In October 1813, Thomas Jefferson wrote, “an artificial aristocracy founded on wealth and birth, without either virtue or talents,” would slowly strangle a nation. Fast forward to 2015, and with a looming presidential election, America is beginning to mimic an artificial aristocracy.
From Bush to Clinton, these families have controlled the White House for the past 20 years — 24 years if there is a Bush/Clinton election in 2016. Name id and fundraising are two key components to running and winning elections, the Bushes and Clintons are leveraging both leaving little room for other presidential contenders to have a shot at winning in 2016. Unless of course they are part of a political dynasty. Senator Rand Paul and Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney are both legacies when it comes to running for president. Senator Paul’s father has run for president three times, 1988, 2008, and 2012; while Romney’s father ran in 1968.
The political dynasty of the Bushes runs deeper than the other two with Bush Senior and George W. serving as president. However, the Bushes are not the first father son duo to occupy the White House. John Adams and John Quincy Adams set the tone serving as the second and sixth presidents respectively.
The last Republican president to win the White House without any elected office experience was Herbert Hoover. Hoover served as the United States Secretary of Commerce under President Warren G. Harding and Calvin Coolidge. Since that time, the GOP has not secured the White House without a Nixon or Bush on the ticket.
In an interview last year, Barbara Bush said, “If we can’t find more than two, three families to run for higher office, that’s silly. I refuse to accept that this great country isn’t raising other wonderful people.” She may have a point, but if we look back when we deviated from a Bush or Clinton White House all we see is the cracked image of our nation under an inactive president, also known as Barack Obama.
Over time, we as a country have become tolerant of political dynasties and they are nothing new to American politics — look at the Roosevelts, the Harrisons, the Kennedys, etc. Even though the very core of our country was founded on the principle of hostility to inherited status, we have quickly emulated what we had rebelled against in 1765, since the first of the dynasties, the Adams’, came quickly.
While colonists fought the American Revolution to escape the British monarch, if the current trend continues we may find ourselves in a new age monarch ruled by a political elite with the last name of either Bush or Clinton. At the current time, however, there isn’t a name stronger to win support, raise money, and turn out voters.