Originally Published 2015-06-17 00:00:00 Published on Jun 17, 2015
Whilst Jeb Bush, belonging to a family with two former US Presidents, still hasn't won the primaries, he has managed to conjure a lot of enthusiasm around his candidacy. Even though he has not emerged as the favourite of the GOP's large block of more moderate supporters, junior Bush is often been called the front-runner.
Jeb Bush fires up presidential campaign

On June 15, Jeb Bush formally entered the 2016 presidential race saying that 'America Deserves Better'. Jeb Bush, the former Florida Governor, speaking at a rally at Miami Dade College, announced that he would seek the Republican nomination for presidency highlighting America's need for greater proactive engagement with the world. Jeb Bush, belonging to a family with two former American Presidents, often faces tough questions on his privileged family heritage and former George W. Bush's hawkish foreign policy and the war on Iraq. Even though Jeb Bush is running as a full-spectrum conservative, he has been able to distance himself from George W. Bush's economic and foreign policy records. According to experts, Jeb Bush's views on foreign policy and defence are closer to those of his father -- i.e., more centrist, more realist, more diplomacy-minded. Simultaneously, Jeb Bush declared that his family name has given him no unique claim to the Oval Office: "Not a one of us deserves the job by right of rツsumツ, party, seniority, family or family narrative".

Economic, social and foreign policy issues

Jeb Bush has focused on his personal accomplishments as a former governor of Florida. He has said that executive experience is another term for preparation, and there is no substitute for that. While focusing on his economic message on inequality and middle-class wage stagnation, Bush stated that he would try to nearly double the nation's annual growth rate to 4 percent to create jobs. Though he favours simplifying the tax code, he has not specified how he would change the federal tax system. One of the social issues, Jeb Bush has spoken about is on improving education for children with developmental challenges. On the issue of immigration, like several other Republican candidates, he has called for tougher enforcement of immigration laws, including prosecuting businesses that hire undocumented aliens. Speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference earlier this year, Bush mentioned his conservative views on "traditional marriage," stating that there is no constitutional right to same-sex marriage.

Recently Jeb Bush embarked on a five-day visit to three European countries -- Germany, Poland and Estonia in order to bolster his preparedness on foreign policy issues. As Jeb Bush toured European cities, he carried with himself historical legacies of George W. Bush Senior who was the President of the United States during the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of former Soviet Union and receding of communism. Jeb Bush evoked the symbolic power of his father's cold war ties with Germany during a speech in Berlin underlining America's commitment to its allies - "from liberation and post-war ruin, to bitter division, to peaceful unification and now, the most dynamic economy in Europe, whole and free". Paying homage to Poland's tragic history during the cold war and meeting Polish national leaders, Jeb Bush stated "Think about how much change has taken place in these years. It's a good reminder that we're a lot freer than we were, and we need to protect that freedom. And that's why the United States needs to be engaged. "He also recounted an anecdote from the elder Bush's 1989 visit to Poland to forge closer and enduring ties between Poland and the rest of Europe. When elder Bush returned in 1992, not long after the country's first free presidential election in six decades, he received a hero's welcome and promised that the U.S. would help the young democracy "to succeed and to prosper." In Estonia, Jeb Bush complimented the nation's rapid technological developments and transformation from being once being a bleak Soviet economy into a metamorphosis into a free-market high technology economy.

Challenges ahead

Whilst Jeb Bush still hasn't won the primaries, he has managed to conjure a lot of enthusiasm around his candidacy. Even though he has not emerged as the favourite of the GOP's large block of more moderate supporters, Mr. Bush is often been called the front-runner. Polling data reveals that on an average, Jeb Bush has a lead cumulatively in surveys conducted by Fox News, CNN Opinion Research, ABC News/Wash Post and Quinnipiac and is closely followed by Marco Rubio and Scott Walker. In spite of the fact that Jeb Bush is well poised to face strong competition from other Republican candidates like Scott Walker and Marco Rubio, one of the key challenge is that the Republican Party hasn't yet unified around him. Coupled with that, Jeb Bush's favourability ratings are not as high as Democratic Party front-runner Hillary Clinton who is leading in most of the opinion polls with a thumping majority.

The stage is set for intense political drama surrounding the 2016 Presidential elections. From opinion polls, it seems that in all possible likelihood that Hillary Clinton would be the front-runner for presidential election from the Democrats. Would Jeb Bush be able to defeat his competitors during the primaries in Iowa and New Hamsphire? Whilst time would tell how the Republicans would jostle for winning the primaries, Hillary Clinton is undertaking full preparations to develop comprehensive strategies in her bid to the Oval Office. Her speech last weekend was heavy on policy and she mentioned universal early-childhood education, paid sick days and family leave, a higher minimum wage, and more. As the US Presidential elections unfold, it would be interesting to note if Jeb Bush's rally for Americans to enjoy a "right to rise" strikes the right chord with his voters.

(The writer is a Junior Fellow at Observer Research Foundation, Delhi)

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