The Blog

An American Dynasty

In the United States, we like to puff out our chest with pride and patriotic furor, some might even say with a touch of arrogance, over the superiority with which we view our so-called democracy.
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In the United States, we like to puff out our chest with pride and patriotic furor, some might even say with a touch of arrogance, over the superiority with which we view our so-called democracy. We look down upon communist political systems such as China (nanny nanny boo boo, we have one more party than you), countries that elect socialist politicians such as Venezuela and Bolivia, and we export "democracy" at gunpoint to countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya. How's that working out?

It's a funny thing when you consider the realities of our democracy. While one family rule in monarchies and authoritarian regimes that fail to abide by the dictates of the United States remain under constant threat of being toppled either through military intervention, like in Libya, or subversive activities such as Cuba and Venezuela, we have a thriving dynasty here at home.

Consider for a moment the history of presidential elections in the United States since 1980. George H.W. Bush, as Ronald Reagan's running-mate, was elected Vice-President of the United States from 1980-1988. He then won the presidency in 1988 and held that position from 1988-1992. President Bush was defeated in 1992 by Bill Clinton. President Clinton reigned for two terms from 1992-2000. George W. Bush entered the Oval Office and remained there from 2000-2008.

Thus, from 1980-2008, a Bush or a Clinton made the District of Columbia their home for 28 straight years. Now imagine that Hillary Clinton had won the Democratic Party nomination in 2008, something that remained a distinct possibility deep into the primary. I don't think it would be a stretch to assume Clinton would have defeated John McCain in 2008. Prior to the Democratic primary, when Clinton was the clear front-runner to win the Democratic Party nomination, she was ahead in thirty-three of fifty-three 2007 head-to-head polls with McCain that did not end in a tie. While acknowledging this is a 'what if' moment, had Clinton won in 2008, we would have had two families controlling the executive office for 32 straight years, with the strong potential of 36 straight years.

This brings us to the current political context. On Sunday, Hillary Clinton announced her decision to campaign to be the next president of the United States. Clinton has long been the front-runner to win the Democratic Party nomination in 2016. In January 2014, Clinton led Vice President Joe Biden in a hypothetical 2016 Democratic primary by 61 points. Yes, 61 points -- 73 percent to 12 percent. A recent HuffPost Pollster shows that while Clinton's overall support has shrunk to 59.7 percent, her closest rivals, Biden and Senator Elizabeth Warren, still top out at a mere 12 percent support.

If Clinton were to succeed in her quest to become President of the United States, while not quite the scenario described above, we will still have had two families governing this country for 32 out of 40 years. Assuming she were to also win reelection, that would increase to 36 out of 44 years.

Interestingly, a recent HuffPost Pollster for the National Republican Primary shows that Jeb Bush holds a narrow lead at 15.4 percent to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's 11.9 percent. Though Bush has not yet announced his own candidacy, he has decided to "actively explore" running. If Clinton and Bush were to win their respective nominations, it would be the second time that members of the two families faced off against each other for the presidency. Further, barring a third party miracle, it would guarantee that members of the two families would have governed this country for 32 out of 40 years come 2020, or 36 out of 44 years come 2024 if the 2016 winner were to be reelected.

At the young age of 35, it's probably a little too soon to bring Chelsea Clinton into the conversation. In our American Dynasty, perhaps there's room for three. How soon before we here the chants of Michelle Obama for President?