Return of the Kennedys: 2020 elections could see a famous political dynasty on the ballot, but does it carry any weight anymore?

Joseph Kennedy III, the grandson of Robert F Kennedy, will be running for the senate in Massachusetts while Amy Kennedy, wife of the son of Ted Kennedy, could run for a congressional position in New Jersey. Historians, however, are divided whether "Kennedy" still has the charm


                            Return of the Kennedys: 2020 elections could see a famous political dynasty on the ballot, but does it carry any weight anymore?
US Senator John F. Kennedy (1917 - 1963) at his home in Georgetown, Massachusetts, with his brother Robert (1925 - 1968), 1955. (Photo by Three Lions/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

It is one of the most famous political dynasties in the US and its members continue to follow the footsteps of some of their world-famous predecessors by practicing politics. However, the appeal of the famous surname 'Kennedy' perhaps isn’t as mesmerizing as it was once, feel experts. 

Massachusetts Representative Joseph Kennedy III, for instance, will be running for the senatorial position in 2020 as he decided to challenge incumbent Ed Markey in the primary.

The 39-year-old grandson of former senator Robert F Kennedy has been trained to run for higher office since childhood and he is now all set for the big test in 2020. Massachusetts has been closely associated with the Kennedys with Ted Kennedy serving as its senator for 47 long years between 1962 and 2009. 

Amy Kennedy, wife of former Rhode Island Representative Patrick Kennedy, who is the son of Ted, is also thinking of vying for the Democratic nomination in a congressional district in South New Jersey, which is traditionally a Republican bastion.

If Amy eventually contests, it will give credence to the fact that the rise of women candidates in national politics, in general, and the Kennedy family, in particular, has been significant.

Amy will be up against Van Drew, who recently changed base from the Democratic Party to join the GOP over President Donald Trump's impeachment.

Joseph Kennedy III (L) talks with a person while visiting Morin's Hometown Bar and Grille on February 16, 2012, in Attleboro, Massachusetts. Kennedy officially announced that he is running for U.S Congress for Massachusetts in a video on his website February 12, hoping to fill the seat of retiring U.S. Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA). (Photo by Kayana Szymczak/Getty Images)

For Joe, too, defeating an experienced opponent in Markey will not be a cakewalk. The fact that the Senate Democrats' campaign committee is backing him also makes it doubly hard for Kennedy.
 
Joe and Amy's candidacies could add to the electoral colors in 2020 and, according to Brooking Institution's Darrell West who authored the book 'Patrick Kennedy: The Rise of Power', the next year "could be the year of the Kennedys."

"It could be the time when the family makes a comeback after a number of years where their numbers dwindled, and their political philosophy seemed out-of-touch with the country as a whole," Washington Examiner reported.

He added, "But the Democratic Party has moved to the Left, and so if it provides another opportunity for the family to contribute to public service."

If both Joe and Amy win it, they will repeat history. A number of Kennedys enjoyed power at the same time in the past.

Amy Kennedy, Patrick Kennedy and Harper Petitgout attend the Senate Chamber Dedication Ceremony in the full-scale replica of the United States Senate Chamber at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate on March 30, 2015, in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Paul Marotta/Getty Images)

While John F Kennedy’s younger brother Robert F Kennedy was the attorney general when the former was the president, their third brother Ted had served as the senator while his son Patrick was the representative at the same time.

Robert's daughter Kathleen Kennedy Townsend was the lieutenant of Maryland between 1995 and 2003 while one of her brothers, Joseph Kennedy II was the congressman from Massachusetts between 1987 and 1999. His son and namesake succeeded him in the House 14 years later.

Amy has shown an inclination towards taking up the cause of mental health and drug-addiction and according to West, it shows that the Kennedys are changing with the times.

"Our nation is in crisis. Our political system is in crisis. Our environment is in crisis. We have serious unaddressed needs in our schools and in our mental health and addiction system," Amy tweeted days after Van Drew turned Republican.

She added, "Our economy, though strong, is not meeting the needs of the underserved and middle class. We need real leadership to overcome these challenges."

Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) talks with the news media after walking off the floor of the US Senate after a roll call vote to achieve cloture on the nomination of Judge Samuel Alito to the US Supreme Court passed 72 to 25 January 30, 2006 in Washington, DC. Kennedy had threatened to filibuster the cloture vote but failed to get the support he needed. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Not all believe the name is a strong political brand anymore

However, not all are convinced like West that the Kennedys still command the political world. Historian and author David Pietrusza, for instance, feels brand "Kennedy" is not what it used to be once.

"The Kennedy brand is not what it used to be. It's not exactly Kmart, but the current supply of Kennedy hardly falls into the JFK-RFK mold," he was quoted as saying by the Examiner.

He added, "Both brothers were extraordinary politicians, JFK in particular. Beyond that, those voters who recall them diminish in number every day — and many are now Republicans."

Citing other political dynasties that have faded over the years, Pietrusza said, "The charms of being of Irish Catholics are no longer nearly so great. At some point, dynasties fade and then disappear — the Adamses, the Lodges, the Longs, even the various branches of the Roosevelts," he said.

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