From Samuel Adams to JFK, American Political Dynasties Have Floundered

Democracy’s Power Resides With the People, Not Elected Leaders’ Heirs

It’s been a dozen years since the publication of my friend and former colleague Seth Mnookin’s book Hard News: The Scandals at The New York Times and Their Meaning for American Media. But one quote from that book’s discussion of the Ochs-Sulzberger family that controls that newspaper has stayed with me:

“At some point you have to wonder if the bloodline thins,” James Goodale, a former Times senior executive, memorably told Mnookin.

As it goes with family newspaper dynasties, so too with family political dynasties. As I researched and wrote books about …