This election season has had so many surprises, I’m staying away from making predictions.

But one thing is clear — Donald Trump has done Republicans a favor by exposing weaknesses in other candidates, in many cases such fatal flaws that they could never survive a Clinton-Media onslaught.

That weeding out process is not over, but already it has dispatched Rick Perry and Scott Walker. I wasn’t surprised with Perry, but the Trump phenomenon exposed weaknesses in Walker as a national candidate.

While it ain’t over until it is over, Jeb Bush has been damaged more than anyone by Trump.

From day one, Trump has been humiliating and emasculating Jeb with taunts. That would not have had much effect unless those taunts exposed Jeb’s inherent weaknesses as a candidate.

When Trump taunted Jeb as being low energy, it rang true and Jeb didn’t know how to react. When Trump raised the issue of Jeb being soft on immigration because his wife is an immigrant, Jeb on stage at a debate demanded an apology to Jeb’s wife, who was in the audience. Trump refused, and Jeb had nowhere to go with it — Jeb looked weak.

Now Trump is zeroing in on Jeb’s biggest problem — George W. Bush.

While Trump clearly insinuated that George W was responsible for 9/11, though he denies it, there is no doubt that he broke longstanding Republican refusal to implicate George W.:

Ezra Klein at Vox nailed the issue, Trump has figured out Jeb Bush’s greatest weakness:

Trump has a bully’s instinct for finding someone else’s true weaknesses. His continued crack that Bush is a “low-energy” candidate is devastating precisely because it identifies a weakness not just in Bush’s campaign style, but in the nature of his campaign.

Now Trump has pulled Bush into an even more dangerous quagmire: his brother’s presidency. Trump is reminding every Republican voter that nominating Jeb Bush will mean running a general election campaign with two disadvantages. First, Republicans will have to answer for George W. Bush’s failures in a way they wouldn’t if they nominated Marco Rubio or Carly Fiorina or Donald Trump, and second, they’ll need to somehow explain why they’re holding Hillary Clinton responsible for Obama’s presidency even as they don’t hold George W. Bush responsible for George W. Bush’s presidency.”

As if on cue, Jeb once again jumped to a family member’s defense, but it fell flat as this interview with Jake Tapper today:

Klein continued:

And Trump, having realized how weak Bush is on this issue, isn’t stopping. He’s moved from 9/11 to the Iraq War:


I find blaming George W. for 9/11 or second-guessing the Iraq decision based on 20/20 hindsight odious — those are Democratic talking points.

But they point to why we don’t want another Bush as nominee. Democrats and the media will go there in a general election.

We don’t want to spend the entire general election re-arguing the Bush presidency. That is how Democrats, with the full power of the media behind them, will win.

My feeling about Jeb is the same as my feeling was about Mitt — they are both ideal candidates … for Democrats to run against.

That’s why I supported Newt, with all his warts. I knew in my gut Mitt would lose. And I have that same gut feeling about Jeb. And apparently a lot of other do also, because Jeb has gained no traction and has withered under the Trump assault.

The Trump primary assault is nothing compared to what the Republican nominee will face.

Not all candidates have suffered Jeb’s fate.

Dr. Ben Carson seems to be thriving, but I don’t know what to make of his current success. Ted Cruz has held his own, and has positioned himself to pick up much of Trump and Carson’s supporters should they fade. Marco Rubio also has excelled; he’s not in a leading position, but he also hasn’t been hurt and may benefit when the Jeb donors finally figure out Jeb is done. Carly Fiorina has lost some of her debate bump, but has shown an ability to respond effectively to Trump’s taunts.

Love him or hate him, Trump has done us a favor by shaking the tree.