Jeb Bush just challenged Donald Trump to a one-on-one debate:
“Donald, I’ll take you on one-on-one in a debate, any time, any place,” Bush said, during a campaign stop in Florida. “You name it and I’ll do it.”
The problem? Bush, the one-time Republican frontrunner, isn’t even polling in the same hemisphere as Trump is.
Bush averages just 4.4% in recent nationwide polls—putting him in a distant sixth place: far below Trump, who averages nearly ten times the support: 35.6%.
Worse, Bush has even fallen below other establishment favorites like Marco Rubio and Chris Christie, who both poll higher than him. Despite a large financial advantage, Bush has seen his support quickly erode.
Though Bush and Trump have traded some barbed comments in recent Republican debates, the odds of Trump taking Bush on one-on-one are virtually none: Trump would be foolish to do so!
As the prohibitive frontrunner—Trump has nearly double the support of his next closest opponent, Ted Cruz—Trump would have absolutely nothing to gain by debating Bush. On the flip side, and more importantly, Trump would have plenty to lose if he did go through with the debate.
Taking Bush one-on-one would elevate Bush’s flailing campaign—putting him on the same level as the new frontrunner, and possibly catapulting him back over Rubio and Christie.
Added to that, many of Trump’s weakest campaign moments have come during the Republican debates—so he’d do well to play to his strengths, which are giving speeches and firing up crowds at his well-attended rallies.
For Bush, however, it’s clear that this is a desperate Hail Mary from a dying campaign: a sad tactic to still act like he’s the Republican frontrunner and can make whatever demands he wants.