As Former Governor Jeb Bush formally announced his candidacy on Monday for the Republican nomination for President of the United States, many American pundits have recently downgraded the chances he could become the Republican nominee for the Presidency.
Indeed, his early campaign has gotten off to a slow start. His poll numbers have slipped while he danced back and forth over his brother's invasion of Iraq His early talks were uninspiring and at time he looked older and uninteresting.. He also seemed unclear as to whether he was just a brother of an unpopular President or an independent candidate.
But it is way too early to count him out. First and foremost, Republican voters -- spending eight years under Obama and knowing that Hillary Clinton will be a formidable opponent -- are desperate to nominate a winner. And the Bushes are winners. They have won three of their four races for President while Jeb twice won races for Governor of Florida.
Also, Bush intends to win the Presidency as a centrist who will lose some primaries but win the election. This way he will not suffer the fate of the centrist Mitt Romney, who in 2012 veered so far to the right that he could not move back to the center.
Second, Bush had only two centrist opponents. One, Mitt Romney, is not running and the other, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, is floundering after his associates were caught up in a state scandal. He probably will not mount an effective campaign.
Bush's chief conservative opponents, Florida Senator Marco Rubio and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, have little national or international experience. Rubio, a popular newcomer, is only a firstterm Senator, new on the Washington scene. He lacks the money of Bush's donors. Even his base in Florida is weak, as former Governor Jeb Bush is still very popular and well-connected in Florida.
Rubio, as the son of Cuban refugees, has a natural appeal to America's 50 million Latinos save for one slight problem. Jeb Bush is married to a Mexican-American, speaks fluent Spanish and has worked in Mexico and Venezuela.
As for Governor Scott Walker, Wisconsin is not in the same league as Florida. While also an attractive conservative candidate who has won battles against trade unions and progressives, Walker has a limited base that doesn't reach beyond the Midwest.
Also, the other roughly dozen candidates for the Republican nomination are all right of center and will split the votes of Tea Party and conservatives in the state primaries.
Thirdly, at the end of the day, the Bush machine, with deep roots both nationally and specifically in major states like Texas and Florida, will likely in the near future raise nearly 100 million dollars. This base provides a huge advantage in further fundraising, media exposure, voter outreach, polling day mobilization and vital influential endorsements. In America, campaign money doesn't merely talk, it screams and nowhere more than in political campaigns.
Next, in order to win the elections, the Republicans need to win over more of either the minorities (Latinos, African Americans, Asians) or women. Romney was defeated in 2012 heavily because 73 percent of Latinos and 75 percent of Asians voted for Obama. Given Bush's deep ties to the Latino community (61 percent of the Latino vote in Florida in 1992) he should be able to reach 40-50 percent of the Latino vote. With Hillary Clinton the likely Democratic candidate, the minority orientation will be critical for the Republicans to have a chance.
Jeb's extensive foreign policy and business experience, intellectual orientation (Phi Beta Kappa and graduating after only 2.5 years at the university of Texas) will help him in the Republican primaries and the general election. His opponents lack such background.
Finally, his self-definition as an introvert should help him to adjust to the swirling currents of party politics.
At the end of the day, many Americans are bemoaning what may prove inevitable: a rematch of scions of America's two most famous families between Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush.