Can Jeb Bush Broaden Support for the GOP in 2016?

Are people surprised that Jeb Bush is planning to run for president? No. For many politicos, it was all about who was going to pull the trigger first: Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, or Hillary Clinton? After months of toying with media outlets over an indecision to run, Bush beat Clinton to the punch.

“In January, I also plan to establish a Leadership PAC that will help me facilitate conversations with citizens across America to discuss the most critical challenges facing our exceptional nation,” Bush said in a note on Facebook. “The PAC’s purpose will be to support leaders, ideas and policies that will expand opportunity and prosperity for all Americans.”

Prepare to hear the word “dynasty” a lot over the next two years because that is how the media is going to frame the election: the two biggest political dynasties in America, the Clintons and the Bushs, are fated to go head-to-head in the 2016 presidential election.

First, consider how important social media has become. A big name like Bush announced he was exploring the possibility of running for president in a Facebook note and 111 characters on Twitter. And in a matter of minutes, news outlets nationwide and around the world jumped on it. His Wikipedia page has already been updated with the information.

While the media will be focused on the dynasty angle of this story, Bush could shift the dynamics of the 2016 presidential race dramatically. Like his brother, George, Jeb could potentially divide the Hispanic vote enough to make Republicans competitive with minority voters. He is also not popular with tea party and far-right conservatives, who want someone like Ted Cruz to run for president, and has openly criticized the Republican Party for its shift further to the right:

Speaking at a breakfast with national reporters held by Bloomberg View in Manhattan, Mr. Bush questioned the party’s approach to immigration, deficit reduction and partisanship, saying that his father, former President George Bush, and Reagan would struggle with “an orthodoxy that doesn’t allow for disagreement.” – Jim Rutenberg, New York Times

Is this an indication that Bush could draw in people outside the Republican Party in his campaign for the White House? Possibly. For primary opponents, immigration is going to be a major point of attack, and how Bush responds could make or break his campaign — both in the primary and the general election if he wins the nomination.

Image Source: NBC News