In this first-in-the-nation primary state, tailor-made for a center-right, business-friendly, establishment-approved candidate, Bush is caught uncomfortably between the rising forces on his right and left. He has been unable to assert himself as the alpha candidate that many Republicans expected he would be.
The dynamic here reflects the extent of the broader tumult that has gripped the Republican race nationally, with 17 candidates vying for overlapping factions of the party. At the moment, the campaign is dominated by Trump and other political neophytes drawing enthusiastic crowds and preaching an anti-establishment message, though party strategists anticipate attention will shift to more traditional candidates eventually.
For now, at least, Bush faces a squeeze. Ohio Gov. John Kasich is moving swiftly to take advantage of the former Florida governor’s difficulties and make inroads with mainstream voters who otherwise would migrate to Bush…
As Trump’s capacity crowd grew restless — chanting “We want Trump!” — the candidate held court backstage for a half- hour with reporters. He slammed Bush for past comments about immigration, the Iraq war and women’s health. “I don’t see how he’s electable,” he said.