University of Virginia political science professor Larry Sabato believes that Jeb Bush is the candidate Hillary Clinton most wants to face in a general election because he would be the easiest to defeat.
In his Crystal Ball report, which Politico Playbook flagged, he writes:
Bush may be exactly the Republican the Clinton campaign desires. Her people are well rehearsed and they all say, ‘The candidate we’d least want to face is Jeb Bush.’ … [T]his suggests that the candidate the Clintonistas may really want to run against is Bush, knowing that … Walker or Rubio could make a strong future-versus-past argument. And with Bush, Hillary Clinton can run against two Bush recessions and two Bush Middle East wars, asking ‘do you want a third?’
Sabato was echoing the findings of a recent Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll that found that though 51% thought Clinton would be a return to the past, a whopping 60% felt that Bush would be a “return to the policies of the past.” Elections are about the future, and those numbers do not bode well for Bush in a general election against Clinton, who Republicans have worried could win the messaging battle if she frames the race as one between the potential “first woman president” versus the “third Bush.”
Perhaps that is why the mainstream media have decided to build up Bush during the primaries (like they did with Mitt Romney in 2012)–right before they start tearing him down if he wins the nomination.