John Greenleaf Whittier said that while “tradition wears a snowy beard, romance is always young.” Politics is an institution mired in tradition; procedures, rules, etiquette, and order are what Washington does best. This rigidity has led to a stagnant and intensely corrupt culture in D.C. For the American people, this cancerous style of leadership is akin to being stabbed in slow motion.
As the blade of Washington embeds itself further in our collective gut, Americans are becoming more reactive. The deeper the knife goes, the more it hurts, and we’ve reached a point at which we cannot tolerate the pain anymore. 2010 was the beginning of a revolution, 2014 was the next wave, and 2016 will be the year the American people grab the hands of the Washington elites, and with extreme force, pull the knife out of our national stomach.
The elites, the establishment, the cartel, the graybeards–whatever you want to call them–the ones who’ve been holding the knife are only now beginning to realize that the surge that began with the Tea Party in 2009 is not a passing phenomenon. It took them six years to see this. Sure, they’re a little slow in the head, but let’s not be too hard on them; politics as usual has been the only thing on the menu for nearly three decades. Longer if you discount the Reagan revolution, and go all the way back to FDR and the New Deal.
Did you think I forgot about Jeb Bush? Nope. That was all necessary set up.
Now Jeb, despite not having been “in Washington,” is as much of a Washington insider as anyone can be. He’s part of a dynasty of liberal Republicans, he was the relatively poplar governor of a purple state, and he espouses all the establishment talking points. He’s an insider’s insider. I believe his status gave him the idea that he could glide through the primaries, and snag the nomination unscathed.
He didn’t count on the revolution.
What Jeb and his acolytes didn’t see coming was the American people pushing back. He didn’t count on people like Ted Cruz taking a flamethrower to the Washington weeds, challenging his own Party, and breaking all the rules and etiquette. He didn’t count on Carly Fiorina, or Ben Carson, political neophytes, succeeding because of their distance from D.C. Most of all, he never saw Donald Trump coming. No one in Washington did. Trump’s candidacy is the iceberg to the establishment Titanic.
Jeb allegedly threw a tantrum recently during a campaign event in South Carolina, saying:
“If this election is about how we’re going to fight to get nothing done, then I don’t want anything, I don’t want any part of it. I don’t want to be elected president to sit around and see gridlock just become so dominant that people literally are in decline in their lives. That is not my motivation. I’ve got a lot of really cool things I could do other than sit around, be miserable, listening to people demonize me and me feeling compelled to demonize them. That is a joke. Elect Trump if you want that.”
I’m crying right now…not because I feel for Jeb, but because I’m laughing so hard. Jeb, who currently averages 7.2% on RealClearPolitics (as low as 5% on Monmouth), is falling apart. The once and future Republican King of America is losing steam. He’s begun to lash out by attacking Ted Cruz (as well as having his brother attack Cruz), he’s gotten into several awkward and very public fights with Donald Trump, and he’s seeing establishment support gravitate toward the much more likable Marco Rubio.
Additionally, Jeb’s had to dramatically slash campaign salaries just to keep up, while people like Ted Cruz raise millions upon millions of hard dollars from small donors–otherwise known as Americans who are over D.C.’s BS.
At some point in the next three months, Jeb is going to drop out of the race.
Bold prediction? I don’t think so. Nothing is “business as usual” this cycle, and I’m not certain Jeb is built to withstand the onslaught of anti-establishment sentiment. Had he run in 2012, or 2008, he would likely have found an easy path to the nomination, without his apparently fragile psyche getting bruised. Not this time.
Jeb’s implosion has been slow, and will continue to be slow, but it will result in him bowing out of the race before the first primary.