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The Windsors’ royal run on the White House
From the Financial Times of Thu, 18 Dec 2014 13:57:39 GMT
The White House and part of the South Lawn are seen from the observation deck of the Washington Monument in Washington, DC, on October 1 2014©Getty

Jeb Bush, younger son of the first President George Bush, has announced he is “actively exploring” a run for the presidency — a step that could ultimately lead to a “dynastic election” race between him and Hillary Clinton.

The Prince of Wales has taken the first step towards running for the White House, announcing on his Facebook page that “one is actively exploring” the possibility of standing for president of the United States. He added that one of his people would soon be setting up a political action committee to begin a dialogue with the American people.

Speculation has swirled around the prince for some years, but pundits had warned against political dynasties that appeared to act as if they had a divine right to the presidency. However, the prince’s advisers say that enough time has elapsed since one of his family held the highest office to remove the stigma attached to the last royal ruler, George junior — or III, as he was known in family circles. He is also seen as uncontaminated by recent scandals, having never closed a bridge, bombed Libya or made a fortune in the private sector.

Prince Charles feared that America had tired of his line but the resurgence of dynastic politics has encouraged him that the nation is again ready for a scion of the Hanoverian dynasty. Five of the past seven presidential contests have featured the son of a previous president or prominent senator — and with both Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton ready to slug it out in 2016, strategists say the time may now be ripe for the return of America’s first great dynasty.

“Americans have dabbled with dynasties for some time now,” said a royal pollster. “They’ve shown they yearn for the certainty, the breeding and glamour that comes with a political dynasty. We think they are ready to take the final step on this path, to forget meritocracy, go for pure class and embrace one of the greatest dynasties of all time.”

Sources on Team Charles said the Prince recognised the mistakes of his ancestors and had learnt lessons. He can see that the high-tax policies of his predecessors alienated voters and is ready to sign Grover Norquist’s “no tax increases” pledge. At a recent get-together he told admirers: “Read one’s lips — no new duties.”

There are some issues, however, including the fact that the prince was born outside the US. But strategists are arguing that, since his family’s land was forcibly expropriated in the War of Independence, he should be classified as a Native American. Aides still fear a repeat of the “birther” movement which so troubled President Barack Obama, but talks have been held with Donald Trump to see if the tycoon might let it drop in return for a larger slice of Aberdeen.

The prince’s environmentalism could also cause problems in the Republican party primaries, where he is regarded as a “climate-change admitter”. But his rural instincts and inherited position could alienate Democrats. Given his strong name recognition, however, he may be able to build a new third party. Potential names include One America, Reunited Kingdom and the Whigs. He has limited electoral experience but he often writes to government ministers and has served several terms as governor of Cornwall. As to fundraising, allies say he has friends who will “chip in a few bob”.

The clearest signal of his intent came last week when Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, arrived with his wife on an exploratory mission. While the media focused on their high-profile meeting with Beyoncé and Jay-Z at a basketball match, few noticed his speech in Nashua, New Hampshire, on employment opportunities in the north-east’s high-tech corridor. Until this visit, Prince Charles had limited his campaigning to a soft-power strategy consisting mainly of supplying Duchy Originals biscuits to Whole Foods stores.

Indeed, the young prince’s visit was such a success that some now believe the Windsors should skip a generation and that Prince William might be the stronger candidate. They fear Prince Charles lacks the glamour usually associated with a royal candidate and that the youthful duke and duchess might capture more of the Camelot spirit Americans crave. However, family insiders say he is keeping his powder dry for a 2028 run against Chelsea Clinton.

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