When Sir Thomas Malory compiled all of the tales of King Arthur and his knights into the Le Morte d’Arthur, it was an epic tale of the destruction of Camelot, and the downfall of many of the political figures of the day.
Likewise today, we see the Bush dynasty beginning to crumble. What was once seen as an inevitability is now seen as a long-shot, even by party insiders.
The Jeb Bush campaign has had to trim expenses, cut staff, cut salaries — a basic prevent defense against Trump’s overwhelming power. But all too often, a prevent defensive strategy only does one thing: prevents you from winning.
But even at that, he’s still fundraising and collecting some big prizes at single events — one in November gave him $450,000.
But there in lies the problem with the crumbling dynasty, Jeb’s fundraising is mostly coming from family connections, and he is clearly losing the battle of the “small donor.”
Jeb's fundraising is mostly coming from family connections, and he is clearly losing the battle of the 'small donor.'
Sanders, Carson, and Trump are all taking in a huge proportion of their overall fundraising from small donors, something that no candidate has ever matched at this stage of the race.
Looking at this logically, it changes the dynamic of the entire race. When a billionaire like Sheldon Adelson hands out millions, he’s often handing it out to competing candidates in the primary season — but at the end, he’s still only one vote. But Sanders, Carson, and Trump are pulling in millions a couple hundred at a time, which in the end represents a faithful voting bloc.
Both sides of the spectrum are seeing this grassroots movement in the form of small donations, and so far it seems to be a working strategy.
However, this is also a big problem for the Bush dynasty. They can go after the big dollars, but can’t seem to relate well enough to get the smaller money, money that is tied to meaningful votes.
When George W. Bush faced Al Gore, at this point in the race, his large donations outpaced his small by 12:1–more than double Al Gore’s.
While Jeb Bush is following in his footsteps (at 15:1), he’s not even coming close to the dollar amounts raised.
It has to be frustrating for Jeb Bush to see what was once considered a ‘sure thing’ to be nominated evaporate so quickly, before any of the first primaries have started.
Jeb’s campaign is fighting back with a novel, and somewhat antiquated usage of letter-writing–asking supporters to send handwritten letters to undecided voters in New Hampshire. And while this may gain him a small share of credibility among the so-called grassroots voters, it’s probably a step in the wrong direction — about 40 years out of date in what has become the art of high-tech campaigning.
But with the way things stand, the legacy of the Bush dynasty will end, unless Jeb can find some way of energizing his party’s base, but that has yet to be seen.