If there is one thing Republicans, Democrats and Independents can agree on, it’s this: 2016 gave America perhaps its most divisive Presidential election in modern history.
Many pundits have correctly noted that both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump–especially Trump–brought a coarseness to the election never before seen.
Saturday Night Live brutally captured this in a series of skits featuring Alec Baldwin as Trump and Kate McKinnon as Clinton.
But if basic civility proved a casualty of this campaign, there were two other casualties that the overwhelming majority of Americans will be glad to see finally buried: The Bush and Clinton family political dynasties.
Since 1980–36 years ago–there has been only one American Presidential election that did not feature a Bush or Clinton as a candidate. Consider:
- 1980: George H.W. Bush–first as a Presidential candidate; then, losing the Republican nomination to Ronald Reagan, as Reagan’s pick for Vice President.
- 1984: Bush--as Reagan’s continued choice as Vice President.
- 1988: Bush–as Reagan’s anointed choice for President, and then serving as President for four years.
- 1992: Bush--as President running for a second term, only to be defeated by Bill Clinton, whose star now rises.
- 1996: Clinton–as President, running for and winning a second term until 2001.
- 2000: George W. Bush, son of the former President and Governor of Texas, runs for and wins the Presidency.
- 2004: Bush, running for a second term and winning it.
- 2008: Hillary Clinton–former First Lady and now New York Senator runs for the Democratic nomination and loses it to Barack Obama. Even so, he picks her to be his Secretary of State for the next four years.
- 2012: The only Presidential election year since 1980 when neither a Bush nor a Clinton is a Presidential or Vice Presidential candidate.
- 2016: Jeb Bush–son of George H.W. and brother to George W., he seeks the Republican nomination but is easily humiliated and defeated by Trump.
- 2016: Hillary Clinton–having resigned as Secretary of State, she wins the Democratic nomination and loses the race to Republican nominee Donald Trump.
Among the “legacies” of both the Clintons and the Bushes:
- George H.W. Bush: Sends a half-million American troops to Saudi Arabia to “liberate” Kuwait from Saddam Hussein. The real reason: To secure continued American access to Kuwaiti oil.
George H.W. Bush
- Presides over one of the worst recessions in American history–causing him to lose the 1992 Presidential election.
- Bill Clinton: “Romances” White House intern Monica Lewinsky–and gets impeached (but not convicted) for it.
- Repeals FDR’s Glass-Steagall Act, which separated commercial and investment banking. This allows big banks to merge, becoming “too big to fail”–and sets the stage for the 2008 financial meltdown.
- After Right-wing terrorist Timothy McVeigh blows up the Oklahoma City Federal Building, Clinton refuses to condemn Republicans’ 50-years’ demonizing of government that is largely responsible for it.
- George W. Bush: Repeatedly ignores intelligence warnings of a coming attack by Al Qaeda, which results in the slaughter of 3,000 Americans on 9/11.
George W. Bush
- Lies the United States into a needless war in Iraq, which costs the lives of 4,486 Americans and costs the treasury at least $2 trillion.
- Assures his fellow Americans that he has “looked into the soul” of Vladimir Putin and found him a man “very straightforward and trustworthy.”
- After Hurricane Katrina devastates New Orleans, his Federal Emergency Management Agency–staffed with political hacks–bungles getting desperately-needed aid to America’s stricken citizens. Bush famously congratulates FEMA Director Michael Brown: “Heck of a job, Brownie.”
- Hillary Clinton: As First Lady, refuses to release documents about Whitewater, a failed Arkansas land deal. This brings on a needless, seven-year investigation by a Republican special prosecutor which turns up–nothing.
- After leaving the White House, she and her husband set up the Clinton Foundation, a public charity to bring government, businesses and social groups together to solve problems “faster, better, at lower cost.”
- As Secretary of State, more than half of Clinton’s meetings with people outside government are with donors to the Clinton Foundation. If there isn’t a “pay-to play” system at work, there certainly is the appearance of one.
- Clinton casts further suspicion on herself by her unauthorized use of a private email server. She claims it’s so she doesn’t have to carry two cell-phones. But, as Secretary of State, she travels with a huge entourage who carry everything she needs.
- As a candidate for President, she “secretly” works with Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, the chair of the Democratic National Committee, to ensure that she will get the nomination.
- She wins the nomination–but is so unpopular she loses to Donald Trump by an overwhelming margin in the Electoral College.
Millions of liberals and Democrats are no doubt dismayed at the outcome of the 2016 election.
And Republicans who sided with Trump will now find themselves at odds with those who refused to do so.
But Democrats and Republicans alike can rejoice that these two embarrassing–and disastrous–family political dynasties have finally been swept into the ashcan of history.