America’s political system is ramping up for the 2016 presidential election. The two leading candidates for the Democratic and Republican parties are Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush, respectively. Each has formed a leadership political action committee (PAC) to prepare for a run. Both are expected to announce their candidacies in the coming weeks.
The Bushes and Clintons served at the pinnacle of American power without interruption for three decades beginning with Vice President George H.W. Bush in 1981. They remain as power brokers even while holding no political office; Bill Clinton serves as the de facto head of the Democratic Party. Some are concerned that potential Democratic candidates are holding back for fear of the long shadow cast on the party by the Clintons. The Bush family, too, maintains a position of power within the Republican Party. Jeb Bush has been depicted as waiting “his turn” while his brother served as president. Now, with his family and its powerful supporters behind him, his nomination is highly probable.
Arthur M. Schlesinger warned forty years ago in “The Imperial Presidency” of an alarming concentration of power in the Executive Branch of the federal government. Despite this warning, power has continued shifting to the presidency at an accelerating pace. Consolidating presidential power further by limiting choice to two families is a major threat to the republic and the interests of its citizens.
In the eyes of many the democratic principle of power shared among the citizenry through universal suffrage is in jeopardy. Our political system is intended to bestow equality through the voting process, but the reality is that powerful moneyed elites drive the choices put before the voters in major elections. After elections, those same few advance their priorities through direct and indirect influence that results from financial support of campaigns. The Bushes and Clintons, historically entrenched in this distorted system, are not likely to confront it.
On a cultural level, the political division within the country is personified by the Bushes and Clintons. They depend on ideological polarity to muster support and gain the levers of power. To select Bush and Clinton as the party nominees for the 2016 election is to assure continued bitter division in the country for another four to eight years.
It is time to move on to new and fresh ideas and faces. Regardless of one’s political affiliation, it is clear to see that the nation’s interest is best served by moving away from these two families.
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