Home/Daniel Larison/Bush Has Lost, But His Campaign Continues

Bush Has Lost, But His Campaign Continues

Bush and his allies don’t seem inclined to give up just yet:

Interviews Thursday with strategists and fundraisers throughout the Republican firmament underscored that there are no particularly attractive options for Bush to breathe new life into his campaign. But top Bush campaign officials said they would not be panicked by what one dismissively called “the insanity of pundit world.”

Jeb Bush’s campaign was alwaysill-advised, and I was sure a year ago that “there is much, much less to a Bush candidacy than meets the eye.” Even so, Bush and his backers haven’t come this far just to bow out now because of one disastrous debate. Indeed, it would be strange for any candidate with as many resources at his disposal as Bush has to fold his tent so soon. Perhaps he should for the sake of his own dignity, but I doubt that will happen.

As it happens, I agree with Rod Dreher that Bush is indeed finished in that I am pretty sure he isn’t going to win anything, but I suspect that his campaign is going to drag things out as long as they can. In that respect, they are demonstrating a time-honored Bush family tradition of remaining oblivious to the most obvious political realities until long after everyone else has acknowledged them. The same willful blindness that allows Jeb Bush to insist George W. Bush “kept us safe” will likely keep him from accepting that his campaign is doomed for many more months.

Jonathan Bernstein made an interesting observation that Bush hasn’t really been running as a generic “establishment” candidate, but instead has been a factional candidate of the Bush family and its allies. That necessarily limits his ability to gain support from other parts of the party, but because he is the only candidate representing this faction he is going to continue to have their support for some time to come. Bush is weighed down by his family name in many respects, but it’s also the main reason why he has received as much support as he has thus far, and it is why I imagine that his family’s network of supporters isn’t going to give him up on him despite the fact that he is clearly a terrible candidate with very little chance at winning the nomination.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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