"Gov. Jeb Bush seems determined to stick to his position on immigration,"even though it is totally unacceptable to the conservative core of the party, but "at least he says, he's either going to win the nomination on his own terms, or he will lose and the Republican Party will probably lose as well," said former Obama adviser David Axelrod Wednesday night at an event at the historic Sixth & I synagogue in Washington.
AUDIENCE QUESTION: As someone who spends a huge amount of time looking at this country -- who we are and what we're thinking -- polling data. The 2008 campaign seemed to ride this wave, and when the American population is changing demographically, economically, look at this income inequality going on, it is just a completely different place, it seems. It came in this new era. And I'm looking at political candidates who we see for 2016.
Barack Obama seemed to have this unifying theme of a new America that was here is who we are today. Do you think any of the new candidates we're seeing have that? Are they of this era? And what would you look for in a candidate of this era?
DAVID AXELROD: First of all, any candidate that doesn't recognize that is a candidate who is not going to be president of the United States. Because we've become even more diverse than we were before -- which I think is a strength. My father was an immigrant, I'm sure there are plenty of other people here with immigrant families.
Our families contributed greatly to this country as this generation of immigrants does. I revel in the diversity, in fact we live in a country that draws people because it is a place where you can get ahead.
I think the great issue for 2016 though is can you get ahead? The greatest challenge facing us is the one the president articulated in the state of the union, for a long time exacerbated by the crisis that in the 21st century, given the forces of technology and globalization and what they have done in terms of marginalizing the middle class, deadening the ability for economic mobility, what is our strategy to push back on that?
And I think the candidate who can really paint a picture for what that strategy should be is going to be the most compelling candidate..
Just one more point on the emerging America: The Republican Party will not be a national party -- can not win a national election -- until they embrace the reality of the emerging America. I think one of the interesting subtexts -- a thing to watch in the 2016 campaign. Watch Gov. Bush, because he seems determined to stick to his position on immigration reform, and that is anathema to large numbers of the -- at least to the core of his party.
And he's made the decision, at least he says, he's either going to win the nomination on his own terms, or he will lose and the Republican Party will probably lose as well. I think their chances of winning will very much center on what happens with that experiment., because what has happened in the last couple of cycles -- conservatives say we've had center right candidates and we've lost, so we need a real conservative, but really what they had are center right candidates who made Faustian bargains and gave up their center right status and submitted to the positions of the right wing of the party, in order to be the nominee, thus rendering themselves un-electable.