Tulsi Gabbard, Kirsten Gillibrand, Elizabeth Warren, and Kamala Harris have all said they are running for president in 2020. As of January 21st there are no other women on the list of probable or possible candidates.
As I wrote here, and keep reminding my friends, I think the Democrats need a Plan B to run against somebody other than Trump should he for whatever reason not be in the race. (I suggested their GOP’s best bet to heal a fractured party would be Romney/Flake.)
Whoever the Republicans run, I think it is fascinating to consider what would happen if the Democrats nominated an all female ticket. I don’t rule this out as a viable and highly electable ticket no matter who of the four women are selected and who runs for the top spot and who for the veep. There are 16 possible combinations. Consider each one on the merits. Which one sounds like a winner?
Certainly the conventional wisdom is that if a woman is to run on the presidential ticket it has to be balanced with a male. Hillary Clinton selected less than a household name to run with her, Tim Kaine. John McCain did the same with Sarah Palin as did Walter Mondale who selected Geraldine Ferraro.
Warren, Harris, and Gillibrand are already, if not household names, are well-known. The less known Tulsi Gabbard whose unique military background for a woman candidate for president adds to her allure will she be well known if she stays in the race and has a respectable showing in Iowa. By coming out early they will get lots of publicity, some generated merely because they are telegenic women, but if they become credible candidates they will get more and more air time.
Now it turns out that Donald Trump might have selected Joni Ernst. Think of that. Instead of plaster faced Mike Pence gazing worshipful at the back of Trump’s head, we’d have Joni. Consider the dynamics of having another women in the White House jockeying for power with Ivanka and Melania, and of course the Kellyanne Conway who Cliff Sims, in “Team of Vipers” calls “the American Sniper of West Wing marksmen” and describes her agenda as “survival over all others, including the president. (See “New book details an obscentity-shouting, unhinged Trump” by Doug Thompson.)
But, as I seem to do all to frequently what with my Trump-adled brain, I digress.
I’m not going to explore potential drawbacks of having each of these four women running together, for example their past positions on progressive issues like Tulsi Gabbards’s being a vocal opponent of same-sex unions or some of the actions Kamala Harris took when she was California attorney general. Each brings strengths and weakness to the race. Likewise I won’t get into which pairing would stand the best chance of winning. That is the subject for another column.
Instead I’ll share some of the feedback I got from more than a half-dozen anti-Trump men and women I talked to during the day about this notion and then get into some relationship psychology (my area of expertise).
On the negative side the main, really the only, argument I heard was that blue-collar America wasn’t ready for two women on a presidential ticket.
I countered that by noting how close the next election is likely to be. I suggested that it wouldn’t take too many women in swing states to give the electoral college to the Democrats. These are the rust belt states which by hook and crook handed the election to Trump. There may be many women who voted for Trump but were disgusted with him that they are ready to vote for an all female Democratic Party ticket. They might think twice about voting for two male Democrats, and here is where the psychology comes into the equation.
Much of my 40 plus year career as a psychotherapist was spent counseling women in bad marriages, not always with dramatically abusive husbands but with husbands who didn’t appreciate them for who they were. They came in feeling depressed, anxious, or both. There was no formal diagnosis for what was causing their distress because it was feeling they were in a marriage with a husband felt superior to them. They said in one way or another that they didn’t feel fulfilled. Underlying their problem was low self-esteem, and most of the therapy my colleagues and I did was based on improving their sense of worth as women and as human beings.
Some of these women got divorced because their husbands wouldn’t change, others stood up to them and their husbands actually discovered they liked their newly self-confident wives.
How many Republican women are out there in blue-collar America who feel put down, demeaned, or disrespected by their husbands even in minor ways?
Some of them might even lead their Republican voting husbands to think they are voting for the GOP ticket, and cast their secret ballot in defiance of their husband as a quiet expression of female empowerment.
How many of these Republican women will either shout out loud, or say to themselves, “I’m sick and tired of this and I’m not going to take it anymore.”
FACTOIDS FROM WIKIPEDIA
- Rep. Tulsi Gabarrd, D, Hawaii January 3, 2013 – present, previous elected offices: Hawaii House of Representatives (2002–2004), Honolulu City Council (2011–2012)
- Age 37, Born American Samoa, Married, No children, Other: she is the first Samoan-American member and the first Hindu member of the US Congress.
- Education: Gabbard was home-schooled through high school except for two years at a girls-only missionary academy in the Philippines. She graduated from Hawaii Pacific University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration in 2009.
- Tidbit: If elected president she would be the youngest, Teddy Roosevelt was 42, and almost the youngest vice president. The youngest person to assume the veep office was John C. Breckinridge, at the age of 36 years, 47 days.
- Sen. Kristen Gillibrand, New York, January 26, 2009 – present
- Previous elected offices: U.S. House (Upon taking office, Gillibrand joined the Blue Dog Coalition, a group of moderate to conservative Democrats)
- Age 52, Born Albany, NY, Married, 2 children
- Education: Dartmouth College (BA) University of California, Los Angeles (JD)
- Tidbit: During college, Gillibrand interned at Republican U.S. Senator Alfonse D’Amato‘s Albany office.
- Sen. Kamala Harris, California, January 3, 2017 – present, Previous elected offices: District Attorney San Francisco, California Attorney General
- Age 54, Born Oakland, CA, Married, Has no children, but through her marriage has two stepchildren, Other: Is of Africa and American and Indian heritage.
- Education: Howard University (BA), University of California, Hastings (JD)
- Tidbit: Harris’s parents divorced when she was 7, and her mother was granted custody of the children by court-ordered settlement. She graduated from Montreal’s Westmount High School in Québec,
- Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Massachusetts, January 3, 2013 – present, Previous elected offices: None, appointed by President Obama to be head of newly created Consumer Protection Bureau September 17, 2010 – August 1, 20111
- Age 69, Born: Oklahoma City, OK, Married, two children
- Education: George Washington University, University of Houston (BS), Rutgers Law School (JD)
- Tidbit: She won a debate scholarship to George Washington University (GWU) at the age of 16.
AFTERTHOUGHT: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez at 29 has a a few more years to be president (you have to be at least 35).
Breaking News: Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) and Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) all won spots on the high-profile committee on Tuesday, two sources told POLITICO
There are definitely up and coming women in the freshman class of the House to watch in the future. Politico Magazine has a photo essay on all 37 of the new female members of Congress “We call ourselves the badasses.”
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