It’s the eleventh hour of the South Carolina primary and Jeb Bush is seeing the writing on the wall. He was supposed to make a comeback after the New Hampshire Primary and that kind of fell flat on his face, big time. We kind of suspected this, when just days before the polling began he had to remind a New Hampshire audience to “Please clap.” He’s also the same, and only, current Presidential candidate that wants to be remembered as “Jeb Exclamation Point.” Ouch. So after falling to the bottom in New Hampshire he knew going into the South Carolina Primary he’d have to do something really head turning to claw up a few rungs on the polling points. He knew he’d have to pull out the big guns. And he did. Literally. The Washington Post reported Feb. 16 that his first big move in the game this week came by finally putting No. 43 on the podium at a recent South Carolina rally. The Washington Post also notes, this move may have been another Bush blunder that backfired. So to have everybody stop talking about that, what did Jeb Bush do? He took to Twitter. With a gun. Obviously.
Because that, to this Presidential candidate, is the American thing to do. Thank you, caption “America.” That was the one word he left on the picture of a gun he recently tweeted, a gun engraved with the words “Gov. Jeb Bush.”
What else is one to do when one is low in the polls but blow up Twitter? And he did. In retrospect, it is quite possibly the smartest thing he has done for his campaign than anything else he has done. Because now everybody is finally talking about Jeb Bush, in a way that could actually become productive.
It isn’t yet. There’s a lot of people laughing and sending back “What is wrong with you??” tweets, but it’s Jeb Bush, and all to be expected. There are also some using it as an opportunity to begin a conversation that reminds Jeb Bush how many people die in America at the hands of guns every year.
Our slideshow contains a collection of some of the tweets we saw when browsing the massive response to Jeb Bush in the wake of this tweet. Our favorite is from Mashable, who tweeted in response a photoshopped version of the exact same gun but instead engraved with the words, “Please clap.” This is the kind of response Jeb Bush inspires. Fortune Magazine reported an interesting collection of responses to the infamous tweet as well.
But at least, they are responding, which was likely the point of the whole thing. That tweet was a record breaker for Jeb Bush. Before then, he had low engagement on a following of 476 thousand. The average tweet for Jeb Bush before this incident ranged in the 50-100 range for retweets, and 50-200 likes or faves on his posts.
That’s how Twitter success is measured. It’s not in the followership, it’s in the engagement of the tweets, which is measured by how many times it has been retweeted or liked. The average tweet of Jeb’s prior would be about 50 to 100 likes and faves and about the same in retweets. When Jeb Bush tweeted a picture of a gun with his name on it and only the word “America.” in his tweet, it resulted in over 22 thousand retweets and likes each.
And everybody’s talking about it. This is good for Jeb Bush since the South Carolina Primary is just a few days away. You don’t want to be reminding people to clap at your rallies.
You do want to be reminding gun-friendly South Carolina that you love guns too and even have one with your own name on it. Good call. Will it work? Time will tell.
The purpose of all of this is to get the Bush name relevant again. Every attempt he has made to get to the top of those numbers has failed miserably, and he blames Trump for it. And he’s not entirely wrong. And that’s not a bad thing for him, either thinking long term.
Take Trump out of the picture, and Jeb Bush is not in a bad position, not as bad as it looks anyway. He’s actually in a fairly competitive one. And it’s certainly not as bad as Trump is making it sound. At the close of the New Hampshire Primary he was in the number four spot.
Yes, he only had 11% of the vote, but that’s not the number that matters in the end. He went into the New Hampshire Primary placing in the same rank as Carly Fiorina, who is now taken herself out of the race. And he now he’s way ahead of even himself.
What we have learned with these primaries is that there are a lot of Republicans still undecided. And being in the number four spot is very competitive, because other than Trump, Bush’s competition with Kasich, Cruz, and Rubio is very tight. They all ranked in the 10-15% range after the New Hampshire Primary.
Take Trump out of the picture and that opens up a very big field for those four contenders. And most pundits are predicting it is just a matter of time before Trump realizes that no GOP is going to put him on the ticket or give him the nomination. Or, as Mark Hill from Cracked so eloquently wrote,
“Republican strategists would rather see the GOP burn to the goddamn ground before Trump represents it.”
So now in fact is the time to bring out the big guns like Number 43 and a controversial tweet. Is it going to backfire on him? It could.
As it turns out, the gun in question has a bit of a questionable background that some Americans, even gun toting Americans, may not be so appreciative of. In a separate report, the Washington Post reported Feb. 16 that the gun in question comes from a company that has a history whose parent company dates back to World War II and the company name “Fabrique Nationale d’Armes de Guerre” according to the Washington Post.
Jeb Bush got his engraved gun from a company known as FN America. FN America is a subsidiary of FN Herstel, located in Belgium. FN Herstal is a company that has been known “for decades” according to the Washington Post as the “Fabrique NAtionale d’Armes de Guerre.”
And it is that company’s history that could cause a potential wrinkle for Jeb Bush. That company, is one of the companies that supplied Axis troops with arms in World War II. Fabrique Nationale d’Armes de Guerre supplied the Nazi military, officers, pilots, and Axis troops with pistols and apparently “thousands of weapons.”
The same company also supplied a specific Browning Hi Power model to the Allies and German military in World War II as well. It’s just a very interesting choice for Jeb Bush to make at this stage of his strategy, but not unusual. The Washington Post reports that’s all “in the past” and FN Herstal also supplies America military with arms today.
It’s no coincidence that Jeb Bush tweeted that, it was a carefully calculated move on his part. He tweets a picture of a gun made by FN America. The company FN America has a manufacturing plant in, you guessed it, South Carolina. The tweet came after, you guessed it, a tour with the Presidential candidate Jeb Bush at the FN America Plant in Columbia, South Carolina.
So, for someone wanting to win the South Carolina Primary in a few days, a really smart move. And it obviously worked. Everybody is talking about Jeb Bush breaking Twitter with a gun.
Because it is such a sensitive topic, on so many levels now, it does have the potential to backfire. However, elections is a numbers game at this point and the numbers are saying that people are talking about Jeb Bush more than they are the candidates that he is even with. Which are, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and John Kasich.
If Trump leaves the playing field, and most are expecting that’s just a matter of “when” not “if”, the field opens up wide and you want to be the guy that everybody’s talking about in South Carolina. But this is what elections in America has come down to, a tweet of a handgun is something America wants to talk about when it comes to Presidential material. Apparently.
The master plan of Jeb Bush is now obvious. Thanks for coming out, George W. Bush at a recent South Carolina pep rally. And thanks, caption “America.” Jeb Bush wants everybody to remember the good ol’ days, when everybody was predicting a “Clinton and Bush ticket.” That is not out of the realm of possibility at this point.
Jeb Bush should do well in South Carolina, which means, he should do much better than he has been. The Washington Post reported that the presence of George W. Bush at a rally likely solidified things for any voters so far undecided. They wrote,
“George W. Bush….seemed much more natural at outlining the case for his brother than Jeb has at any point over the last year. He did the best job that he possibly could ensuring wobbly South Carolina voters that electing another Bush would mean electing another Bush – that Jeb would be the same steady hand and affable leader that so many Republicans appreciated from 2001 to 2009.”
As the Washington Post reports however, that is not such an easy sell. George W. Bush also knocked Trump down a few points for voters by referring to him as “rhetoric” and “theatrics.” It’s brilliant strategy that has voters remembering the good ol’ days when the establishment was in the house.
And, if there is any advantage that Jeb Bush has over his contenders, it’s that one. But, it also could be exactly what becomes his weakness. There are many voters that don’t want another establishment name in the White House like, Clinton or Bush. But it’s not too late to convince them otherwise.
Could reminding voters of that work for or against Jeb Bush? The Washington Post thinks it’s a blunder on his part. Tweeting a gun could be in so many ways as well. The South Carolina Primaries are coming up and only time will tell.