07 March 2013

What just happened after a school board primary in Madison, Wisconsin is symptomatic of a massive and under-studied problem in politics generally.

I'm referring to the "power couple" phenomenon.  Anybody with an eye for last names can see that husbands and wives* have a lot more weight in the political world than single people. 

Of course this has been going on since the first Sumerian king married off his daughter to an Elamite chieftain so as to better protect his borders.

Still, civic virtue (ah! that quaint musty old concept) requires citizens of a republic to be wary of the concentration of power in the hands of a few families.  Let's not be fooled that because we live in a "post-feminist world" or something of the sort that every woman who runs for office is an independent free agent who deserves our votes because women are under-represented in politics.  (Sarah Manski, who ran for school board in Madison, is the wife of Ben Manski, campaign manager for Jill Stein's 2012 presidential campaign and activist lawyer).

*As gay marriage increases, more same-sex couples are taking advantage of this.

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