By Courtney Such, Editor in Chief
As Furman students finished up their Monday lab sessions and cut through the Trone Student Center to get to their next meetings, few noticed a familiar name grabbing a late Moe’s lunch in the P-Den.
Jeb Bush Jr., son of presidential candidate and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush Sr., stopped in Greenville Mon., Oct. 19 to open the newest office at 103 Commons Way off of White Horse Road and promote “Mission: Next” – a campaign to raise Jeb! enthusiasm among millennials.
“We are trying to get on 450 campuses in 45 days,” Jeb Jr. said. “We’re approximately 80 percent of the way there … We have at least some representation on these campuses to start having the dialogue with young people on why it’s important to be engaged in the political process and why dad would be a great president.”
“Mission: Next” is one of Jeb Jr.’s biggest roles in the campaign. Border-lining the millennial era himself (he is 31 years old), the Bush team believes “it’s important for the future of our country to get young people engaged.”
Appealing to the younger generation is not a new concept to the Bush dynasty. Former President George W. Bush had a similar campaign focus on younger voters during his election years, but since then, the Democratic Party has been notoriously associated with capturing such votes. Attracting young voters is one of the biggest faults recognized by the 2012 Romney campaign and the Republican Party as a whole, as recent Republican National Committee recommendations show.
“One thing maybe the RNC hasn’t focused on in the last decade is reaching out to young people, or really doing it in an effective way. One thing we saw in president Obama was that he was very effective at getting young people, millennials, engaged in the process,” Jeb Jr. said.
Capturing college-aged voters is not his only focus. One of Jeb Sr.’s goals is to campaign where Republicans usually do not spend much time, including Hispanic, African American and millennial communities, and Jeb Jr. is prepared to devote his time in more than one.
Hispanic outreach is what lies after the 45-day college relay for Jeb Jr. – someone who is half-Hispanic himself and earned a degree in Latin American studies. But no matter where he goes to help his dad campaign, he will always be confronted with the news of the moment.
While visiting a college in New York last week, Jeb Jr. told students opponent Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) should “drop out or do something” in reference to missed Senate votes since campaigning began.
“I don’t think [what I said] was anything horrible,” he said. “He’s missed a lot. The federal funding [vote], he skipped it. He’s been missing a lot of votes, and I don’t understand why he just didn’t resign his seat,” Jeb Jr. said.
According to Jeb Jr., his remarks did not result in a phone call from his dad. Rubio is not the only competition he has commented on, though. Jeb Jr. tweeted Sept. 1, “Can’t wait for this summer reality show to be over,” in reference to Republican frontrunner Donald Trump’s summer escapades. The Jeb! campaign has emphasized the general election over the primaries from the beginning but continue to be caught off guard by the real-estate mogul’s success.
“He [Trump] has been in the press a lot of the time … it’s just one of these things that, yeah, I thought it would’ve been over by now, but I think there needs to be serious policy proposals with serious people that have a proven track record of accomplishment,” Jeb Jr. said.
Trump is currently leading in the South Carolina primary polls with a 15.4 spread over retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, while Bush sits in sixth place with 5.7 percent points.