Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Jeb Bush's Outdated Take on Latin America

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know I get tired of the "losing" or "ignoring" Latin America argument, which usually refuses to engage actual evidence. Now Jeb Bush is bringing it up.

His timing is not great. The Obama administration was bold with Cuba, used Thomas Shannon extensively in Venezuela, and otherwise is very involved in the region. Meanwhile, Bush cites China's rise precisely at a time when the Chinese economy is cooling. Its influence has been overstated to begin with.

If you really want to talk about poor relations with Latin America, then you mostly need to look to his brother, who was incredibly unpopular. Obama had to work to turn that around. Perhaps more importantly for Jeb Bush, this is not something primary voters care much about, particularly since he is not an immigration hardliner. So as an argument it is largely inaccurate empirically and useless politically.


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