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Tags: Jeb Bush | conservatives

Daily Caller: Centrist Jeb Bush Must 'Pander' to Conservatives

By    |   Monday, 29 December 2014 11:18 AM EST

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush may wish to maintain his centrist views, but he'll have to appeal more to right-wing conservatives if he expects to win the 2016 Republican nomination, says the editor of The Daily Caller News Foundation in an opinion piece Monday.

"Even successful establishment candidates must 'pander' to conservatives," writes editor W. James Antill III in the article. "History hasn’t been kind to the candidates who have given them the finger, from McCain 2000 to Jon Huntsman in 2012. The best way to run for president without conservative support is to seek the Democratic nomination."

Bush has been seeking a way to avoid appealing to the right wing, and consulted Arizona Sen. John McCain, who told him that "it is the centrist that wins the nomination," reports The New York Times

But, Antill writes, conservatives have been coming close to taking down establishment candidates in primary elections, even though establishment candidates have been winning the GOP nomination since the end of World War II, with the exceptions of Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan.

Even McCain lost his own campaign in 2000, when he ignored conservatives and ran on a platform on campaign finance reform. George W. Bush also ran a slightly left campaign that year, said Antill, but built a conservative campaign by reaching out to intellectuals and the Christian right.

McCain won the nomination eight years later by flip-flopping on Bush tax cuts, and his own immigration bill, and embracing evangelicals, Antill said.

But the conservative vote can be split when there are top-tier candidates. For example, when McCain won his nomination, three other top candidates, Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, and Fred Thompson were also competing for the conservative vote.

In addition, conservatives with the most money often flop in the primary, leaving candidates with little money to compete against establishment frontrunners, Antill said.

In 2016, "potentially well-funded sitting Republican governors, like [Wisconsin's] Scott Walker, or incumbent senators, like [Kentucky's] Rand Paul or [Texas'] Ted Cruz, could lose ground to Ben Carson," said Antill.

It's also possible that the establishment vote will be split between Bush and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio could vie for some of Bush's donors, said Antill.

But even polls that show Bush doing well still show him with polls that are well behind the numbers his father and brother held at comparable points in their own campaigns, and even behind former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani's in 2007, and Giuliani did not win any primaries, Antill notes.

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Politics
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush may wish to maintain his centrist views, but he'll have to appeal more to right-wing conservatives if he expects to win the 2016 Republican nomination, says the editor of The Daily Caller News Foundation in an opinion piece Monday.
Jeb Bush, conservatives
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2014-18-29
Monday, 29 December 2014 11:18 AM
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