Former Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush isn’t planning to vote for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton in the upcoming presidential elections in the US. „If I would vote, I’d vote for a conservative that actually can be president. Right now, there aren’t any.”
So former presidential hopeful Bush told NRC in an exclusive interview (in Dutch). Jeb Bush hasn’t granted a single full-length interview since his campaign for the presidential nomination ended on 20 February. Now, in an interview with NRC, he looks back on his campaign, talks about the rise of Donald Trump and analyses the current state of both the Republican party and democracy in the US in general.
„I did not want to change myself,” former Florida Governor Bush says of his candidacy and days on the campaign trail.
„I said before I ran: I only want to run a campaign with the integrity that I might be president. As a president, you can’t allow empty chatter. That’s one of the reasons people don’t trust politicians. Politicians say things they will do, and don’t do it. That’s not how I wanted to run a campaign.”
To the question of whether that was an error in judgement on his part, Bush replies: ,,No. Imagine how bad a candidate I would have been if I was trying to be someone I was not.”
Free acces to the media
According to Bush, Donald Trump — now the sole remaining candidate for the Republican nomination — was at an advantage from the start because the interests of the media played right into his hands. „He got free access to the media. It was estimated by The New York Times he got two billion dollars in free media. We raised a lot of money. But it pales in comparison to what he got in free publicity.”
According to Jeb Bush, ,,there was an interest [by the media] in perpetuating this.” He recalls the first television debate. ,,It got 25 million viewers, 25 million! A campaign never rolls out exactly the way you predict it, this I had never seen.” Bush is disappointed in the other Republican candidates, who for a long period of time refused to go after Trump.
In the course of the conversation, Bush voices his pessimistic view of the divide between citizens and politicians in the United States. „Voters don’t accept any authority anymore. Campaigning in 2016 means playing three-dimensional chess. You have to find out the set of beliefs, their set of facts. A conversation about differences in opinion is hard, if you don’t agree on the facts.”