Bush exit clears field a little for Anyone But Trump nominee

EDITORIAL

The withdrawal of Jeb Bush from the race to be the Republican nominee for US President, after finishing a distant fourth in the South Carolina primary, is another seminal moment in a campaign that has produced one surprise after another.

The former governor of Florida, and son and brother of former presidents, was initially seen as the party establishment’s choice and had been backed by a PAC (Political Action Committee) war chest of $US120 million, of which $US92m has been spent.

Entirely different from his brother George W. (Dubya), Jeb Bush was a thoughtful candidate who was more inclined to focus on policy. In this respect he was no match for the acerbic Donald Trump, the focus of multiple Bush attack ads who in turn ridiculed Bush as low-energy and even went to the extent of insulting his Mexican-American wife.

The family connection was not a help in the end for Bush, who seemed flustered by press questions as to whether he would have invaded Iraq as his brother did. He indicated that he probably would not have.

His exit now is actually good news for the Republican establishment as they try to settle on an alternative to Trump.

They are left with Ted Cruz, who is widely disliked and portrays himself as an anti-establishment candidate, Ohio governor John Kasich, or Marco Rubio — a former protégé of Jeb Bush, who would be much more to their liking but has stumbled in debates.

To the surprise of the pundits and commentators, not to mention the rest of the world, Donald Trump almost seems unstoppable.

On the Democrat side Hillary Clinton still finds it hard to shake off self-declared socialist Bernie Sanders, another candidate whose party leaders believe is not electable — although he could win in a showdown with Trump and Michael Bloomberg standing as an independent.

In the past a number of outsiders have come to the fore in presidential primaries, only to fade away as time went on. That is not happening now and makes this one of the most fascinating campaigns for decades.

The withdrawal of Jeb Bush from the race to be the Republican nominee for US President, after finishing a distant fourth in the South Carolina primary, is another seminal moment in a campaign that has produced one surprise after another.

The former governor of Florida, and son and brother of former presidents, was initially seen as the party establishment’s choice and had been backed by a PAC (Political Action Committee) war chest of $US120 million, of which $US92m has been spent.

Entirely different from his brother George W. (Dubya), Jeb Bush was a thoughtful candidate who was more inclined to focus on policy. In this respect he was no match for the acerbic Donald Trump, the focus of multiple Bush attack ads who in turn ridiculed Bush as low-energy and even went to the extent of insulting his Mexican-American wife.

The family connection was not a help in the end for Bush, who seemed flustered by press questions as to whether he would have invaded Iraq as his brother did. He indicated that he probably would not have.

His exit now is actually good news for the Republican establishment as they try to settle on an alternative to Trump.

They are left with Ted Cruz, who is widely disliked and portrays himself as an anti-establishment candidate, Ohio governor John Kasich, or Marco Rubio — a former protégé of Jeb Bush, who would be much more to their liking but has stumbled in debates.

To the surprise of the pundits and commentators, not to mention the rest of the world, Donald Trump almost seems unstoppable.

On the Democrat side Hillary Clinton still finds it hard to shake off self-declared socialist Bernie Sanders, another candidate whose party leaders believe is not electable — although he could win in a showdown with Trump and Michael Bloomberg standing as an independent.

In the past a number of outsiders have come to the fore in presidential primaries, only to fade away as time went on. That is not happening now and makes this one of the most fascinating campaigns for decades.

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Wayne Elmsly - 3 years ago
This is a very good editorial by John Jones. It is timely for us to be reminded that there are important things happening in other places in the world, not just in Gisborne!

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