Yahoo's appointment of a pregnant woman as their new CEO shows that we continue to see more and more cracks in the glass ceiling here in the United States. While women do not serve in elected office proportionate to their share of the US population, we have seen women, both Democrat and Republican, reach the highest levels of both appointed and elected office. With two glaring exceptions, that being Vice President and President.
Granted, we've seen Sarah Palin and Geraldine Ferraro on national tickets as VP candidates. And it's safe to say that had Hillary Clinton won the Democratic nomination in 2008, she would have won the Presidency. But the reality is that no woman has crossed that line yet.
Below the fold, I'll discuss the top contenders from each party, and surmise who among them is most likely to smash that final hole in the glass ceiling of American politics.
The best chance for a women to be elected President in 2016 will be for President Obama to be reelected in 2012. This leaves open the possibility of a woman heading up both the Republican and Democrat tickets in 2016. If Governor Romney wins, then the only shot a woman has is running as a Democrat, after she first bests a field of ambitious Democrat men in a primary field.
So who are the most likely women in 2016? MSN Money recently ranked the five most powerful women in US politics.. Michelle Bachman, Jan Brewer, Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama, and Nancy Pelosi top that list. Pelosi and Brewer will be too old to run, Bachman is not a credible player, and that leaves Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton. Michelle would have to follow Hillary's (and her husband Barak's) path and find a Senate seat in 2014, but that would be contingent on President Obama losing the upcoming election in November. If Obama is re-elected, Michelle's earliest shot at the Presidency would be in 2020.
But their are certainly other women the Democrats could look to. Here at DailyKos we've read more than a few diaries promoting Elizabeth Warren. She would make an ideal candidate, but she won't be a realistic possibility unless she can win the Massachusetts Senate seat back for the Democrats in November.
Conventional wisdom points to the ranks of governors for likely Presidential candidates, and in that realm, the Republicans have a clear advantage over Democrats in terms of women currently holding the office. On the Democrat side, we've got Christine Gregorie, of Washington, and Bev Purdue, the North Carolina gov who is not seeking re-election. Of those two, Christine makes the much better candidate.
On the Republican side, we've got Susana Martinez, Jan Brewer, Mary Fallin and Nikki Haley. Of those, Susana Martinez would probably be the one to have the best chance in a general election. If she did run and win the nomination, she would potentially make history twice as both the first female and first Hispanic to become President.
Other Republican potentials would have to include New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte (especially if she's chosen as Mitt Romney's running mate) and Alaska's Senator Lisa Murkowski.
Assuming that both Obama and Warren win their elections in November, I think we see the greatest chance of a women getting elected President in 2016. On the Democrat side, we likely would see a tough fought contest between Hillary and Senator Warren, but I think Warren would prevail. Of the Republican women mentioned above, I would have to say that Governor Martinez would be their nominee.
The historic implications (women, Hispanic, Native American) of a Martinez v Warren race would lend itself to many diaries and much debate. Today, as I write, there still is need for more progress and more barriers to crashed for women in US society, but the fact the subject of a woman vs woman election battle is even remotely possible shows that women have come a long way in the past few decades.
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