This analysis by Bill Sher reminds us of a bit of history I had forgotten: Jeb Bush is in precisely the same state that John Kerry was in at this point in the 2003-2004 election cycle.
By November 2003—the point in the race where we are today—Kerry sunk into single digits. His national numbers didn’t recover until after he won Iowa in mid-January 2004, when they skyrocketed beyond any point in 2003.
Kerry’s victory was not predicated on getting a personality transplant. He stuck to his boring script, used his personal finances to keep the campaign afloat and waited for everyone else’s weaknesses to become apparent. Once the others flopped, voters flocked to him as a safe harbor. Written off a few months earlier, Kerry ended up running the table, winning virtually every primary and caucus.
What this analysis misses is the changed electorate. When Kerry ran, most Democrats understood that their party was perceived -- and please note my use of that word -- to be somewhere to the left of the national mood. The American public was just starting to emerge from one of its periodic War Fevers. Until that fever broke, it seemed safest to vote for a rich guy with lots of DC experience who had fought bravely in Vietnam. We feared that nobody else stood a chance in the general election.
Today's Republicans are different. They are the bastard offspring of Ayn Rand and Art Bell. They have stopped caring about electability. They care only about Jesus and The Mooo-slim Menace and The Gay Menace and The Illuminati Menace and The Evil Red Starbucks Cup Menace and the Roswell Alien Menace and all of that other bizarre bric-a-brac in their brains.
The 2004-D/2016-R parallel falls apart in another way. John Kerry defeated Howard Dean and General Wesley Clark, both of whom had impressive resumes; they floundered only because they could not effectively rebut some very unfair media attacks. Clark and Dean were nothing like Donald Trump and Ben Carson. Clark and Dean were serious people. Trump and Carson are national jokes -- although they have ceased to be amusing, because so many Republicans insists on seeing a joke become president.
I predict that the 2016 general election will resemble that old Monty Python routine: The Sensible Party vs. The Silly Party. And y'know what? There's an evil part of me that wants to see what would happen if victory goes to the ticket of Tarquin Fin-tim-lim-bim-lim-bin-bim-bin-bim bus stop F'tang F'tang Ole Biscuitbarrel and Boot Walrustitty.
Stephen: Are you suggesting that Donald fring Itsy Bitsy Galoomp eek eek (gunshot nose) Urkle Dunkle Picasso Cerebro (alarm sound) oink Blisterpack Oxnard Pazuzu Frum Rum Trump might run as an independent candidate?