No More Dynasties!

In today’s Kennedy blogging, it seems New Yorkers have soured on the idea of appointing Caroline Kennedy to fill the seat Hillary Clinton is vacating, signaling a clear distaste for the politics of surname amongst the populist masses. Or something like that:

44% of the state’s voters now say they have a lesser opinion of Kennedy than they did

before she started vying for the position. 33% say it’s made no difference, and 23%

report now having a more favorable opinion of her. A plurality of Democrats,

Republicans, and independents all say that her efforts have caused them to view her less


When it comes to whether they would prefer to see Kennedy or Andrew Cuomo

appointed, 58% now prefer Cuomo to 27% for Kennedy. Cuomo is favored by 65% of

Republicans, 59% of independents, and 54% of Democrats. A PPP survey conducted a

month ago showed Cuomo as the top choice for just 23% of Democrats, compared to 44% who wanted Kennedy.


So the public has soured on Kennedy as a result of media pushback and some fairly negative coverage, and they’ve gravitated to the only other name they’re familiar with, someone who just happens to be the son of a prominent former Governor.

This is why the new push for special elections to fill all vacancies is really rather useless. Unless you think the seat ought to remain vacant for an extended period of time, something that I think you’d have a hard time arguing serves the peoples’ interest, especially in a state that’s underrepresented in the Senate like New York, then you have to submit to an abbreviated campaign in which the winner is determined primarily by name recognition. There just isn’t enough time for a lesser known candidate to challenge a Caroline Kennedy or an Andrew Cuomo, absent a very lenghty period of vacancy. And this seems to make even less since when you factor in that special elections, especially statewide elections, cost a lot of money and that there will be a special election as part of the next regularly scheduled election anyway. Hardly the most effective allocation of limited state resources, in my opinion.