Seldom do I confide that I am stumped by someone’s campaign strategy, but Jeb Bush has me baffled.

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He’s been an active Presidential candidate for six months, and it was only last week the he began to reveal his agenda. He said he’ll cut taxes, make us strong, reduce those nasty regulations and graduate more kids who can read. I’m not sure how that differentiates him from 20 other candidates who are promising to do the same thing.

In his time, Jeb Bush was one of the most conservative Governors in the United States. It wasn’t until last week that he said much about the taxes he cut, the educational and tort law reforms he implemented, or the economic growth Florida enjoyed when he was Governor.

Deciphering the Baffling Jeb Bush Strategy

Why, therefore, has he not been talking about his record for the past six months? The Jeb we’ve been reading about is known for open borders, unfettered immigration, automatic citizenship and common core. I don’t know a Republican primary electorate in any of our 50 states where that is an easy sell.

What is his overarching rationale for running the country? Smart candidates have a slogan—a memorable phrase that embodies why they want the job or what they’ll do with it if they get it. John Kennedy spoke of the “New Frontier.” Gerald Ford had “He’ll make us proud again.” Carter had “Leadership. For a Change.” Eisenhower had “Peace and Prosperity.” Bill Clinton had “It’s Time to Change America.” Governor Bush’s slogan? “Jeb.” What is that suppose to mean?

And then there is the early primary strategy. In my rule book it says you have to win the playoffs to get to the final game. Those early playoffs include Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada. Two are conservative caucus states. And South Carolina is southern and very conservative. Victory in New Hampshire is not a given, especially if Christie, Rubio, Kasich and Pataki decide to compete with Bush for the moderate independents that are allowed to vote in Republican primaries there. If Bush loses New Hampshire, he’ll be 0 for 4 in the first four contests.

Never before has that been the route to a nomination.

Presidential campaigns are a long haul, and Governor Bush may yet find his footing. But in political primaries, you must have what we call a unique selling proposition—something that clearly sets you apart from the field—a message that appeals to a clearly defined demographic that will show up to vote in primaries—a compelling message or slogan that interests people in your candidacy. And in Presidential campaigns, you must have a clear path to victory in one of the early contests.

Think you understand the Bush strategy? I’d love to hear your thoughts, as would the many others who receive my posts. Hit the comment button, share your comments and questions.

Political consultant Jay Townsend works with smart, passionate candidates who want to run for office, win elections and make a difference. He has successfully helped candidates learn how to run for the U.S. Senate, how to run for Congress, how to run for Mayor and develop a winning campaign marketing strategy.

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