In recent weeks, the former Florida governor has redefined himself as the anti-Trump, out to save his party from the specter of a nominee without qualifications or polish. The newfound mission has given Bush a clear message, an ingredient his campaign had been missing.
“Donald Trump, you aren’t just a loser, you are a liar and a whiner,” Bush taunted, un-Bush-like, on Twitter this week.
So resorting to petty insults in perfect Trumpian fashion proves Bush has evolved into the anti-Trump? Also, what does it say about how miserable you are at running a campaign if it takes more than half a year to find your message? What does that say about your leadership ability? How is that anything other than conservatives’ oft-favored phrase ‘leading from behind’?
Bush and Kasich have always been the anti-Trumps, and it’s one of the reasons neither of them will be President. They’re both establishment Republican (former) governors, they both are pushing a moderate-in-comparison-to-Trump agenda, they’re both soft-spoken and a little awkward, and they’re both delusional about the reality of their situations:
“Maybe, just maybe, we’re turning the page on a dark part of American politics,” Kasich said in his primary night speech, touting his 16 percent support in New Hampshire. “Because tonight, the light overcame the dark.”
How did the light overcome the dark? He finished in second place, with 16% of the vote compared to Trump’s 35%, and got less than half of the number of votes Trump did. And Bush?
“This is a long-haul process,” he said. “Public sentiment, how people feel, will change. It always does. And if you stick to who you are … the simple fact is you can win the day.”
Then why would you think you can overcome Trump? Trump has been himself (or at least his public persona) since day one and hasn’t changed a bit. Bush has done virtually nothing to change the soft demeanor he’s exhibited the last seven months. And as for people’s feelings changing, they change, but not for the better in his case. The last time a poll showed him at 10% nationally was in the beginning of October.
Being an anti-candidate is not a winning strategy. It doesn’t work to say, “Hey, you see that really popular candidate over there? I’m the exact opposite.” Yes, Trump is despised by a large percentage of the GOP, but everyone who hates him has already been pulling for someone else, and it is very clear that they are not pulling for either of them.