October 31, 2015

A 112-page analysis of the Republican presidential race prepared by Jeb Bush's campaign has been leaked to U.S. News, presumably by the campaign, in order to demonstrate that, heck yeah, Jeb's still in it to win it.

The report's harsh words about Marco Rubio are getting most of the attention -- but I'm more interested in the preview of Jeb's upcoming comeback campaign, and how it continues not to deliver what Republican voters want these days:

... the campaign also previewed the types of ads it would run, listing "Denisha," a story about an African-American student who took advantage of Bush's voucher program, as a potential spot.

The document implies that Jeb plans to roll out this ad for early contests -- Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Nevada.

Really? This ad? An ad about how a young woman -- a young blackwoman -- got to college because of a government program championed by Bush when he was governor? That's going to appeal to the Republican voter base?

Yes, the young woman says the magic word "voucher" -- but she describes the program as one that was intended "to give low-income kids an opportunity to go to a private school."

Two problems with that. First, the Republican voter base thinks low-income people get too much help and the middle class doesn't get enough. Second, she says the program allowed beneficiaries to go to a "private" school. Why not rewrite the copy to say "a private or religious school"? That would be an accurate description of the program (which is why it was overturned by the Florida Supreme Court in 2006). Invoking religion would be catnip to the GOP base, which thinks there's a war on Christianity, and which backs voucher programs in large part because they're perceived as a counterattack in that war.

No, Jeb's campaign is never going to recover. He has no idea how to appeal to a modern Republican electorate.

(Crossposted at No More Mister Nice Blog)

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