They say you can get “chicken fatigue.” It happens when you’ve eaten a lot of chicken, and suddenly you just can’t bear the thought of choking down another bite of it.
Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton must feel like the last drumstick right about now.
Today is a big day for Bush and Clinton. For Bush, it’s the South Carolina primary; for Clinton, it’s the Nevada caucuses. Both started out the 2016 race as apparent lock-cinch winners, dubbed by pundits and Beltway insiders as the presumptive nominees. As designated front-runners, they raised huge sums of money and seemed to have every advantage. But it hasn’t quite worked out.
Bush has been knocked down into the single digits, eclipsed by the bizarre Trump phenomenon, and just doesn’t seem able to take off. If he does poorly in South Carolina, where he’s spent lots of money and brought in his brother and mother to campaign, he’s probably finished. As for Clinton, she’s struggling to break through against a surprising challenge by Bernie Sanders. Who would have thought that Hillary Clinton would be getting a run for her money from a septuagenarian socialist?
Why has this happened? Obviously, part of it is that Bush and Clinton just aren’t great candidates. Bush doesn’t seem to be able to identify a good, compelling reason why he should be President, and Clinton is weighted down by baggage, like the ongoing email investigation, and bad decisions, like the continuing inability to deal with being paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to speak at Goldman Sachs, where one attendee said she gave “pretty glowing” remarks about that Wall Street firm.
I think part of the reason, too, is that a lot of Americans have come to realize that they are tired of the Bushes and the Clintons. We feel like they’ve had their moments in the sun, and now it’s time for somebody else to have a turn at the wheel. We groan inwardly when we see people like Bill Clinton giving another speech, or think of the possibility that the Bush crowd or the Clinton crowd could be back in the White House. Enough already!
This has been a weird and astonishing presidential election so far, but the struggles of the Bush campaign and the Clinton campaign really shouldn’t be surprising. It’s just a case of chicken fatigue writ large.