Jeb Bush and the Unconventional Outcome of Campaign Finance

As many Republican Presidential candidates drop out of the race like flies, the prominent candidate Jeb Bush also announced the end of his campaign on February 21st. This decision was reached after Jeb Bush and his campaign team evaluated their loss in the South Carolina Primary. While there were many initially, as of now the only remaining candidates in the Republican Party presidential primaries are Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, John Kasich and Donald Trump. It appears as though very little of the 2016 Republican Party presidential primaries follow convention. One need not look much farther than Donald Trump’s campaign, overflowing with many controversial soundbites so much so that most commentators disregarded him as a major candidate. With the way the primaries have unfolded, many refrain from strong predications as many elements have proven to be unpredictable. Of all the unexpected twists and turns, one aspect has gone somewhat unnoticed in the media as a significant surprise: campaign finance.

Among the Republican candidates, Jeb Bush not only caries a household surname but also by far possesses the most campaign funds. Reported by New York Times on February 20th, Jeb Bush has raised approximately $156,700,000, considerably more than the next highest which is Ted Cruz with $104,200,000.[i] Contrast this with the clear frontrunner, Donald Trump, who has raised a mere $27,000,000. These numbers are baffling for many due to the traditional convention that the political candidate who amasses the most campaign funds is almost always the winner. The reason this occurs is not as intuitive as one may think. The initial assumption may be that the victorious candidate with the most money wins because they are able to effectively use that money more so than any other candidate. If that were case then one would think Jeb Bush would have been more successful than finishing 6th in the polls when he has a campaign chest over 50% bigger than any other Republican Presidential candidate. In reality, political candidates with the most campaign funds tend to be victorious because it is an indicator more so than an effective tool. Candidates with large amounts of loyal supporters tend to receive donations to their campaigns. While donations can certainly be helpful in many ways throughout a campaign, the amount of donations received by a candidate usually indicates how popular the candidate is.

With all this considered, it is remarkable that Donald Trump is currently the Republican Presidential frontrunner. To further inflate matters, Donald Trump has proudly and publically discussed that much of his campaign funds are self-contributed. Although this is less true at this point of the campaign than it was earlier, it still highlights how he is receiving even less funds from supporters. So if other candidates are obtaining far more campaign finance as support from the public, how is Trump still so successful? Is he an entertainer who will simply wither away as the campaign persists? The polls certainly don’t seem to show it. With all the unpredictable occurrences from these Republican primaries and debates, who knows if anyone will be able to “Stump the Trump”.


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