Our forefathers came to this country in pursuit of liberty. They thought that everyone should have the opportunity to aspire to whatever we want regardless of who we are. When they wrote our constitution and set up our government, they rejected the notion that political power should be inherited, instead deciding in favor of an elected representative democracy.
The idea that a nobody from nowhere can grow up to be President of the United States is just awesome, isn’t it? That’s a terrific ideal, but the reality of politics today is just like in any business – it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. AND we all know that blood is thicker than water.
It’s true that powerful family connections have always been used by those fortunate enough to have them to help them get ahead. That’s just a reality of the world we live in, but don’t you think it’s gotten out of hand in politics lately?
The fact that several of the most likely contenders for president in 2016 are in that position because of family connections is offensive to me. It doesn’t matter the political party because both parties have their share of political dynasties. It’s not just the Kennedys of the Democratic Party anymore!
Is this what the founders intended?
I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately as Hillary Clinton has been on her national book tour. I’ve seen many people on the right express on social media that she wouldn’t be in the position to be a 2016 contender if it weren’t for her marriage to Bill Clinton. That’s true, but I don’t think they should say anything, considering that the GOP’s leading candidates include Jeb Bush and Rand Paul, both following in their fathers’ footsteps in politics.
It’s not just those who are on the presidential level. There are many other examples in states across the country this year. Candidates, such as Jason Carter in Georgia, George P. Bush in Texas or Alison Grimes in Kentucky, are all continuing in the family business of politics.
There hasn’t been a lot of discussion in the mainstream media about the issue of American inherited political power because they are part of it. Many reporters and television hosts at most of the major news outlets can trace their lineage to some of the most powerful families in the country. Just at NBC alone, you can see a lot of current and former personalities with powerful connections. Chelsea Clinton, Jenna Bush, Abby Huntsman, Mika Brezinski, Harold Ford Jr., Maria Shriver, Luke Russert, Ronan Farrow, Josh Barro, all have well-known family members inside and outside of politics. The list could go on and on, and at the other networks too! Are they going to say anything about it? No.
Look, I know that people with powerful connections have to prove themselves in the jobs they are in – including Hillary Clinton and those others in politics. I’m not saying that they aren’t capable, but would they have had the opportunity if it weren’t for who they are? No.
How can we make it possible for more normal people, like you and me, to have a shot? Well first, we can help each other out.
In politics, we can work to reform the system.
Free market reforms to system will help to make it possible for everyone to have a better shot at political office. Now, the broken political party system we have benefits those with connections to power. Those who are able to work the system to gain access to nominations and money have the advantage. It helps if you can just take over your dad’s ‘machine’ and connections in the party. By making ballot access and voting easier, then everyone will have a better opportunity to build their own brand and networks, independent of the parties.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think we are ever going to be without inherited political power in some form in this country. That’s just the way it is, but we should make reforms to help normal people have a better shot.
I’ve said before that if 2016 turns out to be an election between political dynasties, then I will work to build support for an independent candidate. Or maybe I’ll just move to a country with a monarchy, where they do their inherited political power honestly.