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The Rise of Dynastic Politics January 9, 2009

Posted by trouble97018 in Democracy, Politics.

Courtesy Salom:

Last month, when the possibility first arose that Caroline Kennedy (or Andrew Cuomo) would be appointed to Hillary Clinton’s Senate seat, I wrote about how prevalent dynastic succession is in our political system.  Though I was aware anecdotally of what a problem this has become, I was actually surprised, as I wrote that, by how high the number really is of current members of Congress with immediate family members who previously occupied either their seat or some other high political office in their state.  In response, numerous commenters and emailers questioned whether dynastic succession, as commonplace as it now is, was just as common in the past or whether it’s an increasing trend — a question I couldn’t answer because I hadn’t performed, and wasn’t aware of, any empirical historical analysis of those issues.



Dr. Nathan Burroughs, a Ph.D. in Political Science who is currently with Indiana University’s Center for Evaluation and Education Policy, has done extensive work studying dynastic politics.  His dissertation examined the systemic advantages dynastic candidates have enjoyed over the last several decades, and in response to my inquiries a month or so ago, he has now analyzed recent historic trends in Congress to determine whether there is now a notably higher percentage of dynastic office-holders than in the past.

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