Earlier, I celebrated the likely doom of donor-class poster-boy Jeb Bush by declaring how great it was to be wrong (for once in my life). I was earlier so convinced of his (and Clinton’s) win that I literally declared, “Jeb Bush will absolutely be the GOP nominee in 2016.” This was back in December 2014 but there was no reason to believe anything different. After all, I have never seen anyone but the Establishment pick for either party win the nomination. The Dems in 2004 and the Repubs in 2012 served as case studies.
Now don’t get me wrong — the eventual donor-class pick will still likely win. It’s just looking more like Rubio as big-time bundlers are fleeing the sinking Bush ship in favor of the new kid in town.
For a sobering counterpoint, here is this piece from Hotair reminding us to never, ever discount someone with the last name Bush, no matter how hopeless he looks right now:
“The best I can come up with for a victory scenario is that the modern Republican donor class always gets who it wants as nominee. The day will come when that’s no longer true, but until Jeb is officially out of this race, you bet against the favored son at your peril.”
The scenario he and fellow conservative Byron York lay out is essentially a retread of Romney 2012: The other candidates tear each other apart or self-destruct, and Bush is the last reasonable option by the time New Hampshire rolls around. Even Tea Partiers would conclude by then he’s their best shot against Clinton as opposed to either by-then badly damaged properties like Carson or also-rans like Rand Paul. After all, Jeb! is still sitting on that massive SuperPAC which can still carry along the lifeless corpse of his campaign, Weekend at Bernie’s style, in the mid-low singles until then.
That Bush is both a terrible politician and would be a terrible president is besides the point. The donor class is not used to not getting their first choice, and many will never desert Bush until his concession speech, no matter how much Rubio may surge.
Granted, he’s still a long shot. But the last time the Establishment didn’t get their first choice was freaking 1980. (Was Rubio even born then?) On the Democratic side, the voters got over their Sanders boomlet and are now toeing the line. There still remains a nonzero chance their Republican counterparts will do the same.