A political family or political dynasty is a family in which several members are involved in politics, particularly electoral politics. Members may be related by blood or marriage; often several generations or multiple siblings may be involved.
A royal family or dynasty in a monarchy is generally considered to not be a "political family," although the later descendants of a royal family have played political roles in a republic (such as the Arslan Family of Lebanon would be). A family dictatorship is a form of dictatorship that operates much like an absolute monarchy, yet occurs in a nominally republican state.
Examples in the United States
In the United States, many political dynasties have arisen.
The Kennedy family is one of the strongest political dynasties in American History, with four generations of powerful politicians. Patriarch Patrick Joseph Kennedy (Massachusetts state Senator), was followed by his son Joseph P. Kennedy (US Ambassador to the UK). The sons of Joseph P. Kennedy include John F. Kennedy (The 35th President of the United States), Ted Kennedy (U.S. Senator), and Robert F. Kennedy (U.S. Senator and presidential candidate). The next generation includes Patrick Joseph Kennedy II (U.S. Representative from Rhode Island), and Joseph Patrick Kennedy II (U.S. Representative from Massachusetts).
Peter Schweizer describes the Bush family as "the most successful political dynasty in American history." The family has produced two Presidents (George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, the forty-first and forty-third, respectively), a Governor of Texas (George W. Bush), a Governor of Florida (Jeb Bush), a Director of Central Intelligence (George H.W. Bush), and a U.S. Senator from Connecticut (Prescott Bush) amongst other prominent members, including U.S. Representatives, bankers and industrialists.
The family of forty-second U.S. President Bill Clinton has been referred to as a dynasty, because his wife, Hillary Clinton, is a former U.S. Secretary of State and former U.S. Senator and was a candidate for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination Though they are more accurately described as a power couple. Another, separate, Clinton dynasty include DeWitt Clinton, James Clinton, George Clinton Jr., James G. Clinton, Charles Clinton, and many others.
Elsewhere in recent history
In Canada, Pierre Trudeau and his son Justin Trudeau both held the primeministership. The French party Front National is led by Marine Le Pen, who succeeded to her father Jean-Marie Le Pen in early 2011. Uhuru Kenyatta has been president of Kenya since 2013. He is the son of Jomo Kenyatta, the first president of the Republic of Kenya who left office in 1978. Hoping to prevent political dynasties, the Indonesian parliament, who represent the third largest democracy in the world, passed a law barring anyone holding a major office within five years of a relative.
- KQED, General Article: The Kennedys in Politics, <http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/general-article/kennedys-politics/>
- Joseph Curl (January 20, 2005). "Rise of 'dynasty' quick, far-reaching". The Washington Times. Archived from the original on 2006-03-19.
- Feldmann, Linda. "Hillary Clinton vs. Jeb Bush? Why Political Dynasties Might Make Sense. (+video)." The Christian Science Monitor. The Christian Science Monitor, n.d. Web. 23 July 2014. <http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/DC-Decoder/2014/0325/Hillary-Clinton-vs.-Jeb-Bush-Why-political-dynasties-might-make-sense.-video>.
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