Sabato's Crystal Ball

Dynasty Isn’t Just for Monarchies Anymore

A Bush-Clinton matchup in 2016 would hardly be unusual. American politics is more of a family affair than you think.

Larry J. Sabato, Director, U.Va. Center for Politics April 3rd, 2014

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U.Va. Center for Politics Director Larry J. Sabato is contributing a regular column to Politico Magazine. With all the talk about the possible presidential candidacies of Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush, this week’s piece highlights the fact that politics has often been a family business in the United States. — The Editors

Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush may not agree on much, but they surely recognize they need each other in 2016. Only the nomination of both for president by their respective parties makes the dynasty issue go away.

While Clinton has long led her party’s 2016 presidential wish list, the ascension of Jeb Bush up the GOP board is more recent. But make no mistake: Many top Republicans would love him to run, as reported by the Washington Post and discussed on the Sunday shows over the weekend. I have heard the same thing for months from the highest levels of the GOP, which is part of the reason why Bush now occupies the top spot on our University of Virginia Center for Politics Crystal Ball rankings of the 2016 Republican contenders (Clinton obviously tops our Democratic rankings).

The very idea that just two alternating families would occupy the White House for 28 of the 36 years between 1989 and 2025 would have been abhorrent to America’s founding fathers. They weren’t enthusiastic supporters of participatory democracy, but they knew a monarchial line when they saw one, and started a revolution to end it on these shores. The presidency was never supposed to be a household inheritance.

To read the rest of the column, please click here.