Presidency resembles inherited rule

For 20 years, the United States has been led by just two families.

As Hillary Clinton seeks the Democratic Party’s nomination for the White House, she would if elected replace the son of a former president who replaced her husband as president. Since 1988, America has been headed by only a Bush or a Clinton. If Clinton were to become the next president, then the United States would know just two families as heads of state through 2012 – a span of 24 consecutive years. America’s democracy seems to have given way to what resembles inherited rule.

In the 1988 election Vice President George H. W. Bush won 54 percent of the popular vote, which was only 27 percent of all eligible voters. In 1992, Gov. Bill Clinton’s 43 percent of the popular vote defeated President George H. W. Bush’s 37 percent. In this election, less than 60 percent of those eligible to vote abstained. President Clinton’s 1996 victory was no different. In 2000, due to the Electoral College and a Supreme Court ruling, Gov. George W. Bush’s 47.87 percent of the popular vote beat Vice President Al Gore’s 48.38 percent. Again, roughly half of all eligible Americans did not turn out. The same is true for President George W. Bush’s 2004 victory.

For 20 years, Americans have elected three men from two families to the presidency. But it is also true, as Howard Zinn wrote regarding the presidential victories of the 1980s, “that roughly half the population, though eligible to vote, did not; that those who did vote were limited severely in their choices to the two parties that monopolized the money and the media; that as a result many of their votes were cast without enthusiasm; and that there was little relationship between voting for a candidate and voting for specific policies.”

Although children are taught otherwise, not everyone can grow up to be president. In the 20th Century, the Roosevelts, Kennedys, Bushes and Clintons monopolized political and financial power. There will not be another Abraham Lincoln to emerge from the wild. Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton both rose from obscurity, but they did so by pandering for political funds.

It is only the rich that lead America, or those willing to indulge them. The U.S. public sees this continuing narrative and half chooses to not vote.