Is the Kennedy family preparing to make a return to Washington power politics?

James Tennent
joe kennedy III

After an election that saw an American political family defeated by a shock outsider some might consider that the era of elected dynasties is over for the United States. But the most political family name of all looks set to make a comeback on the national stage.

On Sunday (2 April) the front page of the Boston Globe, the flagship newspaper of the Kennedy home state of Massachusetts, carried a long report of a Kennedy wave "cresting across the county" - with at least three of the political scions making a mark in today's tumultuous scene.

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At the forefront is Chris Kennedy, son of the former senator Robert F Kennedy and nephew of former president John F Kennedy, who leaves behind a decade of business in Chicago to charge into the race for Illinois governor.

In his family's distinct, hope-filled style, Kennedy says in a video announcing his campaign: "I believe that we can restore the future of this state."

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Speaking to the Boston Globe, Kennedy did not shy away from using his name. He said voters were "thunderstruck" by the loss of the American Dream, "the notion that any of them can make it, can arrive here like the Kennedys did and rise from rags to riches".

He also kept up the pressure on President Donald Trump - one of the few surnames as recognisable in America as "Kennedy". If Trump had anything to do with alleged connections between his campaign team and Russia's attempts to influence the 2016 presidential election, it should be regarded as "treasonous", he said.

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His older brother seems less inclined to press Trump. Robert Kennedy Jr was spotted at Trump Tower in January where he told reporters that the incoming president had asked him chair a commission on vaccines - Kennedy is a noted anti-vaccine campaigner.

Elsewhere at state level, Ted Kennedy Jr, a two-term state senator in Connecticut, is thought to be angling for the governship of that state - with sources telling the Connecticut Post that the son of Edward M Kennedy might attempt to take over if the current Democratic governor decides against seeking a third term.

Lastly, already hanging around Washington DC's Capitol Building is Joe Kennedy III, a congressman for Massachusetts. Noted by the Boston Globe as taking less of the media spotlight as other politicians, he recently racked up viral hits with a video of a speech he made against the failed repeal of the Affordable Care Act and implementation of the American Health Care Act, during which he called the bill "an act of malice."

Whether or not the Kennedy family can stage a political comeback in the age of the outsider is yet to be seen, but as the Globe noted: "The spotlight is finding the Kennedy hopefuls again."

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