The US will soon face the choice of monarchy vs. fascism.*
Should the US continue down the unfortunate path of nominating people from the same family to serve as President because they have a brand? Note, this is hardly unique. In the context of the United States, Clinton follows the Presidents Bush, Kennedy, Roosevelt, Harrison, and Adams (and Governors Romney, we might add) who have had same-named family members follow the same path in seeking the Presidency with more or less success. The dynastic nature of politics also must consider positions like Senator, Representative, and Governor which are often family businesses.
A possible mechanism for familial brands is that the brand name gives a leg up on the marketing and funding machine, behind them, and in theory would reproduce similar policies and governance styles, and the second or nth member of a family might adhere to all the commitments of their forebears. Alternatively, many people might just be sheep who like monarchs, and this is as close as it gets.
The Clintons, as is their wont, have found yet another loophole, this around the 22nd Amendment limiting Presidents to two terms. You may say Hillary and Bill are separate individuals, but the law considers marriage such a tight bond that spouses cannot be compelled to testify. “Two for the price of one” as one of them once said.
Or should the US nominate a ‘strongman’ who will keep the homeland pure by casting out the foreigners and building walls? One who slept next to a book by Hitler.
My ancestors had an expression: Best government: Good Czar, Worst government: Bad Czar. The point I think is that dictators (who in the Russian case combine fascism with monarchy) can be more efficient and effective, but lack checks and balances that democracy provides.
So in addition to the normal questions of who will govern better or who aligns with my policy preferences or who would I rather drink a beer with (which is perhaps the stupidest reason to support someone), the question arises: who is more likely to turn over power in 4 or 8 years, the monarch or the fascist? I think the evidence in the US is that the successful dynasts, as bad as they have generally been (FDR aside, and he was only a fifth cousin of Theodore Roosevelt), did not try to take over the government, and all willingly turned over power (FDR aside again, though one assumes had he lived he would not have run in 1948, and that had he lost he would have relinquished the office).
Even if the dynasts did try to hang on to power, the military would have been unlikely to support them. For the fascist, American experience is insufficient, and the evidence abroad is that fascists do not tend to turn over power willingly, but instead change the constitution to retain office “legally”.
The question is not simply how bad they will be in office, but how long they or their cronies or children will be in office. For the first time in a while there’s a risk they will end the Republic. So much of America just feels like End of Empire days now, this election is really not helping.
- * The US also has third party candidates, whose chances are more hopeful than usual given the climate, but who remain disfavored under the electoral regime where a vote for a third place candidate is considered “wasted”. Ranked choice voting would help, but it will not be in place for national elections any time soon. Full disclosure: I’ll probably vote for the Governors, Johnson/Weld (Libertarian) myself, unless the election looks close in Minnesota with the Libertarians in a distant 3rd.