Leadership 2020: Welcome to the White House Madame President
A Question of Competence
Regardless of the outcome of the Mueller investigation into whether or not the Trump campaign colluded with Russians to interfere in the 2016 Presidential elections, there is no argument that Hillary Clinton lost. But because Donald Trump has disregarded the norms and traditions of the 44 presidents before him, millions of voters have become activists and are taking note as never before---and prevalent among them are women.
Clinton, the only woman ever nominated to the office by a major political party, won the popular ballot by more than three million votes, but ultimately lost in the Electoral College count. Her loss, coupled with Trump's disdain for anyone who disagrees with him, his 'presidential ignorance', admitted sexual misconduct, alleged porn-star affairs, self-inflicted political wounds among other day-to-day miss-steps, could propel a strong, popular, well-qualified female candidate into the White House in 2020. Although opinions vary among the experts, no one is betting against the possibility.
Certainly, the case for a female president is formidable, at best. Part of the concern is the fact that the country was founded by men and there exists a deeply ingrained, historically stereotypical view of the Office Of The Presidency; the Commander-in-Chief has always been a man---representing strength, courage, and prowess---and some voters may feel it should remain so. However, the young children in the above video espouse an opinion that is also a traditional truth: women tend to be more sympathetic and sensitive to the healthcare needs of their families. These qualities are generally inherent in most women and could evolve into more caring policies for families around the country. And statistically they are the head of most households making both health and budgetary decisions.
According to The Center For American Progress, a progressive think tank, "In 2015—the year for which the most recent data are available—42 percent of mothers were sole or primary breadwinners, bringing in at least half of family earnings. Nearly another one-quarter of mothers—22.4 percent—were co-breadwinners, bringing home from 25 percent to 49 percent of earnings for their families. This represents an increase over previous years and is the continuation of a long-running trend, as women’s earnings and economic contributions to their families continue to grow in importance."
These statistics are extremely relevant in respect to the presidential election in 2020. In essence, it means that women---almost sixty-five per cent---comprise, or equally contribute to, the primary household incomes in much of the nation. And so the implications are clear when federal policy is proposed and lawmakers vote on issues as diverse as healthcare, school funding, and gender equity regarding pay in the workplace.
Politico published an exhaustive discussion in December, 2017, in which varied public figures gave their various views on the possibility of a female president in 2020. One such discussion concluded that Americans had already elected the first woman president. The article refers to a new genre of voters, the ‘rising American electorate’:
“The 2016 election was the first time that the 'rising American electorate'—the growing population of unmarried women, people of color and millennials in the United States—made up the majority of all votes cast. In a sense, these voters have already elected a female president: 89 percent of African Americans, 66 percent of Latinos, 63 percent of unmarried women, 65 percent of Asian Americans and 55 percent of voters under age 29 cast ballots for Hillary Clinton." Significantly, the RAE is increasing.
A Female President?
How Likely Would You Be To Vote For A Woman In 2020?
A Paradigm Shift
While some pundits have suggested that the Clinton loss of 2016 would make it more difficult for a woman to win the presidency in 2020, there appears to be a significant number who consider the opposite view. Importantly, Donald J. Trump has done everything in his power to turn back the progress achieved under the Obama Administration and, in the minds of many Americans---65%---a backlash may be brewing. As Trump continues to demonize both Obama and Clinton every chance he gets, it may be precisely for that reason---i.e., the popular achievements of the first ever black president, coupled with the perceived mischief during the Clinton loss—-that the political viability of a strong woman candidate could, against all odds a few short years ago, occupy the Oval Office in 2020.
While voters have traditionally cast their ballots for a particular political party without unwarranted consideration of one policy over the other, 2020 may be different. Trump has trampled over many of the popular norms of the modern Republican Party that even staunch Conservatives like Ronald Reagan would be against. For example, Trump’s coziness with Russia and Putin have privately caused horror among moderate Congressional Republican circles. Indeed, his publicly vocal rhetoric threatening a nuclear strike against North Korea is seen as both foolish, unpredictable, and dangerous.
These types of reality-show displays have done little to enhance the United States’ standing in the world, and by some reckoning have diminished the Office of the Presidency itself. In many quarters around the country, including some of the most-historically red states, Alabama for instance, a kind of ‘Trump fatigue’ is setting in, and it doesn’t bode well for Republicans. In fact, more Republican House members are retiring from office than ever; such a vast exodus hasn’t happened in more than seventy years.
To the contrary, Democratic women candidates are lining up to run for office in droves, more than 1500 women have registered as candidates for statehouses, governors, and federal offices across the nation, an unprecedented example of enthusiasm to serve.
For years women around the globe have held elected, appointed, even dictatorial leadership positions. At any given point in time, there have been more than twenty-five women leaders in various countries. For example, as far back as 1969 Golda Meir was Prime Minister of Israel; there was Indira Gandhi of India in 1967; Margaret Thatcher of the United Kingdom in 1979; Germany's Chancellor, Angela Merkel, has held that post since 2005. The list goes on, but the point is that the United States, “the land of the free and the home of the brave’, still lags behind in electing women to powerful leadership positions.
Tiny Sri Lanka became the first to shatter the political gender barrier more than a half-century ago, when that island nation was known as Ceylon. Its giant neighbor, India, followed a few years later. Since then women have attained top leadership posts — president, prime minister or its equivalent — in more than 70 countries in Europe, Latin America and the Asia-Pacific.
Noteworthy, the 2020 election cycle is an enormously historic time, given the political culture in the United States. It is significant that the Republican Party has an unpopular candidate currently in the White House. Regardless of the outcome of the Mueller investigation, the current Vice President, Mike Pence, would be the likely Republican candidate to run in 2020 were Trump to vacate the Oval Office for whatever reason. So, one could reasonably surmise at that point that the Republican Party’s chances of holding the presidency would be slim, never mind the economy, taxes, gun violence, and so on. The taint of a presidential investigation, or impeachment, has historically been a non-starter for that president's party in succeeding elections. Witness Nixon's resignation, or Clinton's impeachment as recent examples.
Also, an impressive case can be made supporting a qualified woman’s nomination by the Democratic Party in 2020---in part due to the enthusiasm and aggressive organizing around the ‘Resistance Movements’ and unprecedented protest marches taking hold around the nation. Millions have attended these events since day one of the Trump presidency, not just parochially in the United States, but worldwide.
For example, #MeToo and #Timesup are two extremely well-financed women's movements that have shaken and exposed the professional lives of any number of sexual abusers around the country. Of course, President Trump has been engulfed in these controversies throughout his time in office.
Additionally, the #NeverAgain movement, inspired by the courage of teenagers who were gun violence victims of the Parkland High School shootings in Florida, have organized nationwide voters. These kids and #Marchforourlives are promoting significantly increased turnout at the polls among their ranks.This, too--- gun violence in America---is an issue primed for a woman president to have a more vested interest in resolving. Indeed, tackling the National Rifle Association’s political involvement and effect on gun sales and usage--especially assault rifles---over the past 40 years will be no small task. But engaged and concerned women, kids, and wise politicians will ultimately have the gravitas and political authority to change the ERA's influence surrounding the issue in upcoming elections.
Hail The 19th Amendment
The Democratic Party has a historically unique opportunity. Election year 2020 will mark exactly 100 years since women were granted the right to vote through the passage of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution. Not surprisingly, women (and men, young and old) of all political stripes---Conservatives, Progressives,and Independents, of all nationalities and creeds---will be committed and prepared to have their voices heard; some observers might say, "Make America A Democracy Again". The political pendulum will once again swing leftward toward progress, and she'll have the wind at her back. The irony is remarkable and cannot be ignored!
'Female Leaders Currently In Power', Rulers.Org,, January 2015
'Voting Stats', Caitlin Stark, CNN Library, October 2012
'Will America Ever Have A Woman President', Politico, November/December 2017
'Over 70 Nations Have Had Women Presidents So Why Not The U.S?, Katrin Bennhold and Rick Gladstone, November 2016
© 2018 Dan Dildy