As an ardent Senator Obama supporter, I am overjoyed with his winning the nomination. This watershed event was long overdue. An equally urgent goal is to elect a woman nominee for presidency. Senator Clinton's achievements bring that goal nearer but not near enough for a lot of folks. It was always too onerous on one person, be it Sen. Clinton or Sen. Obama, to carry the burden of unrealized wishes of so many single handedly. We were fortunate that Sen. Obama was able to pull it off. We shouldn't have to encumber the same burden on any one candidate to remedy historical disparities in accomplishment of any one demographic constituency. I propose the following to get us closer to addressing our president as Madam President.
In the year 2016, we should do what we can to ensure that we have at least 2/5th of field of candidates for the nomination to be women. It would be terrific if we can get the ratio to 3/5ths or more. A lot of things need to happen in order for this to happen. Here are some of my ideas.
- Enabling Opportunities:
I am eternally grateful to Sen. John Kerry for giving the opportunity to Sen . Obama to be the key note speaker at the 2004 convention. It is a life's lesson that when an opportunity opens up you should grab it like you will never get another chance. I would like Sen. Obama to provide such opportunities to several women candidates during the course of this campaign to show case the talent of our bench strength. In his presidency, he should give leadership opportunities to young women in early thirties who are ambitious and capable to fast track their growth. We need a talent pool of enough women to be encouraged to join the fray of presidential nominations. You see, when you have several choices with contrasting styles, one of those candidates will unlock the winning formula.
Both the party, and communities such as ours should be constantly scouting for talented politicians that could one day be presidents. We should be tracking the growth of thirty something candidates to state senates, state governorships, assemblies, congress, and West Point graduates etc. that could prospectively be candidates for presidency. Some of the scouting will happen organically, but some of it has to be engineered. We should be encouraging twenty something, and early thirties women to seek political positions that will catapult them to positions such as governors, senators, and congress woman that have traditionally been launch pads for presidency. When I looked at our own California state senate, the talent pipeline of women under forty is very discouraging, as in we do not have one woman under forty who could aspire to run for presidency some day after 2016 and beyond. It is our responsibility to scout our future, and field candidates to positions that are stepping stones for presidency. Soon after the dust settles in this 2008 presidential election, I will be posting a periodic dairy titled, "Scouting Madam President".
- Championing, drafting and advocating:
When we recognize women candidates that we like, we should not miss an opportunity to champion them as candidates. We should help popularize them so they can attract the money and attention to finance the spadework necessary to run as candidates. Among the current crop of senators, governors and congress women, I like Christine Gregoire.
We should advocate for our candidates early, often, and always.
Finally, when there is just one candidate it is easy to mislabel genuine criticism as misogyny, and it is equally easy to masquerade subtle and outright misogyny as honest critique. We shouldn't have to endure that. If we have several women candidates, it will become easier to distinguish which is which.