When Joe Kennedy III recently lost his bid for the Democratic Party nominee for Senate in Massachusetts, we learned that he became the first Kennedy from that family to lose an election in the state.
The family dynastic magic does wane, after all. But the rather surprising takeaway was that the magic was that real and that strong for so long, so much so that those who contend that it is in the blood could be taken seriously.
But the magic of blood-related political fortunes does not seem to go further in the family of another Democratic Party stalwart, former Barack Hussein Obama, second of his name. He is the man who was also incidentally compared to a former president and Kennedy III’s grand-uncle, John Fitzgerald.
Obama’s half-brother Malik, before the days leading up to the 2016 election when he joined forces with Barack’s detractors, tried to ride on the wave of his little brother’s global popularity in 2013 to win a gubernatorial election in the southwestern Kenyan county of Siaya. It was an audacious bid powered by the energy of another man’s charm.
Big brother Malik used to be fond of Barack whom he is three years older than. The pair were born under different circumstances and to different mothers but the same father Barack Obama I, an economist who worked for the post-independent Kenyan government.
The brothers never met until 1985, when Barack flew from Chicago to DC to see Malik. According to Malik in an interview with MSNBC in 2004, while he was the best man at Barack’s wedding to Michelle, Barack was Malik’s best man too, at his wedding ceremony.
As recently as 2008 when Barack embarked on the eventually successful attempt to become the 44th president of the United States, Malik served as the official spokesperson for the Obama family in Kenya who had begun to receive global media attention as a result of the strides made by the half-American relative. When Barack won the election, he even invited Malik and some of the other family members to the White House.
We do not exactly know when things turned sour but in 2013, Malik still looked at Barack with a little more respect and appreciation than now. Malik’s entire campaign to be governor revolved around how his relationship with the American president could open doors.
He told Quartz in 2013:
“You know, when my brother was elected president of the United States electricity came here to Kogelo in three days flat. This road that you see was commissioned in three days flat. That electrical transformer you see out the window? Days! There is paved road all the way up to our home, piped water all the way to our home. The whole neighborhood has water. So the resources are there; it’s just a matter of how to allocate them. And it’s not a matter of ‘Obama’—but in this case, it was!”
Malik’s campaign was even “Obama Here, Obama There!”. When he was accused of lacking campaign content, he proudly accepted his deficiency and stated that the most important thing was the brotherly association at his disposal.
Unfortunately for Malik, the people of Siaya did not fall for this. He secured less than 3,000 votes, about 140,000 less than the winner.
The episode of brotherly hatred kicked off at this point.