Now, as we’ve seen in the first post, a woman has been the nominee for many minor parties in the past. The closest that I can remember a woman getting to the Presidency in a major party was when Geraldine Ferraro ran for Vice President (though one could argue that Condolezza Rice or Nancy Pelosi are pretty close due to the order of succession should the President and Vice President be taken out of commission).
In order to accomplish this feat, there’s a lot of things a woman will have to overcome.
First, she’ll have to overcome history. The fact that she is the first is both a positive and a negative. A positive in that people like firsts. They like the story of the first female speaker of the House. They like supporting the “underdog” that has a chance of winning– and the fact that a woman has never made it makes her the perfect underdog.
But it’s also a negative. It’s an unknown, and people can be finicky about placing a lot of trust in the unknown versus a known quantity.
Second, she will have to overcome prejudice. There will be many that will not vote for a woman, period. There are many (and we’ve seen some of this in the discussion on this topic) that believe that only men should be President. She will have to convince them that what she may lack by not being male she makes up for with her feminine characteristics– that they are a strength.
Third, like any candidate, she will have to prove that she’s the equivalent if not better than her rivals. How her sex as a woman gives her an advantage, or is at least not a disadvantage. This is challenging in a world where our biggest external threat comes from countries that force women to completely cover everything but their eyes, to walk behind them, and has other debasing views of women.
Lastly, and most interestingly, she needs to sell her husband (if she has one) as an asset– or at least not a liability. If a woman gets elected, it will be the first time this country has a “First Gentleman.” No one knows what that will mean. It seems awkward for a man to do the White House Tea. There will be other awkward moments, but certainly nothing that cannot be overcome. I don’t expect any woman, if they’re elected, to be a push over, but she will have to convince people of that in order to win.
It’s not impossible for a woman to be President. It’s not illegal. In certain cases it may be preferable. But she’ll have a lot of obstacles to overcome in order to do it.