In a Presidential Race, it’s all about personality
At the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida, there were whispers that Governor Jeb Bush would run in 2016. Said to be the smarter Bush, political commentators were just waiting for him to finally announce that he would run, and thought that he would most likely capture the nomination with flying colors. Even last spring, when he was busy racking in fundraiser money and political donors’ support, people looked at the other candidates, but deep down knew it would be another Bush Clinton race. But as every election proves, nothing is certain until election day.
Fast forward to now, and the poll numbers are shocking to what was predicted. While again, nothing is certain until the RNC, it is a total surprise that Governor Bush is in the single digits, totally outdone by Donald Trump and the formerly unknown Ben Carson. Furthermore, given Bush’s popularity when he ran for president, it was thought Jeb would be Bush 2.0, and all he really had to do was separate himself from his brother in order to win George W.’s supporters plus some new ones.
Now, it seems like Jeb Bush should take some lessons from George W. When it comes to a campaign, it really comes down to who has more charisma, and who is able to work a crowd. Even for Hillary Clinton, she is having a hard time keeping up the entertainment, and proving that she has personality. Many of her would be supporters have found her to be a little too boring, and have turned to Bernie Sanders for more excitement. As much as we want to take politics seriously, there is always an entertainment factor that is vital for a nomination. Even Mitt Romney, who many believe would have been a great president, could not turn on the sparks to convince his voters that he was not “made of plastic,” and was almost too straight edge with too much of a perfect past for the electorate’s taste.
So with George W. Bush, who was a C student and had a rocky past, his credentials did not matter as much because of his personality. He was able to throw in some one liners during the debates, able to work a crowd, and able to make you believe that he could be your president, but also be your friend. Jeb Bush, who has a good plan for America and a solid economic recovery model, mumbles his words at the debates, and is easily caught off guard. Because of this, people are not captivated, and therefore, uninterested in what he has to say. His record as governor is overshadowed by his various fumbles, and therefore, he cannot gain enough traction to keep voters drawn in.
While nothing is set in stone, candidates are always trying to show Americans that they are one of the people, and as it becomes a popularity contest, they have to show them that their table is the one to sit at. Many times in school the popular kids are not the bookish type, and that is because they spend more of their time socializing than they do studying. Looking at the two Bush brothers, it seems that this same formula applies, and that there needs to be a big personality to capitative a crowd, and garner a loyal following.