Political blogger and prognosticator Nate Silver declared Thursday morning that Jeb Bush is “probably toast”. The election prediction guru who gained notoriety for his accurate predictions of the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections, has now joined the chorus of pundits who think Jeb Bush’s days in the GOP political race are numbered.
While Silver is not the first political prognosticator to predict Bush’s political demise, his track record of calling elections accurately, makes his declaration a particularly devastating one for the Bush campaign. Silver argues that much of the post-debate analysis of Bush’s poor performance in Wednesday night’s debate will question his continued political viability.
Pundits may argue that Bush is essentially finished, and those assertions could become a self-fulfilling prophecy, whereby Bush does then end up being finished. Silver, may also be well aware that by predicting this self-fulfilling prophecy, he himself will be one of the pundits contributing to its realization.
Silver argues that Bush’s trouble is compounded by the fact that he is running a conventional campaign, without the levels of support he would need to survive the long and busy primary. Just 3 percent of Bush’s fundraising has come from small grassroots donors, so Bush’s political survival depends upon continued support from party leaders and the financial elite.
With his uninspiring performance on Wednesday, Bush is unlikely to find his well-heeled donors emptying their pockets any further to prop up what has become a very risky investment. They will hold their money, or perhaps defect to another candidate like Florida Senator Marco Rubio instead.
The Bush campaign has been struggling to stay competitive in a race that has turned into a contest between a bunch of political outsiders. Jeb Bush has not adapted well to the volatile multi-candidate environment he finds himself in. His embarrassing Wednesday debate performance did nothing to lift his campaign out of the single digits in national polls. Nate Silver believes Jeb Bush is toast, and when it comes to political prediction metaphors, its safe to say that Mr. Silver knows what toast looks like.