Given the torrent of insults Donald Trump threw at Jeb Bush as well as the billionaire’s endorsement of the leftist slanders of son George W. Bush as the man who “lied” the country into war in Iraq, it is no surprise to anyone that their father, the 41st president, is voting for Hillary Clinton.
The fact that the Bush clan and the Clintons have reportedly become close over the years is a living symbol of everything that the Trump candidacy was invented to oppose. The Bushes, like the Clintons, were considered the embodiment of the word “establishment” long before it became a curse word in the Republican Party and even the electorate as a whole. If George Herbert Walker Bush is against Trump, that might tell a lot of Republicans outside of the Beltway that Trump deserves a hearing, if not their vote.
Still, the senior Bush’s embrace of Hillary is also a reminder that a key element of the Republican coalition is AWOL as we get closer to Election Day. If enough mainstream Republicans follow Bush 41’s example, Trump is sunk.
The news has been all good for the Trump camp the first weeks of September, but it’s possible that now that Clinton is back on the campaign trail looking as if she’s not dying of pneumonia the bleeding has stopped. And Trump remains in the difficult position of having to sweep virtually every swing state to get the 270 Electoral College votes he needs. In order to do that, he has to win more than 90 percent of Republican voters and dominate among white voters even more than Mitt Romney did.
Over the past year, many Republicans have endlessly claimed that the key to victory for their party is to pull in the millions of missing white working class voters who stayed home rather than vote for John McCain or Mitt Romney in 2008 and 2012. But right now, the real missing voters for the GOP are not Reagan Democrats and their ilk, who have probably been voting steadily for Republicans since the 1980s, but rather the educated whites who want no part of Trump.
If enough of them remain obdurate, there’s simply no way Trump can prevail even against a weak Clinton. White working class voters won Trump the GOP nomination but can’t hand a general election for him on their own. While Trump will never win over the Bushes, he must spend the next seven weeks working to gain almost all of the votes if not the affection of people who voted for Jeb, George W., and George H.W. Bush.