Nepotism in Politics



Catherine Bowman, Features Editor

Since the beginning of democracy in America, nepotism, or preferential treatment towards family members and friends, has been present in politics. A prime example is President Kennedy who appointed his brother, Robert, as Attorney General.

This trend of electing family members of past presidents has continued on and is now very applicable to what is happening in today’s political climate. But just because it is common does not mean it should continue to be condoned.

Politicians should not use their power to appoint their friends and family members to high positions. Instead, they should appoint the people who truly belong and are qualified to be in positions of power.

The president, Donald Trump, has recently begun the process of selecting the members of his cabinet. Throughout this process, his children have been by his side, leading to rumors of their involvement.

As long as Trump does not give his children official positions, they can continue to influence the decisions he makes and get around the anti-nepotism laws, according to an article in The Guardian. This kind of favoritism directly goes against everything America stands for, and impedes the safety of the country.

It is impossible for our democracy to function appropriately when there is nepotism going on in the highest officers of our government. Most of Trump’s children have businesses of their own, and are biased towards protecting and furthering their business.

Other people may say that since Trump isn’t directly electing his children to positions of power, this is not a concern, and past presidents have had their family members around them while in office. However, the case of Trump and his children is a little different since Trump and his family are business people. They do not come from a political background, but instead are programmed to protect the futures of their own endeavors.

The laws that bar Trump’s children from gaining positions in the Cabinet do not necessarily extend to spouses of children. Jared Kushner, the husband of Ivanka Trump, was appointed as Trump’s senior advisor.

Another pressing ethical issue has to do with Kushner’s real estate business, Kushner Companies. Having Kushner in the White House dealing with international trade policies and other dealings could cause a conflict if he is looking out for his business prospects.

Kushner did agree to step down as CEO of Kushner Companies, but this is not good enough. The company is still owned by his family, and he could still continue to look out for the interests of the company rather than solely on the interests of the nation he should be advising.

The role of senior advisor to the president is a powerful role, and Kushner is not qualified to be in this power. He has had no political background, nor does he know how to deal with the sensitive international policy issues he will be tasked with dealing with.

The appointment of Kushner is purely nepotistic. Trump is not focusing on who is the most qualified man or woman for the job, he is simply choosing appointments based on who will make the biggest splash or who his children are married to. This is not the proper way to run a country.

Another issue to be addressed is that the people of the United States do not have a say in Trump’s children being around the White House, potentially advising him. This goes against the basis of principles are democracy our nation is founded on.

The purpose behind having three branches in our national government is so no single branch can wield all the power. It also allows the American people to have some say in what happens in their government.

The American people elect their senators, and these senators go on to confirm the appointments of the President. Since Trump is not appointing any of his immediate family members to his cabinet, the Senate does not have the power to confirm, and therefore the American people do not have a say.

Our country can not function in the appropriate, fair way that it is laid out if the President is finding loopholes for his own gain. Trump’s family should be kept from advising him about issues in the country and leave those decisions up to properly appointed and confirmed cabinet members.

The current issue of nepotism in politics is something that needs to be addressed and stopped. The American people need to fight back and protect themselves.