Americans looking for a president who will finally bring people together have much to appreciate in Jeb Bush. Not because his message resonates across party lines, but because he appears to be equally disliked on both sides of the aisle. This was made abundantly clear in Derry, New Hampshire this week when a diverse collection of protestors swarmed the Adams Memorial Opera House. They were gathered to express their disdain for the GOP presidential candidate, putting aside their political disagreements to focus on a common enemy.
Common, in fact, is a good word to use in this instance, because Bush’s support for Common Core educational standards is among his most controversial stances. Teachers, parents, and conservatives have railed against the standards for years, and many registered Republicans are dismayed to see a pro-CC candidate rise to the top of the polls. The standards have come to stand for federal intrusion into public schools, making Common Core a political minefield even apart from the very real problems with the standards themselves.
Not all of the protestors were there to yell about education, however. The Great Uniter brought out angry citizens from every corner of the political spectrum. Some had signs accusing Bush of standing against climate change efforts. Some were angry about his confusing stance on Iraq. Others wanted to know why he wouldn’t take a stand against NSA spying. Liberals, Tea Party members, and “no-label” independents joined forces to reject the former Florida governor.
A Severe Disconnect
Protestors notwithstanding, the polls don’t lie. Bush continues to enjoy a comfortable lead in national surveys, and most analysts believe his showdown with Hillary Clinton is all but inevitable. Despite his obvious lack of popularity among conservatives, Bush seems poised to emerge the Republican nominee. Granted, a lot can happen in the next seven or eight months, but let’s assume the pundits are right. How is it that we’re headed for Jeb vs. Hillary if the American people want nothing less? Is something broken?
The answer, sadly, is of course something is broken. And it’s no great mystery what that something is. Jeb Bush is going to take the nomination because the people who oppose him are the ones who are politically active. Make no mistake, the vast majority of Americans do not even have the 2016 race on their minds right now. Conservatives sounding the warning bells on Bush make up only a fraction of the electorate, and the same can be said for those pulling for Bernie Sanders. Meanwhile, everyone else will be hearing one major song for the next year: “Jeb and Hillary, Hillary and Jeb, a vote for anyone else is a vote for the trash.”
Until a bigger percentage of Americans realize that there really is a difference between Democrats and Republicans and that the wrong president can have an enormous impact on policy, the economy, and one’s quality of life, we’re going to get what the media gives us. The elites have decided it’s going to be Bush and Clinton. We cringe, but it’s only because we’re actually paying attention. As they say, ignorance is bliss.