Hey, here's a new rumor about 2016, it being a new day and all: Wall Street wants Jeb Bush to run. Attention, Wall Street. You actually don't know anything about politics, so stop.
Politico's Morning Money tells us about the "Jeb Bush Boomlet." Apparently "there is growing chatter in elite New York financial circles" that Bush is thinking about running. "Plugged in" GOP sources say he's moved from certainly not running to a "30 percent chance" of running.
Some of the chatter ratcheted up because Bush was in NYC on Tuesday and spoke at the SIFMA conference and took some hard shots at President Obama for taking "victory dances" after fiscal fights and not building relationships with Republicans that could help on tax reform, immigration and other issues.
A "plugged in GOP source" emailed Politico's Ben White: "If Christie can't break out … Jeb is the only proven national mainstream candidate who could keep the Cruz/Paul wing at bay and have a shot at winning a general election." How serious would Bush be about his run? "[H]e will drop everything else he is doing (working for Barclays, among things) and go all in." Pretty serious!
There are, as of writing, 1,091 days until the November 2016 elections. In our little horse race, the competitors are still a long, long way from the January 2016 finish line. The point being: daily, breathless updates about who's in and who's out are just silly — especially based on "chatter" following a potential candidate's public appearance. So you say a former politician and member of the Bush family insulted Obama at an event? Wrap it up, everyone. Our 2016 field is set.
It's not clear how many "plugged in" people White was talking to; it's not clear how extensive the chatter is. It was enough for White to lead his daily column with it, so we'll assume it's legit. Wall Street is talking about Jeb Bush. Traders and VPs in nice suits are pulling electoral data from battleground states and cross-checking that against policy positions. Hm, they say, rubbing their chins. This Bush fellow seems like he has a shot! The preceding scenario is a joke; that is not what's happening. Jeb Bush came and got people excited. Someone in the crowd said "president," probably about his new job title, and then the rumor boiled over.
Wall Street's long-term track record on political predictions and support is terrible. Yes, Wall Street gives a lot of money to a lot of candidates. Yes, Wall Street gets a lot of legislative help from Capitol Hill. But the idea that Wall Street pours money into races and shifts elections has no basis in reality. In the 2012 election cycle, the financial services industry gave nearly $700 million to candidates and PACs. The top 20 campaign recipients accounted for $122 million of that. $72.6 million of the $122 million went to candidates that lost. Of the remaining $50 million or so, $6 million went to non-incumbents. There are a lot of caveats, including that the industry blew $60 million on Mitt Romney. But Romney was a finance guy! They've couldn't have had a more plugged-in candidate to support! And he lost.
And then there's everyone's favorite billionaire, Michael Bloomberg. In Virginia, he backed Terry McAuliffe to the tune of $1.1 million-plus. McAuliffe won. But Bloomberg also backed Democrats in a Colorado recall and lost. He put $1 million into a pre-kindergarten campaign in the state and lost that, too. Money may have bought Mike Bloomberg three New York City races, but it can't be pointed to as the primary cause for many other wins.
The thing about campaigns is that they are long and grueling and dependent on thinking of the campaign as long and grueling. They are investments of time and energy that would be anathema to a day trader. You do not write a check and go to the victory party, unless you're either lucky or you are giving to a guy that everyone knew would win. (See: Bloomberg's support for Booker.) So the idea that Wall Street will slowly crank its steering wheel and offer Jeb Bush a ride to the White House is either naive or willfully misleading.
Don't believe us? Consider this phrase from that source's email: "Jeb is the only proven national mainstream candidate." Based on what? He ran for and was elected governor of Florida. That puts him on the national stage, yes, but he got there as much for his last name as his honorary title. He left office in January 2007. Who was Florida governor before Bush? Hell, who is it today? Yes, you know the answer. But would you say that Rick Scott is a national candidate?
But the real reason to be skeptical is that polls consistently show Bush losing even Florida! In January, Public Policy Polling found Bush losing Florida in a theoretical 2016 match-up by 5 points. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio only trailed by 4. In March, Quinnipiac found Clinton beating Bush by 9. (Rubio fared worse in that poll.) So what's Bush's path to the presidency? Could he even win a primary in Florida? These polls are not ones for which The Atlantic Wire paid a lot of money. We used a proprietary tool called "Google" to turn them up. This tool, we believe, is available on Wall Street.
One good Jeb Bush event and a sudden spike in his value on Wall Street should have no effect on the price of his 2016 futures. If you don't believe us, ask President Romney.