I have been thinking about political dynasties lately. In the just concluded (2016) US election season, we saw two representatives of eminent political dynasties trounced. First was Jeb Bush, scion of the Bush political dynasty, who was trounced in the Republican primaries. Then there was Hillary Clinton, of the Clinton Dynasty, who won the Democratic Party primaries, but then went on to lose the election to the Republican contender. The whole thing made me reflect about political dynasties: how they come into being, how they thrive, and how they end.
With respect to the question of how the political dynasties come into being, I think several factors are at play. Key among them is the fact that the members of the political dynasties who come later are able to leverage on the connections that were created by the members of their families who were there before them. You can’t underestimate the power of connections in the real world. Come to think of it, in my last blog post on the three types of people who tend to do well in life, I should have included a category for people with good connections – because connections matter a great deal.
With respect to the question of why political dynasties thrive, I think there are several factors at plays as well. Key among those is the fact that members of the political dynasties have the benefit of name-recognition, which helps them a great deal when starting out.
With respect to the question of how political dynasties end, I think the main factor at play there is resentment. At some point, the people start being resentful of the fact that members of certain families are dominating their affairs. You see, people have complex love-hate relationships with these dynasties. The relationships that people have with the political dynasties are, more or less, akin to the complex love-hate relationships that people have with their credit cards. Therefore, at some point, out of resentment, the people are bound to decide to bring the whole political dynasty thing to an end. This is probably what happened in the Clinton case. People have been splitting hairs trying to figure out why Hillary lost. I am of the view that the dynasty factor played a big part – where people were simply resentful of the fact that, by voting in Hillary, they would be creating a scenario where the presidency would be rotating within certain families. And therefore the people opted, for better or worse , to vote for someone who is not a member of the ‘system’ – just for the heck of it.