Another Bush. Another Clinton. Another would-be link in the dynastic chain.
Gallons of ink have been spent in recent months trying to parse the insurgent political campaigns that are tripping the one-time "sure bet" candidates for the two major parties. Outspoken billionaire Donald Trump is giving presumed Republican standard bearer Jeb Bush a rougher ride than Hillary Clinton on the Democratic. But still, the continually strong polls numbers for avowed socialist Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks to something.
It's increasingly clear, Americans on both ends of the political have grown weary both parties "new normal." Ronald Reagan remade the GOP — possibly saving it after Nixon's fall — with his trickle down economics and now-ubiquitous industrial-military complex. Bill Clinton crafted the Democratic response to Reagan with neo-liberalism, a center-left approach that cut welfare and balanced the budget.
It's a grind we've been stuck in for decades.
The GOP's tea party's revolt is nearing a decade old now. And they've made gains in the House, touting three-dozen true believers with enough clout to outlast Speaker John Boehner. The Democratic left — also feeling ignored by its equally corporatist, post-Citizens United leadership — is following suit. And, like the tea party, the liberal crusaders account for about a third of the Democratic electorate.
But there's something else brewing here, which is attracting centrists to fringe candidates. Americans, right now, just aren't too keen on the incessant hereditary right to power.
Sure, we hero-worship Hollywood types. We admire top-tier athletes and, occasionally, even elect them to office. We revel in how far removed they are from the ho-hum life of most Americans. But Bush and Clinton are each so separated from the Middle Class that they can't in any way represent it. They're anachronisms, clinging to outdated political norms that reek to an entire generation of young, engaged voters.
Bush is the son of one president and brother to another. He's the grandson of a U.S. senator. And, thanks to the equally privileged Trump, he's forced to answer for his relatives' sins.
Clinton, for her part, is married to probably the most paradigm-shifting Democrat in a generation. Her connection to the former president catapulted her political career. The Clinton campaign learned some lessons after getting routed by Barack Obama's out-of-nowhere rise in 2008. But, by anointing Clinton, the Democratic Party proves it didn't learn a thing.
Many Americans want an outsider.
The American gentry has been around as long as the country itself. Names such as Roosevelt, Rockefeller and Kennedy show just how pervasive its been within U.S. politics over the last century.
There's always another Ivy League-educated Clinton or Bush in the pipeline waiting for generational ascendance. And perhaps, most infuriating, is their obvious feeling of entitlement. Hillary Clinton believes its her turn. She's paid her dues and built her infrastructure with the billionaire class. Bush is the "obvious choice" for the establishment because, two generations ago, his family laid claim to power.
There are many reasons I will never vote for either Clinton or Bush. Clinton's support for the Iraq War forever tarnishes her brief stint in the Senate. Her private email server while secretary of state doesn't instill confidence, either. Bush hired the architects of his brother's disastrous foreign policy to advise him on the topic.
But my gut might prove even more influential over my vote -- or non-vote -- this time around. Last year, some of the nation's brightest academics labeled the U.S. an oligarchy. With all the cash flowing unabated into campaigns these days, it's a hard point to counter.
Any oligarchy requires a ruling class that defends itself and the rest of the power structure at all cost. At that level, Bush and Clinton are identical beasts.