Boston College Expert: Presidential Candidate Jeb Bush
KAY LEHMAN SCHLOZMAN
BOSTON COLLEGE MOAKLEY PROFESSOR OF POLITICAL SCIENCE
Kay Lehman Schlozman is the Moakley Professor of Political Science whose principal research focus is citizen participation in American politics. She also has expertise in broad areas of American political life; parties and elections, interest groups, voting and public opinion, political movements, money in politics, and the gender gap in citizen political activity. Professor Schlozman is the co-author of five books, including The Unheavenly Chorus: Unequal Political Voice and The Broken Promise of American Democracy. She is also the editor of Elections in America and was the chair of the American Political Science Association's section on Elections, Public Opinion and Voting Behavior.
"Of course, the Bush name recognition does one big thing – it gives him familiarity with voters, name recognition, that sort of thing. However, during the primaries the game is very different in the Republican constituency that will go to caucuses or vote in primaries. It’s more politically attentive, politically knowledgeable so with that group Bush has less of a need to get his name out there. People know who he is in contrast to some of the other candidates we’re just learning about and just getting to know.
“On the other hand, his relative centrism among the candidates who are vying for the Republican nomination would possibly be a disadvantage and that’s not about being a Bush, it’s about being Jeb Bush.
“I’m not sure how his claim that he’s this self-made Bush, the one who never traded on his family name, I don’t know how that will play with voters. There’s certainly evidence to back up that claim but there’s certainly a lot of evidence that he got to where he is because he is part of, in a certain sense, the first family of Republicans and had a lot of advantages as a result of that. That’s not in any way to put down his intelligence, concern about issues and so on, but it certainly hasn’t hurt him. There’s certainly evidence that he has in the past used his connections that came from his family than from his own achievements in business or politics to move forward.”
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