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Jeb! is the epic rewriting of the musical Hamilton you never knew you needed

Photo of Jeb Bush speaking on stage
Jeb Bush has not actually performed this, but he sure looks like he is in this photo.
Sean Rayford/Getty Images
Libby Nelson is Vox's policy editor, leading coverage of how government action and inaction shape American life. Libby has more than a decade of policy journalism experience, including at Inside Higher Ed and Politico. She joined Vox in 2014.

If you can sing along to Hamilton and also laugh at jokes about the Republican primary campaign, then you are 1) probably a person on the internet in 2016 and 2) absolutely the target audience for Jeb!, a Hamilton parody co-written by 19 people that makes every song about the 2016 Republican primaries and, specifically, the trials and tribulations of Jeb Bush.

It turns out much, much better than you could have imagined, from the beginning on:

Jeb: Jeb Bush, exclamation point.

My name is Jeb Bush, exclamation point.

And there’s a million things I haven’t done

But please just clap, please just clap.

This is, of course, a reference to one of the saddest moments in Jeb's campaign, when he asked his audience at a rally to "please clap."

And it goes on and on like this, through every Hamilton song. "Ten Duel Commandments" gets turned into "Ten Debate Commandments":

Jeb: You can only speak if someone invokes your name

This might not bode well for my campaign.

Rubio: Either watch what you say and speak with civility—

Trump: Or pop off at the mouth and just deny accountability

Jeb! plays a little fast and loose with plot and continuity — in this version, Tumblr plays a surprisingly key role in the downfall of Bush's campaign, and King George's songs are sung at different times by George W. Bush, Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama — and, like a Saturday Night Live skit extended to movie length, it starts to feel a little repetitive. Why, you find yourself thinking, is George W. Bush George Washington when George H.W. Bush is the clearer parallel?

But just when you think you've had enough, you hit another solo gem like Ted Cruz's "What'd I Miss":

Cruz: My poll numbers jump

My poll numbers jump

Texas my home sweet home, gonna give me a bump

I’ve been in Iowa, meeting all the farmers

The polls are saying that I'm quite the charmer

The first five songs are consistently incredible, but it's also worth singing to yourself Bill Clinton's "You'll be Back (to Democrats)," Donald Trump's "Pay For It," "Ten Debate Commandments," and "Full Stop," if only for the Jeb-Trump exchanges.

The creators of Jeb! are, ahem, not the first to try to apply the brilliance of Hamilton to the Republican race. But they've certainly done the most admirably thorough job.

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