The conning connotation of a candidate’s last name

By Anthony Gagliardi ’16

Election season is a time for the candidates to portray themselves to the general public, hoping to gain support for their campaign. A lot gets looked into when it comes to the candidates, but the one aspect that stands out the most is something that has stuck with them all their life: their last name. Politicians have been around for a long time, with different ideologies making their mark in history.

Similar to other fields of work, politics have a tendency to be family-oriented, meaning that some families have kept this profession in the name for quite a while. The last name of a candidate could either have a positive or negative connotation, which means it could make or break a candidate.

“I feel like when politics stay in the family, it’s like the British monarchy,” senior Jake Schatz said.

During this recent presidential race, it’s clear to see the chain of power through families. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s last name instantly brings up memories of husband President Bill Clinton, and his legacy has impacted her political career for decades. During his presidency, President Clinton’s actions affected the public’s impressions of Secretary Clinton. As their marriage was under scrutiny, she stood by her husband despite his adulterous actions. After her role as First Lady, she remained in the spotlight for years to come as she served for the Senate and later as the Secretary of State. Mrs. Clinton’s political power has thrust her into the public eye, influencing her actions to be judged more harshly by the country.

“Many think that Clinton is an outsider because she is a woman, but she has been in the political sphere longer than we have been alive,” senior Cooper Salmon said.

Former Governor and presidential candidate Jeb Bush was forced into the same circumstances as Secretary Clinton, but his family had been in the political sphere for even longer than two generations. His father, President George H.W. Bush, and brother George W. Bush served our country for a total of 12 years. Governor Bush’s family left him with their legacy which many claim tainted his run for the nomination. During the debates and his time campaigning, he was questioned on the past decisions of his brother. Tough questions were raised about Governor Bush’s support of the Iraq war, his brother’s criticized reactions and political maneuvering in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.

Although Republican presidential candidate Donald J. Trump does not have any political ties in his lineage, he manages to use his family name to brand his campaign. Working off his family’s past successes, Trump uses his last name to his advantage, constantly flaunting his different ventures. Many people are drawn to him as a candidate for his triumphs as a businessman; they think that he will be able to bring the country the same prosperity he was able to bring to the Trump Organization.

“The Trump name does carry something with it,” sophomore Ryan Murphy said. “At the end of the day though, his last name doesn’t make up for how he would act in office.”

Political candidates put themselves in a spotlight when undergoing the campaign process. Their background, whether it be their political participation or even their family involvement, plays a pivotal role in classifying a candidate. The Clintons and the Bushs are names that will live on for generations to come. They will go down in history with the Kennedys and the Roosevelts; shaping our country’s political identity.