I don't think it's a wonderful thing for democracy that we're probably going to have another Clinton running for president, and possibly another Bush -- but I don't find it as appalling as many other people do. And we're reminded today by John Harwood that voters gravitate to multi-politician families the way they gravitate to familiar brands:
Three business school professors recently set out to discover what accounts for regional differences in product choices by consumers.People vote for dynasties all over the country, though it seems to bother the bloviators only when the members of the dynasty are named Clinton. (I don't even consider the Clintons a true dynasty yet, since Bill and Hillary are both first-generation strivers who happened to get married, unlike the Bushes. Get back to me when Chelsea is running for something.)
Although about 60 percent of it had to do with regional sales and marketing, a startling 40 percent stemmed from what they described in The American Economic Review as "persistent brand preferences." Past experiences with the product or memories of family and friends using it shaped their buying decisions.
Democrats' hopes of holding the Senate this fall rest significantly on the political equivalent of that "brand capital." In four states that usually lean Republican, Democrats will be running candidates from families with multigenerational records of political success -- the Pryors of Arkansas, the Landrieus of Louisiana, the Begiches of Alaska and the Nunns of Georgia. If at least two of the four legacy candidates can eke out victories, the Democrats' chances of holding the Senate will be better than even....
Dems are running members of dynasties in Southern states, where they're at a disadvantage. I'm OK with running a Clinton in the 2016 presidential race because Democrats will have hurdles to overcome then, too -- President Obama's low poll numbers, an economy that never got fixed, the traditional difficulty of keeping a party in the White House for three terms, court victories Republicans have been winning on campaign finance and voting rights, a Republican Party that blocks everything Democrats want to do and then leaves Democrats with the blame. It would be nice if Democrats could win in 2016 on the Democratic brand, but the brand isn't looking too good these days, even if the Republican brand looks worse. And if Clinton wins on her brand name, well, don't blame her -- that's how people vote.