(Please begin with Part 1)
Now let’s look at the other candidates to see why they aren’t connecting as well as Trump, and where they fall on the worldview spectrum.
Jeb Bush: Orange-Blue
When people describe Jeb as “low-energy” or remark upon his “slump-shouldered shrugging”, they are indicating that he does not resonate at Red. He doesn’t have any fire in the belly, he does not relish the fight, and he does not project strength. This is just what you would expect from a man who grew up as part of a wealthy political dynasty, glided through the Ivies, and led a privileged life. Political leaders don’t need a Red center of gravity, but they need to know when and how to activate their Red core to inspire followers, cow political opponents, and crush enemies. Red projects power, strength, and the willingness–even an eagerness–to use force.
Contrast Jeb’s countenance with that of Mitt Romney. The reason Romney won the first debate with Obama in 2012 is because he was on the attack, he made Obama look weak, he enjoyed it, and he knew that that’s what voters wanted to see; Red never “apologizes” (especially for America) because Red does not recognize right and wrong; might makes right. Yet when Jeb recently tried to talk tough and blunt like Trump, he looked foolish, not forceful; it wasn’t authentic.
Another way of saying this is that politicians like Jeb lack emotional intelligence. Imagine Jeb with the square jaw, silver temples, killer instinct, winner mentality, photogenic family, private sector chops, and presidential timber of Romney–none of that would change the fact that his last name is Bush (Incidentally, Romney was what a GOP Presidential Candidate Generator algorithm would spit out, but ironically, this “Mr. Perfect” image made him seem hollow and robotic to voters; alas for the GOP, if he ran today, he would win the nomination and the election handily). And anyone with good political instincts, or even just common sense, should see that the country will never elect another Bush. He can add as many exclamation points as he wants to his logo–and even color it red!–but at the end of the day, he just doesn’t have the stuff. We know it, and he knows it, but I don’t think he knows that we know it yet; otherwise, he would have the good sense to leave the race and endorse John Kasich (more on Kasich later). I suspect he actually does not want the presidency that badly, but is pursuing it out of some sense of filial piety and familial duty: to restore the family name burnished by his father and tarnished by his brother.
When you hear Jeb try to talk about “faith” and “family values,” you can hear that it is hollow and isn’t coming from the heart, but from the head. People can tell when you’re not one of them, when you’re pandering. Contrast Jeb with his brother, who is Blue-Red (“shoot first, ask questions later”). Though criticized ad nauseum for not being the sharpest tool in the shed (Orange), one reason Bush was able to connect with so-called values voters (Blue) was because he had a compelling “come to Jesus” personal story: his own (Red) selfish desires were so strong that they almost destroyed his political future and neutralized all the advantages he’d been given in life. These kinds of politicians–and these kinds of voters–demand and recognize moral absolutes in the world, and tend to suspect that the world order is always on the verge of collapsing into chaos. Hence the positions: strong military, strong family, strong faith. Red is harnessed and channeled in the service of something greater: God and country. It was because George W. had a strong Red core that he had the presence of mind to mount the pile of still smoldering rubble and promise vengeance from a bullhorn, in possibly the most inspiring and memorable action of his presidency. Can you picture Jeb doing that?
Jeb is a clear thinker, a policy wonk, and from all appearances was a competent caretaker as governor of Florida. For politicians like Jeb, politics is an energy drain and a distraction from the issues; “If we could just get done with all the irrational emotional stuff and get down to problem solving, then things would get better.” This was a mistake that Orange-Green Obama made after taking office, thinking that he could drop the poetry of campaigning for the prose of governing, only to be blindsided by the GOP’s activation of the Blue-Red Tea Party. Contrast Clinton, who relished the cut and thrust and bloodsport of politics, and who always had one eye on playing the people with the same skill as he played the saxophone. Though, of course, Clinton’s lack of a Blue moral core made him prone to impulsive and irresponsible decisions; those without a strong Blue moral compass are prone to use orange rationalizing to achieve their egocentric desires (see Cheney, Dick).
On the campaign trail in 2008, Obama remarked that you had to be kind of crazy to run for president. It was an insightful piece of political psychology. You have to be crazy in the sense that you have to have an unusually strong desire for power, and Jeb just doesn’t seem to want it that badly. You almost get the sense, watching him onstage or on camera, that he’d rather be doing something else. Orange politicians see Blue voters as masses to be pacified with patriotic platitudes so they can get on to the “real work” of policy and governing, and this is the impression you get from Jeb. Right now, that just alienates voters; they get angry, which pushes them into Trump’s loving arms, where he receives their rage and channels it for them: at Obama, at Washington, at establishment politicians, at immigrants, and so on.
All of which is to say that Bush is too Orange-centric to win the nomination and to be an effective leader at the national level, even discounting his bad name.
In Part 6, I will shift to the other end of the spectrum, where we find the “PPP”‘s–the Pandering Pastor Politicians–Ted Cruz and Mike Huckabee.