By Mark Mangie. Beginning in 1932, modern American politics has been dominated by only four families. Like all things in life, there is a season for everything. Politics is no exception. The death of Barbara Bush marked the end of America’s third modern political era…all eras centered around those four, powerful political families.
1) The Age of Roosevelt 1933-1961
2) The Age of Kennedy 1961-1981
3) The Age of Clinton/Bush 1981-2017
4) The Age of Trump? 2017 to present
Era # 1. Franklin Roosevelt shepherded the nation through the Depression and World War II. By definition, his four term presidency was dynastic in nature. And it extended well into his two successors. The Roosevelt’s were an influential political family extending back to Teddy Roosevelt keeping its influence alive through Eleanor Roosevelt many years after Franklin’s death. Truman was an accidental President who finished Roosevelt’s work. Eisenhower was a war hero come to Washington. The era was characterized by the Greatest Generation who in turn spawned the Baby Boomers. The 1950’s marked the end of a tumultuous 20 years with an era of massive prosperity…an American golden age and complete world dominance.
Era # 2. Era #2 was dominated by the Kennedy’s. Kennedy viewed his ascendancy to the presidency as a generational change. The president’s assassination in 1963 shattered America’s innocence. But the dynasty was passed on to the brothers along with the tragedy that seemed to follow the Kennedy clan. It strained our Constitutional government as society attempted to cleanse itself of the demons of segregation, an unpopular war, the draft, women’s rights, and sexual repression. Change comes hard. From Camelot destroyed, to Lyndon Johnson’s stumble into Vietnam, to the 1968 Democratic Convention police riot, to Richard Nixon’s cover-up scandals, to place-holder Gerald Ford, to the idealistic but inept Jimmy Carter…all roads led to the Kennedy’s.
Era #3. Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama both had consequential presidencies, but are mostly bookends of this era. It belongs to the Bush family and Clinton’s. Reagan re-established America’s footing after a weak and apologetic Jimmy Carter. He is viewed as one of the great presidents as he laid the groundwork for the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union. He re-established idealism and love of nation that suffered and floundered under the previous presidents’ missteps and deeds. While Reagan marked the conservative bookend, Obama marked the liberal/progressive bookend of the era. It was fluke election…Obama defeating John McCain, a popular American war hero. His stepping stone was the financial collapse of 2008…two months before the election. That financial collapse was a byproduct of globalism that grew geometrically as the digital age allowed for massive concentration of power, shrinking the world into a micro-chip. It was a match made in heaven…a progressive president who believed in big government and massive technology companies who needed big government to prosper. But Obama also masked his true radical Progressive policies and an unnatural alliance on identity politics that blossomed in the Democratic Party under his care. And through it all, the two biggest political dynasties ever known to this country were intertwined: The Bush family and Bill and Hillary Clinton. George H W Bush as vice president, George H W Bush as president; Bill Clinton as president, George W. Bush as president; Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State and presidential candidate and Jeb Bush as candidate. In that kind of environment, with entrenched economic interests feeding the lobbying beast, power concentrated absolutely as a select view got rich while the poor got poorer…and globalist bureaucracies blossomed. That concentration of power forgot the soul of our Republic, the working/middle class. The consequences were staggering.
Era #4. Donald Trump wasn’t supposed to win the election, but he did. In the process, he smashed the Clinton/Bush dynasties as another Clinton and another Bush tried to ascend to the presidency. It was a train wreck, and the future political influence of either family going forward is questionable at best. It is now open war on basic political philosophies both ideologically and globally. The reaction from the entrenched interests was startling, violent, and scary as folks from both political parties accelerated the trend to criminalize political behavior that started under Barack Obama and moved to use the intelligence agencies and Department of Justice as political tools. Trump’s presidency marks a complete realignment of the political parties and what they stand for. The change has been difficult marked by a Progressive coastal media that pummels him with ½ truths and made up stories and continual accusations of the worst kind 24/7 every day of the week. Yet in his short presidency, under the worst of circumstance, he has kicked started the economy, instituted massive tax cuts, unraveled Obamacare, cut massive amounts of regulations, reshaped the character of the courts, re-established American hegemony in the world as force for good, and notwithstanding grudging members, modernized the western alliances while re-negotiating unfavorable trade agreements. But the political wounds are deep, and the scars will be apparent for many years to come. His political opponents have fallen by the wayside one by one by one. How this plays out will determine the continued existence of our founding documents, the security of our freedoms, the safety of the nation, and the prosperity of the world.
Trump’s family has proven to be popular within the new Republican Party, although it is continually demonized in the press. Is it a new political dynastic family? Time will tell. In the meantime, fasten your seat belts. It is going to be a bumpy ride.