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Kennedys and Bushes really are different

And more surprising insights from the social sciences

Kennedys and Bushes really are different

During the 2007-2008 Democratic presidential primary contest between Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama, one argument against Clinton was that her election would just be perpetuating the political dynasties—Bush and Clinton—of the previous two decades. A new analysis suggests that these electoral dynasties do matter—in fact, leaders from those dynasties may make different decisions in office. Among governors who couldn’t run for reelection, those who had close relatives who subsequently sought elective office supported lower tax and spending policies than governors without such relatives. In fact, the lack of electoral accountability that came with term limits was largely offset by the prospective electoral accountability inherent in protecting the family name.

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