Jeb Bush does not want a repeat of Mitt Romney's 2012 primary election mistakes. While Romney veered to the right to pander to the hardline Republican base, essentially solidifying his general election loss, Jeb Bush is trying to find the middle ground.
Bush previously suggested that the Republican nominee must be willing to risk the party's nomination to remain competitive in the general election. The New York Times reported on Jeb Bush's appearance in Orlando, Florida, where he stated:
"We need men and women of good will forging consensus, starting to solve problems, kind of building back the muscles of consensus, compromise, and solution-finding to fix these things. Apparently that is dangerous in a Republican primary, but it's what I believe."
A Washington Post article cites a Pew survey and an NBC/WSJ poll confirming Bush's fears that Republicans do not want their leaders compromising with Democrats, even if that means increased government gridlock.The
Pew survey found that two-thirds of Republicans want their leaders to oppose Obama even if that means decreased policy outputs, while a majority of Democrats want Obama to work with Republicans. Similarly, the NBC/WSJ poll confirms a plurality of Republicans think the congressional GOP has compromised too much with Obama.
It is enlightening to hear a candidate realize that compromise is not a hostile notion, even if it hurts Bush with primary voters. A critical issue facing the next president, Bush explained, is finding a "way to reweave the web of civility."
"We shouldn’t be scolding people, we shouldn’t say outrageous things that turn people off to the conservative message. Our message is the one of hope and opportunity for everybody,” the former Florida governor concluded.
Jeb Bush finds himself in the position that any candidate in partisan primaries struggles with: how to win the nomination without compromising one's ideals in order to pander to the party's base voters (who, as Pew points out, are becoming more partisan and historically vote in primary elections).