Progressive challenger outs Dem party royalty in Missouri primary

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Clay, however, is not old (he just turned 64, a decade younger than Engel), white, or lazy.

But he did “inherit” an elected office and then held it for a generation. These dynasties are a core problem with American establishment politics (perhaps human politics) that transcend age and race and parties. There’s a reason that hereditary aristocracies went out of style: sure, you get good leaders and stewards, but inevitably you’re going to find yourself with a Charles II of Spain (or, less extremely, a Bush or RFK Jr.) on the throne; and good leader or bad leader or simply complacent and sclerotic leader, the family as a whole will never resist the opportunity to skim off the top for the benefit of the clan (e.g. giving a well-paid gig to a family member).

If I never see another bloody member of the Kennedy, Bush, Clinton, or (to use this case) Clay dynasties in elected office in my lifetime I’ll count myself lucky. A truly progressive party would take measures to make that happen, but the Dems aren’t that party. In the absence of that, I’m thankful for dynamic young candidates like Cori Bush (no relation) and young voters who are sick of this BS.


My biggest worry: Kushner or Ivanka


Yeah, I specifically didn’t mention that bunch because it masks the the larger problem by focusing on a particularly awful subset.


My happiness here is somewhat tempered by the fact that a more senior, African American congressperson has been replaced with a freshman congressperson; and seniority counts for a lot in both houses… we need more AA voices in the senior positions in congress, and he was on the verge of getting there…

(edited to correct house versus senate…)

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SO GLAD to see this! Lacy Clay has been worth about two shites to the community for far too long.
FWIW, Kim Garder won again, too (not sure if I like the idea of her more than who she is).
Voters in the Loo are showing some signs of life.

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…outs Dem party royalty…

“Ousts” maybe? Sorry for the pedantry, but when I read the headline my thoughts went in a different direction.


Yeah, nothing says ‘progressive’ like prohibiting someone from running for elected public office because of who their family is.

Rubbish. Progressivism and liberalism are historically rooted in the concept that hereditary leadership dynasties are unhealthy and need to be eliminated or at least have controls imposed on them to reduce their proven potential for catastrophe.

You may be familiar with this concept from such hits as “The American Revolution” or “The British Constitutional Monarchy” (or the ones where the heroes go bad in twist ending, like “The Russian Revolution” or “The French Revolution”).

And yes, I’d gladly forego a future FDR if it meant fewer future George Bush Jr.s or RFK Jr.s or (please no) Ivankas in power – Sturgeon’s Law (plus 5%) definitely applies to members of political dynasties.


… which is why they support elected public offices for which candidates must run.

The idea that someone ought not to be allowed to run (or be supported by the party machinery) because a spouse, parent, grandparent, uncle, or cousin is or was a politician seems to be what you’re advocating, but it’s neither liberal nor progressive. “Sorry, ma’am. You’re very well qualified and your history of public service would otherwise make you a shoo-in for the seat, but your grandfather was a state senator from this district, so we’re gonna run the useless white dude instead.”

And yes, I’d gladly forego a future FDR if it meant fewer future … RFK Jr.s

I’m not aware of RFK Jr. ever having run for or held any elected office. Are you also advocating that politicians shouldn’t be allowed to procreate?

But when you’re talking about elected officials like Clay “inheriting” their offices, it gets less straightforward than you’d like it to be. The people in his district apparently realised that after an actual progressive ran and reminded them of how elected public offices should work.

I’m saying that the party machinery (and really NGOs and corporations) should deliberately make it more difficult, if not impossible, for someone to lead on the basis of their family name or their pedigree. At least skip a bloody generation or two because, trust me, we won’t suffer as a nation if Chelsea Clinton doesn’t become President.

That’s a false choice, as demonstrated by the primary under discussion.

I use him as an example of what can happen when you accord someone from a political dynasty influence over public policy and party activism only on the basis of his name. His anti-vax woo wouldn’t have gotten nearly as much attention if his name was Joe Schlobotka.

The fact remains: since at least the 18th century, one of the foundations liberalism and progressivism has been a strong opposition to hereditary leadership dynasties.


If the voters in his district had not wanted him to remain in office, they had nine previous opportunities to get rid of him, including at least one previous opportunity to elect the person they chose to elect this time.

It’s already pretty difficult to get elected, even with name recognition. In fact, as this election showed, sometimes it’s even difficult to get elected with name recognition and the benefits of incumbency.

And drawing the lines you’re suggesting sound easy when you say “We gotta stop hereditary dynasties!!1!1one!,” but they get a lot trickier when you actually have to define what that means in practical terms. Seriously, how would you implement a policy that instructs party machinery, NGOs, and corporations to not back a candidate because of the candidate’s family, without violating at least two First Amendment rights?

But it’s an entirely plausible scenario under the regime you’re advocating.

Which is why they support systems in which you can vote out the “hereditary leadership dynasty.” As this election showed.


This is one of the issues that we need to change. It is put in place to give incumbents an advantage. If a newly elected congressperson doesn’t get anything done when they get to Congress they can tell their constituents it is just because of lack of senority - keep voting for them and things will start to roll. It is one of the large systemic roadblocks to reform

Personally I’d like term limits on both houses. Having a government of career representatives has a regressive effect, even when the individuals are good at the job


That goes to the pernicious power of dynasties in politics I’m discussing. It’s not like no-one better was available to run against him over all those years, it’s just that he had name recognition and the party banked on that from his very first term.

Difficult to get elected by voters, much less difficult to get nominated and supported by the party organisation.

What this election showed is that even with the benefits of a dynasty, eventually voters get sick of the party establishment’s business as usual.

I wouldn’t implement such a policy via the law. I’m talking about an internal decision that a supposedly liberal or progressive organisation (government, NGO, corporation) should make about whether or not to give someone a leadership position just because of her name or his family lineage.

In the corporate world, for example, the small- to large-cap companies (public and private) that have survived and thrived more than 60 years did so in large part because they brought in professional management after the first generation rather than hand over the executive office to the kids or grandkids. Seagram is a classic cautionary tale of what happens when a company takes the opposite course and an idiot grandchild takes control.

Not necessarily. The only alternative under that scenario is not the generic mediocre white guy you posited.

You don’t “vote out” a hereditary leadership dynasty in the sense of a normal election – dynasties are a special case that transcend one election cycle or one politician. You either kick a dynasty out (e.g. via revolution) or you make it more difficult for them to gain a leadersip position based on heredity (e.g. via internal policy that doesn’t conflict with the law). Again: progressivism and liberalism 101.


Cori Bush is okay though.

Yeah yeah not what you meant :stuck_out_tongue:

Actually yeah it does. Political dynasties consolidate power, making it increasingly difficult for anyone outside the dynasty system to gain power. The dynasties tend to strongly protect their own self interest at the expense of everyone else. Dismantling this system helps bring the power back to the people.

We fought a war over this, dude.

Not really related to Teddy. Like his fifth cousin. There are tens of thousands of people across at least four continents who are more closely related to me than fifth cousins


I hate it when laws are drafted by lobbyists.
I think symbolic laws are a waste of time. Do you know or care that your local post office is named in honor of someone?
I think model legislation is an abdication of responsibility. ALEC is a scourge upon the body politic.
I hate it when a progressive law is badly drafted, leaving room for the courts or the executive to reinterpret out of existence.


Or you vote them out. Like what LITERALLY HAPPENED in this election here that this article is about. Or you don’t vote them in in the first place. Like what happened when Levi “Bernie Sanders’s Son” Sanders couldn’t get elected in New Hampshire, despite being the son of Bernie “Bernie Sanders” Sanders.

It’s certainly not “progressivism and liberalism 101” that voters can’t be trusted, or that The Party Knows Best. You’re just advocating for a different kind of party paternalism than the kind complained about in the past on these boards.

No. We fought a war to escape a system that enshrined hereditary dynasties as the sole form of transfer of executive authority. In its place, we put in a system that allows voters to choose their leaders… even if those leaders happen to be related to other leaders. We also enshrined a government that explicitly protects both freedom of speech and freedom of association, which include in them the freedom to vote for somebody even if she’s married to a former president.

Uh, married to Teddy’s niece. If we’re going to talk about the Clintons in the same breath as the Kennedys and Bushes, relation by marriage definitely comes into the picture.

Again, that doesn’t happen in one election. The Bush family of Texas and Maine is still a leadership dynasty. The Clintons are still a leadership dynasty. The Kennedy family is still a leadership dynasty. And I wouldn’t be surprised if the Missouri Dems run another bloody member of the Clay family in the future.

Point out, using a quote, where I said or even implied that [spoiler: don’t waste your time]

A party making a decision not to give people leadership positions based on their genetic lineage or family is paternalism? Ok, then…


A party making a decision on that basis to deny their voters the option to vote for the person they prefer to vote for is absolutely paternalism.

Right here, just above that: “Again, that doesn’t happen in one election. The Bush family of Texas and Maine is still a leadership dynasty. The Clintons are still a leadership dynasty. The Kennedy family is still a leadership dynasty. And I wouldn’t be surprised if the Missouri Dems run another bloody member of the Clay family in the future.”

Your argument sure looks like “The voters can’t be trusted not to vote in ‘another bloody member of the Clay family,’ and it’s the Democratic party’s job to not let somebody like that run in the primary.”

I agree with all of this, but am unclear on the connection to term limits or hereditary offices. These are problems that need addressing regardless of whether term limits are implemented for Congress

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