What I'd Tell My Nieces

Look, I'm a dude and if you're still processing the fact that five women have dropped out of the race for the Democratic nomination and the sixth is technically still running but facing what I imagine to be really, really shitty math and don't want to hear from a dude right now- I get that. Don't read this post. Come back in a week or two and it'll still be here, I promise.

But here's the thing: I have not (as of yet) been blessed with a daughter, but I do have four nieces and the sackcloth and ashes routine that's going on in the wake of Elizabeth Warren's exit from the Presidential race is starting to piss me off a little bit. This:

...is starting to piss mee off a little bit. Articles like these are starting to piss me off a little bit. I have no idea if any of my nieces have the slightest bit of interest in politics- given the state of the country I wouldn't blame them a bit if they run screaming from it. But I do have two degrees in political science that are gathering dust in a box in our basement right now- and on the off chance they do care about politics, this is what I'd tell my nieces:

You're goddamn right there's going to be a woman President- sooner than we think and yes, if you really want to be President, you can be President.

(This is kind of a two part answer, so let's break it two and take them one at a time.)

So,  the first part--

Numbers don't lie. Since 2000, theres been at least one woman running for President in either party per electoral cycle. In 2008 we had the first woman VP candidate for a major party since 1984. In 2016 a woman won the nomination of a major party and the popular vote.* In 2020, the Democrats had six women running for President- and one of them, Tulsi Gabbard still is.**

Does it suck that it's not going to happen this year? Yes, it does. You're all pretty young so you probably don't have a real sense of how long some woman have been waiting for it-- but ask your Grandma or your Mom about it. Some women out there have been waiting a long, long time for it to happen and every year it doesn't, I can imagine the frustration and the heartache and the suspicion that it might never happen grows harder and harder to shake off.

But, here's the thing: numbers don't lie.  Every time a woman runs for office- whether she wins or not, she makes it easier for the next woman to run. Someday- and it'll be soon, a woman will run for President and she'll be able to wear whatever she damn well pleases and no one will say a damn thing about it. She'll get judged for her position on the issues and not 'her personality' or how 'likable' she is.

If you got in a time machine and went back 100 years right now, technically you wouldn't be able to vote. (The 19th Amendment wasn't ratified until August 26, 1920- so if you remember the date, you should have a party about it, because it was pretty awesome.) 100 years ago, there'd only ever been one woman elected to Congress and she had already decided not to stand for re-election and run for Senate instead. (Her name was Jeannette Rankin and she was pretty cool.) Now, if you got back in your time machine and came back to today, you know what you'd find?

You'd find 127 women serving in both chambers of Congress. You'd find nine state Governors, two Territorial Governors and the Mayor of the District of Colombia are all women.

Your Aunt has officially banned me from making politically based predictions, but I'm going to do it anyway, just because I can and she can yell at me later for it:

There's a pretty good chance (I'd say probably in the range of 50-50 to 60-40) that there will be a woman on the Democratic ticket this year. If the Democrats win in the fall, that means we'll have the first female Vice President in the nation's history- which, while not as cool as the Presidency, will still be a pretty big deal.

But, let's say we can't have nice things and the Democrats don't win and we gotta wait four more years. In that case- I'm calling it now, so you can find this post and mock me about it if I'm wrong in four years-- I think there's a statistically significant chance right now that both parties could have women at the top of the ticket in 2024. What's statistically significant? Well, I could be persuaded to be the chances as high as 1 in 3.

So, yes. It's going to happen. It's just a matter of time now.

All right, the second part--

So, you want to be President. Well, you've got to be 35-- so you've got to wait a few years before you can get there. But let's say for the sake of argument, you get to 35. You've worked your butt off, you've got a college degree in something- or hell, maybe you've decided to be an electrician or a welder and you're making bank doing that, I don't know. I would reccommend being active in the political party of your choice sooner rather than later. I'd reccommend maybe running for office before you decide to run for President-- there's nothing wrong with being ambitious and if you want to go for the whole noodle on your first time running for office, you can- I just don't know how well that would work out for you. (Also- you would hope by the time you get around to thinking about this, we'd have improved the system somewhat, but if not- be prepared to ask people for money. Which is probably the low-key shittiest thing about politics that no one realizes. It really does involve a lot of cold-calling people and asking them for money.)

Conventional wisdom would suggest that you should aim to be a Governor. If you can run a state for four years without fucking it up too badly, that's usually a pretty good bulletpoint in your favor when it comes to persuading voters to make you President. Better still if the voters of your state re-elect you to four more years. However, I should note that there's plenty of evidence to suggest that perceived conventional wisdom is a load of garbage and by the time you're seriously looking at getting into politics there might be an entirely new playbook on how to do it. Hopefully, it's a better one.

*Electoral college aside, I'm going to stand on the hill of 'If she'd gone to Wisconsin and Michigan maybe as little as just once after the convention, she might be President right now' until I die.

**I'm not sure what Tulsi is doing at this point because I'm pretty sure the delegate math is moving quickly into 'impossible' territory for her, but she did pick some delegates up in American Samoa, so I guess, technically, she's still alive? She is, to coin a phrase, 'persisting.' And honestly: let her debate already. The DNC and these shifting debate rules is bullshit.


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