armchair cultural observation since 1995

Illusions of electoral rationalism

“It did occur to me, however, that some of the hostility to dynasticism stems from a sort of misguided desire to pretend that electoral outcomes are this incredibly rational process. So if we all point at Caroline Kennedy and say she’s only under serious consideration because of her name, then maybe if we all object loudly enough to this it’ll turn out that the other 99 Senators are there because they’ve passed a set of rigorous credentialing examinations or something.

But of course that’s not how things work at all. The whole business of electioneering is full of irrationality and tradition all the way from top to bottom. The notion that all members of the Kennedy family are ex officio considered plausible candidates for public office is weird, but it’s a particular oddity that exists against background conditions that are also odd.”

Matthew Yglesias

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