After a humiliating loss in the South Carolina primary, Jeb Bush announced Saturday that he is dropping out of the Republican race for president.
It was a devastating defeat for a man who had hoped to dominate the 2016 campaign, but found himself deeply out of touch with an electorate more inclined to favor the likes of Donald Trump and Marco Rubio.
“I’m proud of the campaign we’ve run to unify our country,” he said. “The people of Iowa and New Hampshire and South Carolina have spoken, and I really respect their decision. Tonight, I am suspending my campaign.”
Bush started the campaign with several presumed advantages: money, political experience, the backing of a legendary dynasty. “Jeb Bush has become the GOP frontrunner,” a Washington Post article from early 2015 read.
But he spent the race watching all three either fail to help him or actively hurt him, and his frequently awkward attempts to connect with voters turned him into a figure of mockery. He also saw Rubio, a man he’d promoted in Florida politics, return the favor by running against him—and winning. On Saturday, he was forced to watch Rubio deliver a final twist of the knife by wishing Bush well and declaring that he “[prayed] that his service to our country has not ended.”
The result of all of this was a 6th-place finish in Iowa and fourth-place finishes in both New Hampshire and South Carolina. After months running a campaign on life support, Bush finally threw in the towel. In a sign that he might have been partially relieved to be done with the ordeal, he wished his fellow candidates who were still “on the island” well.