Real estate tycoon Donald Trump (L), former Florida governor Jeb Bush (C) and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee (R) return to the stage following a break in the Republican presidential primary debate on August 6, 2015 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. 
Photo by Mandel Ngan/ AFP/Getty

Jeb, Trump, and the increasingly personal contest

One need not be a political expert to see that Donald Trump and Jeb Bush don’t like each other much. But for the most part, the two prominent Republican presidential candidates have been jabbing one another above the belt.
 
As Team Jeb gets increasingly antsy, that’s slowly starting to change.
 
Last week, for example, Bush’s campaign manager soon turned his attention to Trump’s sister. Yesterday, as Time’s Zeke Miller reported, the confrontation became even more personal.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is escalating his all-out campaign against GOP front-runner Donald Trump with a new ad campaign and quiz on social media designed to highlight Bush’s conservative credentials in contrast with the businessman’s past embrace of the Democratic Party. […]
 
In a strikingly personal attack, the quiz asks voters whether they would prefer a candidate who “is a germophobe when it comes to shaking hands,” a reference to Trump’s documented phobia, Bush, meanwhile is cast as a candidate who “strives to shake every hand everywhere.”
The exact wording reads, “Would you rather support a candidate who strives to shake every hand everywhere or is a germophobe when it comes to shaking hands?”
 
As a rule, these online gimmicks generally don’t serve much of a point, other than to help campaigns collect email addresses and build an online database, while helping get some of a campaign’s message out.
 
But therein lies the point: Team Jeb apparently wants voters to know that Trump, among his other idiosyncrasies, is concerned about handshakes and germs.
 
Former President George W. Bush recently expressed confidence that his brother “will elevate the discourse” during the campaign. How’s that working out?
 
For that matter, as we talked about yesterday, it was just two weeks ago that the chief strategist for Bush’s super PAC said, “Trump is, frankly, other people’s problem.”
 
Clearly, Bush and his aides no longer believe that.
 
 

Donald Trump and Jeb Bush

Jeb, Trump, and the increasingly personal contest