Family Matters: the 2016 Elections call for new ideas amidst old families

by Jake Schamel

Opinion Contributor

It is safe to say the 2016 Presidential Election is well under way.  Over the last two weeks we have seen four candidates throw their hats in the ring, and we can expect more to in the coming weeks.

It all started when Texas Senator Ted Cruz made the announcement that he would seek to be the Republican nominee in 2016.  He was followed in short order by fellow Senate and party members Rand Paul and Mark Rubio who had both announced by the end of week.  The lone Democrat so far has been former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, but there are plenty of others waiting in the wings to throw their names in the ring.

The field of prospective candidates for the two parties is rather large, as is normally the case this early on.  Among these individuals are some names that we have all heard before.   Names from the last Republican run at the White House include Texas Governor Rick Perry, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum and former Arkansas Governor and Fox News host Mike Huckabee.  The other name that is familiar to all of us is Bush.

Yes, in 2016 another Bush is going to run for president.   This time it is former Florida Governor Jeb who will seek to be third in his family to reside at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.   He is one of the favorites to be the Republican nominee and this should be a concern to us.

If Bush and Clinton become their respective parties nominees then it will mark the fifth time in the last seven elections that we will have the option of choosing either a Bush or a Clinton to be our President.

While this country has a long history of powerful political families, it has never been quite like this.  Families such as the Roosevelts, Kennedys and Adamses  have each had their time in power but never have two families alternated power like the Bush’s and Clinton’s.

From 1980 until 2008, Americans saw one of those two names, and–on one occasion–both of them, on the ticket when they went to the polls every fourth year to vote for president. It is likely that we will again see one or both of those names on the ticket again in 2016 as both Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton have name recognition on their side; although neither of the Georges nor Bill will go down as distinguished holders of the highest office in the country by any means, the three men are such a large part of our recent history that it offers the two running this time an advantage that no other candidate has.

It is hard to comprehend how people are able to get behind Clinton and Bush as their desired presidential nominee when all the two will bring to this country is more of the same patriarchal and special interest politics that keep this country from being progressive.  Many of the same individuals who were in the Bush Sr. Administration such as Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld again served in Bush Jr’s cabinet eight years later.  It is likely that Clinton will do something similar if she wins by choosing individuals for her Cabinet who are close to her family.

If we as Americans have not become frustrated enough to realize that choosing the same people or the same families to be our leaders, then we cannot expect things in this country to actually change.  While Bush and Clinton are each their own unique individuals, they are not different enough from their familial predecessors to actually bring about significant progression in this country.

Right now what this country needs is name that we are not familiar with. America needs new ideas and new direction and reverting back to a Bush or Clinton will only bring more of the same.   While there are many varying opinions on Obama it can at least be said that it’s been different.

For the first six years, Obama was ruled by party politics, but since the 2014 mid terms he has been able to set his own agenda to a degree.  We have seen that reflected in the recent change in foreign policy with Iran and Cuba and his executive action on immigration.  While he too will not likely go down as a distinguished president, he has at least changed a few things for the better.

America desperately needs change and the only way that will happen is if we elect new individuals with new ideas.   This extends not only to presidency but also to all levels of government.  We have a problem with choosing the names we recognize because many people just go with what they know.  By this point, though, I would rather take the devil I don’t know.


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