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Very generous Jeb! says Trump supporters are not a bunch of idiots
While kinda sorta stumbling into an understanding of why Trump won the nomination.
I am sure every Donald Trump supporter in this nation lies awake at night wondering, "What does Jeb Bush think of me? He doesn't think I'm an idiot, does he? Because I don't think I could handle that!"
Rest easy, sweet pups. I have wonderful news for you. No, Jeb does not think you're a bunch of idiots. In his classic low-energy way, Jeb! has given you all absolution for any hint of idiocy:
Although Bush was not aggressively critical of Trump, as he had been during his campaign, he showed no signs that he was warming up to the presumptive Republican nominee, like some other establishment Republicans have started doing.Still, Bush said, he doesn't blame voters who are supporting Trump.
"What I fear is that people, kind of looking down their nose, will say the people that are supporting Donald Trump are a bunch of idiots. They're not. They're legitimately scared. They're fearful. They're not as optimistic for legitimate reasons and there should be respect for that," he said. "And on the other side, a similar respect needs to be shown.
Bush recycled many lines from his stump speech as a former presidential candidate, but he concluded that economic struggles, globalization, shifting demographics and a change in culture -- along with the "inability to deal with these great challenges" -- have led to the emergence of populist candidates.
That last point almost hits the mark when it comes to understanding why Trump won the nomination. He correctly identifies at least some of the problems, but it's not so much an "inability" as it is an unwillingness on the part of the political class to deal with the problems - that's what caused so many Republican primary voters to reject more traditional candidates and vote for Trump.
When you've got candidates like Jeb! and John Kasich insulting conservative voters for wanting things like a flat tax or the end of massive federal borrowing, that's when those voters are going to conclude that candidates like them will never solve the nation's problems and they need to consider other options.
Trump voters look at more traditional candidates and conclude they have neither the will nor the cajones to really change anything about the way Washington taxes, spends and harasses the productive sector of the economy. I think that was unfair in the case of some of the other candidates, particularly Scott Walker and Ted Cruz, both of whom have track records that suggest they would have done exactly that. But the entire political class has earned itself such a horrendous reputation that everyone who actually holds a public office is paying the price for being associated with it.
Here's where Jeb! misses the point. These challenges are solvable. If you haven't read the boss's new book, he explains in details which problems to focus on and how to solve them. The problem isn't that it can't be done. It's that politicians don't want to do it because they don't want to deal with the grief they would catch for it.
Rightly or wrongly, voters perceive that Trump doesn't care about the grief, and will do what it takes to get things done. If Jeb! doesn't like the fact that they lost faith in people like him and put their trust in someone like Donald Trump, he has only people like him to blame for it.
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