How Jeb Bush's end in South Carolina resembled Rahul Gandhi's defeat in 2014

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The unsuccessful run of Jeb Bush, the son and brother of two former American presidents, in this year's presidential election bears a resemblance with that of Rahul Gandhi, the Congress vice-president, in the Lok Sabha election in 2014. Like Bush who failed to last his entire journey despite having a good start, Rahul had seen his party getting decimated in the Indian election two years ago.

Both the leaders found themselves buried under the baggage of the anti-dynastic sentiments.


Jeb Bush represented a fresh beginning but still couldn't make it

Jeb Bush, the former governor of Florida, was seen as a representative of a fresh Republican appeal that spoke of multiculturalism, a family that always had a closeness with the presidency (his father George H W Bush had served one year term while his elder brother George W Bush had served two terms) and had a robust fundraising mechanism. But these advantages did not help Bush in the final count as could not survive the onslaught launched by Donald Trump and bowed out in the initial phase of the race.

The defeat of Bush and the victory of Trump may herald a new reality in the Republican Party but that is something more related to America's internal political dynamics.

From Bushes to Gandhis: Heirs have been hit by their dynastic legacies

For a generalistion which can transcend national borders, the defeats of Bush and Rahul signify that voters harbour little sympathy for leaders who personify an establishment which is perceived to be on the wrong side of popular trust. Jeb Bush tried to revive his family's political fortunes that were hit by his brother's misadventures but failed.

Both Jeb & Rahul saw how dynasties have lost relevance for today's generations

Rahul, on the other hand, too, tried to present his party which has given India three prime ministers as a strong alternative to Narendra Modi, currently the prime minister of India, but didn't succeed. Today, the Congress is a weak force in a system which has undergone a sea change and what has traditionally been perceived as its strong point---the Gandhi family---is being seen as a disadvantage today.

Trump has done to Jeb Bush what Modi did to Rahul

Modi emerged on the ruins of a Congress that was seen with contempt, thanks to the anti-incumbency feelings that have kept on piling up over decades and also the general dissatisfaction with the Congress-led UPA government that preceded Modi's NDA government. The Emergency which was imposed by Rahul's grandmother Indira Gandhi or the Bofors scam that broke out during his father Rajiv Gandhi's time still kept the gap between the party and the voters wide.

New realities have also given the dynastic traditionalism a body blow

On the top of it, the rise of the new middle-class, felicitated by the economic liberalisation, added to the Congress's woes as Modi's tech-savvy and smarter moves gave the grand-old party little opportunity to even come close in the elections that followed. The Congress was reduced to its lowest-ever number of Parliament while Modi repeated something that Rahul's predecessors could only do till that time: get an absolute majority.

Jeb Bush, similarly failed to gauge the voters' actual mode and harboured a thought that travelled on a straight line: That the Americans would pick a candidate who is more a part of the establishment and not someone who spoke colourful things to steal the headlines. But it didn't happen and the refined Republicanism that Bush presented was rejected mercilessly.

Even family members couldn't save Jeb Bush or Rahul by campaigning for them

Bush even tried to save the day by roping in his mother, former First Lady Barbara Bush and brother George W Bush. But even the family support couldn't do it for him. Just like Sonia Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi failed to drive home Rahul's case in India.

Both Bush and Rahul perhaps represent a political legacy which has been outlived and even a bright past cannot do much in resurrecting their present and future.

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