Jeb Bush will announce he is running for President at 3:00 pm EST today. Here are three things to expect from his campaign:
1.) Jeb Bush is not backing away from Common Core.
Jeb is not wishy-washy. He’s certainly a man of conviction. But unfortunately—at least for Jeb’s presidential hopes—this is an issue where that conviction hurts him. The GOP base desperately wants a candidate who opposes Common Core, but Jeb has made it clear that he strongly supports Common Core and believes in national standardized testing.
Jeb stands alone on this issue against a field of candidates that have promised to eliminate the standards. Even Chris Christie has walked back his previous support for Common Core.
Will Jeb keep trying to sway the GOP base to his position? Or will he move on to other issues?
2.) Jeb Bush still supports immigration reform.
Jeb continues to speak positively about immigration reform and granting undocumented immigrants a path to legal status.
From the Associated Press in April:
HOUSTON (AP) — Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush declared Wednesday that 11 million immigrants in the country illegally should have an opportunity to stay, wading yet again into his party’s contentious immigrant debate.
In tone and substance, Bush stands out among the many Republicans lining up for the GOP’s next presidential primary, where conservatives who oppose an immigration overhaul often hold outsized influence. As he moves toward a presidential campaign, the brother and son of former presidents has not backed away from his defense of immigrants in the country illegally and a policy that would allow them to attain legal status under certain conditions.
“We’re a nation of immigrants,” Bush said at the National Christian Hispanic Leadership Conference that brought several hundred Hispanic evangelical leaders to Houston this week. “This is not the time to abandon something that makes us special and unique.”
A successful immigration overhaul is more than simply strengthening the border, Bush said, referring to “11 million people that should come out from the shadows and receive earned legal status.” He said such immigrants should be required to pay taxes, work and not receive government benefits.
This is another issue that gives Jeb problems with parts of his GOP base, but it’s the right position for him to have a shot at winning the Latino vote and ultimately winning the general election.
3.) Jeb Bush will embrace social conservatism.
For a so-called “establishment” candidate, Jeb has been surprisingly clear that he is pro-life, pro-marriage, and pro-religious liberty. He may be one of the most socially conservative candidates in the field — he’s certainly no John McCain or Mitt Romney.
Last month, in a speech at Liberty University, Jeb laid out his vision for religious freedom.
When asked about if his Christian faith would influence his politics in any real way, he said:
“The simple and safe reply is, ‘No. Never. Of course not.’ If the game is political correctness, that’s the answer that moves you to the next round. The endpoint is a certain kind of politician we’ve all heard before — the guy whose moral convictions are so private, so deeply personal, that he refuses even to impose them on himself…
“The mistake is to confuse points of theology with moral principles that are knowable to reason as well as by faith. And this confusion is all part of a false narrative that casts religious Americans as intolerant scolds, running around trying to impose their views on everyone…
“That case continues, and as usual the present administration is supporting the use of coercive federal power. What should be easy calls in favor of religious freedom, have instead become an aggressive stance against it. Somebody here is being small-minded and intolerant, and it sure isn’t the nuns, ministers, and lay men and women who ask only to live and practice their faith. Federal authorities are demanding obedience, in complete disregard of religious conscience — and in a free society, the answer is No…
“There is so much that we share in common, across all the lines of region, religion, and demography that are constantly being talked about. In my experience, at least, you generally find the same good instincts, fair-mindedness, and easygoing spirit among Americans of every type — including, of course, the many who belong to no church at all. That’s a lot to work with, if the aim is to accept differences instead of exploiting them, and get on with life in this free country.”
It will be interesting to see how Jeb proceeds in this campaign. There is a lot to like—and some things to strongly dislike. Will social conservatives be able to look past Jeb’s position on education? Or will they support another candidate who stands with them on all of the issues? Time will tell.
Jon Schweppe is Deputy Director of Communications for American Principles in Action.