When WILL A Woman Make It To President or VP of the USA?

Late last night, after watching some spin room action about the Republican primary debate in California, I started thinking about this question in a way that harkens back to just after Hillary Clinton was no longer in the 2008 race.

It’s not going to be Michele Bachmann or Sarah Palin.  Yup, I’m predicting that right now.  Neither will be the general election presidential candidate for the GOP and I’m doubtful that either will be a VP selection of the eventual nominee either.  Might Nikki Haley or Susanna Martinez be the VP choice?  Not sure, just not sure.  But remember, if they are, then we’re going with the “some part of a term in executive office is better than no part of a term in executive office” again, just as was the case with Palin.  And many voters were pretty skeptical about that then.  With Palin eventually quitting that job, it’s hard to ask voters to trust, yet again, that being in something only partially through its expected duration means they’ve succeeded.  I think this is what Bobby Jindal and Chris Christie know very well – fill out at least one term.  There’s no question then about how much stronger a candidate it makes you. Where’s the proof? Well, did you see a single half-term anyone even up on the stage last night?

It’s a given for me that there won’t be a woman on the ticket on the left side of the aisle either.  I don’t feel particularly pleased about that but long-time readers know that I supported Joe Biden in the primaries, eventually chose Hillary between her and Obama and very lukewarmly voted for Obama.

The best news is that there are active, vigorous efforts all over the place, that seek to beef up the bench of women available to make it to the White House. US Senator, Kirsten Gillibrand (D, NY), spearheads Off the Sidelines and received a good amount of media exposure – and success: she supported Kathy Hochul before pretty much anyone else.  The 2012 Project seeks to get women in their 40s and up who already have distinguished careers in other professions to consider applying that success to politics. And the She Should Run program of the Women’s Campaign Forum (an organization that supports pro-choice women, regardless of party) is extremely active (consider signing up for their regular email that details several stories about women in politics).

Of course there is EMILY’s List, which really does the heavy lifting in terms of providing financial support to Democratic female candidates, and The White House Project, which continues to offer training and many other programs related to women in leadership.

In addition to many other programs on Rutgers’ Center for American Women in Politics list, there are at least three training programs for conservative women that are included there, but I’m not familiar with them and hadn’t heard of a couple of them before, so I can’t say how many women they’re turning out who are running for and winning office. We know that the GOP chose very few women for its Young Guns program in 2010 (for House seats in Congress) and so far, the names mentioned in connection to that program, that I’ve seen, continue to be all men.  I’ve seen little media or blog coverage of this aspect of conservative politics but hopefully as 2012 gets closer, there will be more coverage – and results to report.

So what’s happened since Hillary ended her run and we heard a plea for women to please vote for women, since the reality is that our votes matter? In the case of the GOP, it’s just not panning out for the conservative female presidential primary candidate, as I’ve noted before.  Rick Perry is totally running away with women voters, far exceeding the numbers who indicate support for Michele Bachmann, or, when put in the mix by the pollsters, Sarah Palin.

And yet no one can say the Republican Party wasn’t warned: Amy Siskind of The New Agenda wrote about this trap last fall, in a column titled, “The Republican Party’s historic opportunity with women,”

Here’s what is at stake: women voters have decided almost every presidential elections since 1960. The Republican Party has a historic opportunity to win over this block, all but ensuring a presidential victory in 2012. But, will the GOP be able to capitalize and transform itself into an inclusive ‘women-friendly’ party? Or, will they blow it by embracing a caricature of themselves: a bunch of white guys fighting it out for power?

It’s impossible to deny that, as things stand this morning, they’re indeed embracing a caricature of themselves with a bunch of white guys – Perry and Romney in particular – fighting it out for power, all with the help of the vote of many conservative women.

So, back to the original question: when will we get a woman in the White House, or the VP mansion? I’m eyeing a whole lot of women in the pipeline.  But they’d be extremely well-advised to rip apart the poll numbers that amplify the voting gender gap both between men and women for any one candidate, as well as why any one candidate gets the women’s vote over another.

The women’s vote cannot – and should not – be taken for granted, regardless of the gender of the candidate.  But we will only see women climbing the political leadership ladder if we’re finding them, recruiting them, supporting them  and THEN voting for them – not *just* because they’re female, but because they deserve and have earned our vote.  Just like anyone else.

4 thoughts on “When WILL A Woman Make It To President or VP of the USA?

  1. Hey Jill,

    No problem. I appreciate that you are busy like everyone else. I just make comments if I can say something not to ranty just to let ou know that I am out here and reading.

    Love your coverage. And thanks for what you are doing.

    Sure, it is very possible, but the woman bashing is very popular right now. Not a fan of it at all. Look at what happened to Nancy Pelosi and Hilary Clinton. Not deserved at all especially when we need more women not less in public life. If we can have a POTUS my age named Barack Hussein Obama, it is possible. We just need someone who asks how not if it can happen. It almost makes the vitriole spewed tolerable.

    I think that the Dems have some great women including Jennifer Brunner (I am a fan) and would support her in any endevaor. The problme is that the establishment continues to be exclusive to y-chromosome persons. We have problems because of narrowminded thinking that lacks creativity. Women can bring some creativity and new thinking to the table as opposed to parroting RW talking points like the R’s do.

    We need more Democratic women elected.

    thanks again for letting me rant.

  2. Adrienne – first I MUST thank you for reading and commenting – I have of course been reading your comments and I apologize for not commenting back. That is not typical of me and I think you know that, but even so, this has been a longer stretch than usual of me not replying – and I have definitely noticed that that has happened. So seriously, I am sorry about that.

    Yeah – I don’t know. I am hoping women like Kirsten Gillibrand, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, Amy Klobuchar, Jennifer Granholm, how about Jennifer Brunner, and I’m sure there are others I’m not thinking of immediately, can all be White House contenders in the next five to ten years – I hope I do live that long at least but hey, you never know.

    And on the right side of the aisle, they have a few women who, while I might disagree with their politics 100%, are at least competent when it comes to executing their plans, such as they are. Seriously – consider what Lisa Murkowski accomplished. Now, she may have extremely little establishment support but frankly, that hasn’t mattered and they may not matter much anymore. Maybe she actually is the embodiment of the moderate GOP candidate? I don’t really know but I’m sure there are a few who should rise up through their ranks if the menz don’t keep pushing the Young Guns.

  3. Probably not during my lifetime. R’s don’t like women and R women don’t vote for women if there is a viable man. Rich people don’t want Dems to win so not likely to get a Dem woman POTUS or VP. There is too much hatred (he-man woman hating) of women by both men and women.

    Too bad women have been excluded from public life for so long and now looks to be return to the bad old days of 1856 or before.

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