The tendency of American voters to hand over the reins of power to the sons, daughters, and wives of popular or successful leaders simply because they shared a last name, a bed or some DNA has always been an embarrassment, proof of the most unfortunate aspects of democracy when it is driven by civic laziness rather than diligence. Beneficiaries of this generations-long deficit in seriousness and responsibility include presidents (Adams, Bush); U.S. Senators (Kennedy, Gore, Clinton, Bayh,**), representatives (Kennedy, Bono, Jackson…), and governors (Bush, Bush…). Some have performed well, some not so well, but all of them were initially elected because voters knew their names, and illogically ascribed to them whatever it was that they admired about their family members, regardless of experience, qualifications, or evidence of governing skill.
In Tuesday’s primaries, voters rectified one especially egregious example of this phenomenon, and committed a new one. Continue reading