Being Jeb Bush probably means that your surname is an asset and also a problem in the presidential race. So how much is America ready or not ready to consider another Bush for the White House? Read few comments.
Barry Burden, Professor of Political Science, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Americans will often say that they are not fond of political dynasties but in the end they frequently vote for candidates from prominent families. Both the Adams family and the Roosevelt family sent two presidents to the White House. Many states have elected multiple leaders from the same family lineage. The Kennedys of Massachusetts are a prominent example of that.
Jeb Bush comes to the campaign with many advantages, including support from the Republican Party establishment. First he will need to convince primary voters that he is more conservative than his brother. If he wins the nomination, he will then have to convince general election voters that he is more competent and less ideological than his brother. That is a challenging course to follow but not impossible.
John Pitney, Professor of Politics, Claremont McKenna College
Bush has a serious chance. He has a strong record as governor of Florida. His positions on most issues will appeal to Republican conservatives. As a Spanish-speaking husband of a Mexican immigrant, he also has some appeal to Hispanic voters, who have tended to reject Republicans in recent years.
But his name is a burden. The United States has had dynasties in the past (the Adams, Harrison, and Roosevelt families), but it would be a stretch to have three members of the same immediate family in the White House during one lifetime. Moreover, though attitudes toward George W. Bush has softened slightly, he still draws hostility and resentment on both sides of the spectrum. Liberals dislike him because of Iraq. Conservatives dislike him because of the growth of government during his tenure. This ill will inevitably weakens Jeb Bush. Yet another problem is the strong possibility that the Democratic nominee will be Hillary Clinton. At a time when Americans have tired of politics as usual, do they really want another Bush-Clinton race?
Donna Hoffman, Associate Professor, Department Head, Department of Political Science, University of Northern Iowa
Jeb Bush’s surname gives him a level of name recognition that many in the Republican field will not have. In addition, he has significant political accomplishments of his own, being a two-term governor of Florida. However, there could certainly be a bit of Bush-fatigue among voters. But before we would have another Bush in a general election campaign (potentially against a Clinton), he would first have to win his party’s nomination. His prospects there are uncertain. The Republican field looks to be quite crowded for 2016 and the dynamics of that race could be particularly interesting. If several more establishment Republicans (Rubio, Christie, Romney) are also in the race, the dynamics are quite different than if Bush becomes the favorite establishment pick against several more conservative candidates (Paul, Carson, Cruz, Huckabee, Santorum). It’s too early to tell how those dynamics will play out. But Bush is certainly a serious candidate (should he choose to formally enter the nomination race) and at this point, it would be unwise to write him off.
Eric Ostermeier, Research Associate, Center for the Study of Politics and Governance, University of Minnesota
Speculation that Jeb Bush would run for president has circulated for years after leaving his office as Governor of Florida in January 2007.
Bush smartly waited a few election cycles to explore a presidential run to put some distance between his candidacy and the presidency of his polarizing brother George W. Bush.
That said, despite the passage of time, there will still be nearly as many critics of a Bush nominee, and probably more, as there will be for “another Clinton” nominee with Hillary Rodham Clinton.
The difference is that Hillary Clinton is much more popular among Democrats at the moment than Jeb Bush is among Republicans.
The base of the Republican Party is still trending away from “establishment candidates,” as evidenced by the record low primary victories by many Republican U.S. Senate candidates in the 2014 cycle who faced strong challengers within their party.
The question is whether, in the end, Republicans get nervous and coalesce around a “safe nominee” – like they did with Mitt Romney in 2012 – or will they choose a more conservative nominee.
There is one thing in Bush’s favor – admittedly early in the 2016 campaign – and that is this: most of the Republicans who are rumored to be considering a run for president are not “establishment” candidates like Bush but politicians who are associated with the more conservative “tea party” wing. That may divide the anti-Bush vote and give him a greater chance to win his party’s nomination.
Steven Greene, Associate Professor of Political Science, North Carolina State University
I’ll be honest, I’ve got a lot more uncertainty on Jeb in 2016 than most US electoral politics topics. On the one hand, he’s a very mainstream GOP figure with a well-known name and that is exactly the type of candidate who typically wins Republican primaries. On the other, he is clearly out of step with the Tea Party on immigration and Common Core and the Tea Party is where the energy of the party is when it comes to the primaries. Likewise, being a “Bush” brings instant recognition and, to some degree, national credibility. And, of course, a huge fund-raising network which can prove key in presidential nomination politics. On the other hand, being a Bush certainly does not help him with Democratic voters and his brother has been largely disowned by much of the Tea Party.
I wish I could be more certain… “this means Jeb Bush …” but there’s just so much that cuts both ways in his candidacy. On the bright side, that’s what makes it so interesting!
And of course, if we actually had another Bush face off against another Clinton– wow!