2015 Archives

America's political royalty


The following is from the March 22, 2015, edition of The Christian Science Monitor. SMU Political Science Professor Cal Jillson provided expertise for this story.

March 24, 2015

By Linda Feldmann
Staff writer

Washington — In a nation of 319 million people, America’s 2016 presidential election could well come down to a rematch between two of its greatest modern political families: the Bushes and the Clintons.

Hillary Rodham Clinton is crushing it in polls for the Democratic nomination. The former secretary of State, senator, and first lady leads her nearest potential competitor – Vice President Joe Biden – by an average of 44 percentage points in major polls. And she hasn’t even taken the first formal step toward running. In terms of fundraising and organizing, though, Mrs. Clinton is all in.

Jeb Bush, the son and brother of former presidents, is at or near the top of the vast potential Republican field in most polls. The former governor of Florida has some commanding advantages: the Bush family’s killer Rolodex and, flowing from that, the ability to raise vast sums of money. At one recent fundraiser, tickets went for $100,000 a pop. . . 

That 2016 could feature two dynastic titans is also the product of deliberate planning. With the Bushes, “this is conscious, intergenerational preparation,” says Cal Jillson, a political scientist at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. “Go back to Senator Bush out of Connecticut, and then everybody after that.”

He is referring to the family patriarch, Rebublican Sen. Prescott Bush, father of George H.W. and grandfather of George W. and Jeb.

With the Clintons, the presidential gleam is visible in the iconic photograph of a teenage Bill Clinton shaking hands with President John F. Kennedy in 1963, when Clinton was a delegate to the American Legion Boys Nation in Washington, D.C.

“Hillary married that, in a conscious sort of way, and has prepared herself,” says Mr. Jillson.

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