Why Jeb Collapsed


On June 15, 2015, at Miami-Dade College, Jeb Bush announced his presidential bid.

Given his name recognition, bevy of donors, and record as governor of Florida, Bush’s ascendancy was considered a sure thing.

Before Donald Trump entered the ring, one month later, Jeb was on top. Trump changed that.

As of October 2nd, 2015, Jeb has fallen to 4% in the polls. Why?

I’ll bet you think I’m going to blame his collapse on poor branding.


Branding is the skillful practice of communicating value and resonating emotionally with the target audience, whether you’re a politician or a corporation. Oh, and if you can’t back up your words with deeds, you’ll fail.

On June 17, 2015, I appeared with JD Hayworth of Newsmax TV to compare the brands of Jeb Bush and Donald Trump.

Ashamed of Business

Jeb Bush appeared with Bill O’Reilly of Fox News, on the same day Pew published his 4% showing. Bill accurately hammered Jeb for not connecting with the voters’ angst.

Jeb repeatedly cites his successful record as governor, from 1999 to 2007. What has he done since then? He’s worked in the business world, serving on corporate boards and traveling in Wall Street circles. Certainly, he picked up a few skills along the way.

Yet, Jeb never speaks of his eight years in the business world, as though he’s ashamed of business. On the other hand, his main rival, Donald Trump, fully embraces and basks in his commercial successes — it’s part of his appeal.
Politicians Got Us Into This Mess

America needs and wants a turnaround master, desperately, not a politician. Politicians got us into this mess. In a presidential race in which voters are disgusted with politicians, Jeb is running as a politician. Branding blunder. Strategic blunder. Tactical blunder. Blunder, period.

Most people cannot identify with legislative records, nor can they associate laws with jobs. Worse, they’re fed up with political-speak. They can, however, look at beautiful skyscrapers and golf courses — tangible evidence — and know that someone built them and hired people to help him build them, someone who’s proud of doing so and making money in the process.

Love him or hate him, Trump is genuine and confident. Bush is not. Every time Bush speaks, he seems tentative and exudes blandness and status-quo. He doesn’t connect with voters, nor they with him — and his poll numbers reflect that incongruity.

I could list some of Jeb’s gaffes, and reactions to them, but they’re irrelevant. It’s simple: If the constituents respect and trust the politician, the CEO, the corporation, the corner store, they’ll forgive most gaffes.

Voters just don’t believe in Jeb, because he doesn’t appear to believe in himself, and that’s why he’s collapsed.
Parting Advice to CEOs

Learn from Jeb’s campaign: tentativeness, blandness, and status-quo don’t cut it in a world of numerous and bloodthirsty competitors. Be unique or be ignored.
POSTSCRIPT #1: Ben Carson Roundly Dismissed Jeb Bush as a Viable Candidate

POSTSCRIPT #2: Jeb Bush Slashes Campaign Salaries (10.16.15)

POSTSCRIPT #3: Jeb Bush Orders Across-the-Board Pay Cuts (10.23.15)

POSTSCRIPT #3: Jeb Bush Orders Across-the-Board Pay Cuts (10.23.15)

POSTSCRIPT #4: Jeb Doesn’t Want to Be President (10.26.15)

POSTSCRIPT #5: COO of Jeb Bush’s Campaign Is Out as Ratings Plummet (10.30.15)

POSTSCRIPT #6: Jeb Bush Continues to Rearrange Deck Chairs on Titanic (11.02.15)

POSTSCRIPT #7: Jeb Bush Now Least-Liked GOP Candidate (01.08.16)

POSTSCRIPT #8: Jeb Bush Begs for Applause in New Hampshire (02.03.16)

POSTSCRIPT #9: Jeb Bush Exits the Race (02.20.16)


About the Author

Marc Rudov is a branding advisor to CEOs,
producer of MarcRudovTV, and author of the book,
Be Unique or Be Ignored: The CEO’s Guide to Branding.


© 2015 Marc H. Rudov. All Rights Reserved.


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