Should we expect a Trump dynasty?
American political dynasties follow certain rules, at the presidential level. There is an interval between the presidencies of a dynasty, and each generation must have political achievements of its own. The office has never been inherited. That smacks of monarchy, which Americans have no use for.
John Quincy Adams served 28 years after his father and was secretary of state. William Henry Harrison served 48 years before his grandson Benjamin. There were eight years between the Bushes.
Would-be dynasties follow the same rules. Bobby Kennedy ran five years after his brother's assassination and was a U.S. senator from New York. Hillary waited eight years after her husband's presidency and was secretary of state. Jeb! Bush also waited eight years and had been governor of Florida.
The Republican candidate in 2024 will run on President Trump's record and, if successful, will serve for eight years. So 2032 would be the election for Don Trump to run, if that is his ambition. If he moves to Montana and beats incumbent Democratic senator Jon Tester in 2024, he will have an achievement, and an eight-year record, of his own.
The political machine President Trump has assembled, and is assembling, won't be allowed to go to waste. It will be put in the service of his Republican successor in 2024 and, if properly attended to, will still be of value in 2032. If President Trump's administration continues its historic accomplishments, the name Trump will be political gold in 2032, and 55-year-old Senator Don Trump of Montana would be the odds-on favorite for the nomination. His father will be 86 — a spry 86, no doubt.
There are some parallels between the Bush and Trump dynasties. George W. got his start in elective politics by beating the incumbent Democratic governor of Texas, Anne "Ma" Richards. The Bushes all hated Richards. At the 1988 Democratic Convention, she was the keynote speaker, and her ridicule of Bush was cutting. In a thick Texas accent, she made fun of Bush's clumsy way with words, saying, "Poor George, he can't he'p it! He was born with a silver foot in his mouth!"
If Don Trump starts in elective politics by taking out Tester, it will be doubly sweet for the whole Trump family. Out of sheer malice, Tester killed the nomination of Ronny Jackson to be surgeon general. Jackson was a Trump family favorite. President Obama made him physician to the president in 2013, and he was fine physician and a great guy.
So, as the president is fond of saying, we'll see what happens.
Fritz Pettyjohn is a former political consultant in Alaska.