No matter what many political pundits say, I believe Jeb Bush will be the Republican nominee for president in 2016.
Furthermore, the former governor of Florida is the only Republican candidate in sight who can beat Hillary Clinton (who, I believe, has nearly a 100 percent chance of running).
I know the arguments against what I am predicting.
Bush is too moderate to make it through the Republican primaries, where conservatives dominate the process.
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But here is why I believe Bush will prevail in the primaries and possibly become the next president of the United States:
Conservatives will want, more than anything, to beat Hillary. They will look around, they will study the polls and they will find they will lose without Bush at the head of their ticket.
Furthermore, with what appears will be the most competitive Republican primary for president in recent memory, there is a good possibility that the conservatives will split up their vote, while Bush parades through with his moderate views.
Jeb Bush has so many things going for him, to help him in both the primary and the general elections.
First of all, he has the name identification. Although his brother, George W. Bush, left the presidency with a highly unpopular rating, the Bush name is still a plus, over so many other Republican candidates, some of whom remain mysteries to most people.
Bush has his family’s network to fundraise tens of millions of dollars overnight.
He has the political organization inherited from the Bush family — a state-by-state infrastructure — to immediately place him ahead of any other Republican candidate.
Bush stands, by far, the best chance of capturing a good size of the critical Hispanic vote. His wife is Mexican, and Bush speaks fluent Spanish. His open position on immigration reform will draw throngs of Latinos to his side. Although immigration reform is not popular with conservatives, when they do the math and see that the Hispanic vote can make the difference in key states, they will come to realize they cannot win without Jeb Bush’s immigration reform.
Bush isn’t afraid to speak his mind. He has been critical of many in his own party, who he believes have been irresponsible and abrasive.
He is refreshing, because most other candidates — if not all the others — will kowtow to the right and say the same things to get nominated. Bush will stand out as a leader, who has a mind of his own.
Bush has been a Catholic since 1995 and is devoutly pro-life.
Jeb Bush is a likable candidate. His demeanor is one that voters can embrace. He comes across as affable, reasonable and friendly. He is not a fire-brand Republican, nor would he alienate moderate Republicans and, critically, independents.
All of these pluses, for sure, would make Bush the best candidate to field against Hillary Clinton, or any other Democratic candidate. Conservatives will begrudgingly come to the same conclusion.
Rush Limbaugh and others are incorrect when they pose the hypothesis that Republicans lose the presidency so often because its candidates are not conservative enough. Limbaugh holds the mistaken belief that a majority of Americans believe like he and his listeners do.
Quite the opposite is true.
The majority of voters in a presidential election are not conservatives. They are mainstream voters looking for moderation.
If Mitt Romney, for example, had portrayed himself more like the moderate former governor of Massachusetts that he is, and not a conservative caricature of himself, he might have beaten Barack Obama. But, no, he alienated so many middle-of-the-road voters, that he had no chance in a general election.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Bush skips the Iowa Caucus, where he would end up getting trounced by an ultra-conservative. He could build momentum after that.
I just do not think conservatives will commit suicide, assuming Hillary Clinton runs. Only Bush can beat her, and conservatives detest the Clintons so much, they would do anything to keep both of them out of the White House.
To reach Steve Rose, longtime Johnson County columnist, send email to email@example.com.