In a long and thoughtful article in The Guardian, Adam Haslett posits that, despite their superficial gentility, the Bushes helped pave the way for Trump. He argues that the difference between them is simple:
Trump doesn’t have henchmen; he is his own henchman.
The Bush campaign and its patronage network would have us believe that a divisive, foul-mouthed conman is duping the media into ignoring the one sober candidate who is ready to lead the United States in troubled times. Jeb’s father is said to be confounded by the “rude” Mr Trump, while his mother cut a remarkably tone-deaf ad, in which, bedizened with pearls, she raises her slender nose at those who talk about “how popular they are, or how great they are”, as if no member of her clan has ever engaged in the unseemly business of self-promotion.
But the Bushes have long been aristocrats with knives in their pockets. In politics since the 1950s and in the White House for 16 of the last 28 years, this dynastic family embodies more than any other the transformation of the Republican Party from a coalition of northeastern social liberals and economic elites to one of southern, religious conservatives and free-market extremists.
The names of the Bush family’s henchmen – South Carolina native Lee Atwater and his protégée Karl Rove – are well known, as are most of their exploits.
The article is worth your while.