jeb Bush wait so long until to bring his brother into the fray? One argument that can be made in this sense is that the popularity of the Bush family has been an uncertain one in recent years, with criticism of the Iraq war still echoing in minds of both Republican and Democrat voters.
Big brother’s George implication wasn’t impressive until now
In fact, a recent survey indicates that more than half of Americans believe that going to war in Iraq in 2003 was a wrong decision. The impact of George W. Bush on his brother’s campaign has also been considered to be somewhat of a double-edged sword, according to The Washington Post, having a negative potential in some states. However, with South Carolina’s heavy military population, it has been viewed as being more of a positive one than a negative.
One thing that is becoming clearer is that voters have started becoming fed up with the traditional establishment politics, both on the Democrat and Republican sides. Obvious proof of this is the rise of unconventional candidates such as Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, respectively. Whether or not this wind of change will truly bring a gust of fresh air to American politics remains to be seen. Perhaps radical policies still do not have the momentum to trump traditionalism and brand names such as the Bush family.