If you ask anyone close to the Jeb Bush campaign if they’re concerned about their candidate’s dismal polling, they insist that there’s absolutely nothing to worry about. They have an enormous war chest, they’re playing the slow game, and Donald Trump’s dominance will eventually fizzle out. When it does, Mr. Presidential will claim his rightful ground as the Republican nominee.
But according to recent reports, all that bravado is masking some serious turmoil inside the former Florida governor’s campaign. Politico reported last week that several of Bush’s top fundraisers have left the campaign, either leaving of their own volition or fired, depending on who you believe.
The departures came at a time of uncertainty for Bush. While he has had massive success raising money for his Super PAC, he is overseeing an official campaign that has many more staffers but far less money. And POLITICO reported one Bush fundraiser expressed concerns about the slowing pace of the campaign’s fundraising after Bush’s shaky debate performance.
Aside from monetary concerns, Bush is facing dwindling poll numbers every time the electorate is surveyed. Trump, a relentless critic, alluded to this at a press conference last week, telling a reporter that he would have to find someone else to focus on. In other words, Bush was no longer a threat.
But a broad look at the shape of this election shows that Bush is as much a victim of himself as he is of Trump’s popularity. Before Trump was even known to be a serious candidate, conservatives were vehemently rejecting the thought of a Bush presidency. His record on Common Core, his comments on illegal immigration, and his deference to President Obama are just a few of the things that have turned potential supporters into enemies. Combine that with the general “no more Bushes” sentiment – one that crosses party lines – and you have a candidate ill-suited for victory.
With $100 million or more wrapped up in his Right to Rise Super PAC, Bush isn’t going to run out of money anytime soon. But unless he can find a way to convince the Republican base that he’s not just a liberal in disguise, all the money in the world won’t make a difference.