My Campaign Stops column today, looking at the genuinely ideologically-significant choice that G.O.P. voters are likely to face next year, assumes that we’re headed for a three-man race: Rubio, Cruz and Trump. That assumption is reasonable, but it’s hardly airtight, which is why earlier this week I considered one alternative scenario, in which Chris Christie shouldered his way into the mix as a right-of-center alternative to Rubio (and Trump). But what about Jeb Bush? He still has money and endorsements, after all; he has more support nationally than Christie (well, by a point or so); in New Hampshire he’s slipped behind him but not by much. The race is still fluid, the voting is still more than a month away: If we’re considering a Christie scenario, it still make sense to ask if there’s a Jeb scenario as well.
Only this one: In a year when nothing’s broken his way, the John Kerry-esque roadmap that I tried to sketch for Jeb last spring, before full-scale Trumpmania, is still at least theoretically operative. Here’s how I spooled it out back then: