It’s now or never for John Ellis.
The Bush campaign has been floundering for some time now. The former Governor’s poll numbers have been on a consistent downward trajectory since July, his debate performances were lackluster at best, Trump has been bashing him on national TV whenever he has the chance, and Bush’s own media appearances have been largely uneventful -which at this point in the cycle isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but for Bush it is. For a while, the media gave Jeb some leeway figuring that when the outside candidates eventually burned off, he would sweep in, gather up the remnants and become a serious contender. This process may very well still come to fruition, but now it seems more likely that Marco Rubio or Ted Cruz will be the ones to pounce when and if Carson and Trump implode.
But beyond the obvious, surface level issues within the Bush campaign, the overarching problem is simply that Jeb can’t connect to primary voters. He has to appeal to a base that is entirely fractured with nearly all sections riding an anti-establishment wave -and he is the establishment. He is an insider. Rubio and Cruz are to a degree as well, but they can claim to be operating outside of the lines, Bush simply can’t. This is not to say that Bush cannot transcend, he still can, but time is running thin.
For Bush, it’s now do or die. The former Governor currently sits in 5th nationally, but remains in relative striking distance if he begins to turn things around now. Trump and Carson have survived for longer than most have predicted, but their eventual flare out still seems like a mostly forgone conclusion. At tonight’s debate in Milwaukee, Bush simply must find a way to connect. He must somehow rise above his innately wooden and stoic affect and appear pedestrian and human. In a way, he needs to appear less conventionally presidential. He has to craft a disconnection between his name and his campaign, his persona and his past. And it needs to happen now. His advisors know this, everyone knows this, and because everyone knows this, it’s going to be incredibly difficult.
by Jesse Mechanic