Donald Trump, Dynasty Killer: 2023 Will Mean No More Bush, Cheney, McCain, or Clinton in Office

DALLAS, TEXAS - AUGUST 06: Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at the Hilton Anatole on August 06, 2022 in Dallas, Texas. CPAC began in 1974, and is a conference that brings together and hosts conservative organizations, activists, and world leaders in discussing …
Brandon Bell/Getty

The era of Donald Trump has brought a great many changes to the political world since 2016, and the year 2023 will be no different – the dynasties of Bush, Cheney, McCain, and Clinton will hold no quarter in either statewide or national office.

With the defeat of Liz Cheney in the Wyoming Republican congressional primary on Tuesday, the franchise dynasties that have dominated the U.S. political landscape going all the way back to the 1970s came to a crashing halt.

Whether or not the Republican Party takes control of Congress in November’s mid-term election, come January 23, there will be no politician by name of Bush, Cheney, McCain, or Clinton in the halls of Congress, the White House, or even on the state level.

In Texas, for instance, George P. Bush, despite his best efforts to court the Trump vote, will end his term as the state land commissioner, effectively ending the Bush dynasty until it strikes a political comeback.

File/George P. Bush speaks during a campaign event in Lakeway, Texas, U.S., on Thursday, Feb. 10, 2022. (Matthew Busch/Bloomberg via Getty)

In decades past, there were few political dynasties in Texas as unstoppable as the Bush family name with a solid legacy stretching all the way back to the 1960s. In the age of Trump, the name’s staying power has definitely waned, and George P. Bush became the latest casualty earlier this year when he lost to Ken Paxton in the Texas Attorney General race. As the Texas Tribune noted back in May:

His ubiquitous name recognition is emerging as a liability in the Republican party. George P. Bush, who currently serves as the state’s land commissioner, is trailing Paxton in polls. Some of the top reasons Republican voters are reluctant about him are his ties to his family’s center-right political leanings and his own past policy positions.

Bush said those attacks are led by Paxton and don’t reflect the support he has seen on the campaign trail. The sitting attorney general’s ads against Bush focus on labeling him a RINO — Republican in name only — and linking him to his famous family.

George P. Bush made every effort he could to court Trump’s favor, endorsing him both times for president and enthusiastically seeking his support until the former president endorsed Ken Paxton straight out the gate. Beyond the attorney general race, the Bush name floundered in other areas, such as when his cousin, Pierce Bush, finished third in the 2020 race for a Houston congressional seat.

A wide variety of factors contributed to the fall of the House of Bush, but a great deal of credit belongs to the moment during the 2016 Republican primary when Trump publicly lambasted both Jeb Bush and George W. Bush at the South Carolina debate. As CNN noted at the time:

Even for Donald Trump, it was a dangerous political high-wire act.

Days after a blowout victory in New Hampshire, the Republican presidential front-runner stood on the debate stage in South Carolina and accused former President George W. Bush of lying about the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. He also faulted the former president for the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, that brought down the World Trade Center.

For any other politician, it could have been a campaign-ending moment. Instead, it underscored Trump’s unique ability to make statements that would sink anyone else but still come out on top. He easily won the South Carolina primary on Saturday, beating the runner-up by about 10 points. And the former president’s brother, Jeb, dropped his bid for the presidency after a disappointing showing.

Though the late Republican Arizona Sen. John McCain’s widow, Cindy, has been working the political sidelines, endorsing Joe Biden in 2020 and opposing Donald Trump at every turn, the McCain political dynasty ended with the senator’s death in 2018 and shows no signs of becoming a national powerhouse anytime soon.

Though Democrats have long held former first daughter Chelsea Clinton may follow in her father and mother’s footsteps, the Clinton political dynasty met its match with the rise of Donald Trump during the 2016 election.

File/Hillary Rodham Clinton, Former U.S. Secretary of State and U.S. Senator from New York (L) and her daughter Chelsea Clinton, Vice Chair, Clinton Foundation walk off stage together as they attend the 2015 Meeting of Clinton Global Initiative University at the University of Miami on March 7, 2015 in Coral Gables, Florida. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has hinted at a possible 2024 run but has said nothing conclusive about her future plans.

While the Obamas have certainly made their presence known in the cultural sphere through their production company Higher Grounds, former first lady Michelle Obama has given no indication of ever running for office despite Democrats’ highest hopes.

As news of Liz Cheney’s defeat spread rapidly on Tuesday night, people immediately took notice of this new trend in American politics.



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