Who Will Break the Glass Ceiling?

Senator Kamala Harris

six women candidates for the 2020 US presidential election

Left to right, top row: Representative Gabbard, Senator Gillibrand, Senator Harris
Left to right, bottom row: Senator Klobuchar, Senator Warren, Ms. Williamson

Victoria Woodhull tried to do it. So did Belva Lockwood and many others. In fact, 34 women have run for president, representing a total of 17 different political parties, and while all of them tried, none were able to break the glass ceiling that has kept women out of the Oval Office for the past 230 years. All that may change next year. For one thing, the #MeToo movement has given a new momentum to the six women who have already declared for the 2020 race. Of course, there have been other movements in other eras, and this is not the first time we’ve had multiple women vie for the top spot in the same election cycle. It happened in 1972 when Shirley Chisholm, Bella Abzug, and three other women threw their hats in the ring. Five more women ran in 1992, and in 1996, eleven women tried to unseat Bill Clinton. And so, while the ladies who have announced this year are not breaking new ground, they may have the best chance to finally break that pesky old glass ceiling once and for all.

Thus far, six Democratic women have announced their intention to win their party’s nomination and send Donald Trump back to his tower. They are Hawaii congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, New York senator Kirsten Gillibrand, California senator Kamala Harris, Minnesota senator Amy Klobuchar, Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren, and Marianne Williamson, who is a spiritual adviser to Oprah Winfrey.

Tulsi Gabbard, 37, is a political anomaly. For one thing, she’s a Democrat who supported Bernie Sanders in 2016. And, when it became clear that the DNC was stacking the deck in Hillary’s favor, she resigned her post as Vice Chair. She’s also a nouveau liberal who now believes in equal rights, but she’s had to apologize for her earlier anti-gay rhetoric and associations while serving in the Hawaii State House. After pulling a tour of duty in Iraq and Kuwait, she was elected to Congress, where she has since modified her more conservative positions.

Kirsten Gillibrand, 52, is the ultimate flip-flopper. While representing a mostly rural district in Congress, she was a conservative Democrat who was easy on guns (she once received an “A” rating from the NRA) and tough on immigration. But once she was appointed to fill out Hillary’s term in the Senate, Gillibrand recanted her old positions, including calling for the abolishment of ICE. She also positioned herself as a faux leader of the #MeToo movement by calling for fellow Democratic senator Al Franken to resign for having engaged in a couple of minor, non-sexual groping incidents. Her grandstanding probably cost the Dems control of the Senate.

Kamala Harris, 54, is a former prosecutor and California attorney general who was elected to the Senate in 2016. Last year she gained national attention for grilling Judge Brett Kavanaugh during his Supreme Court confirmation hearings. Despite supporting “Medicare for All” and other liberal policies, she has come under fire from some Democrats for her conservative prosecutorial record. As the child of a mixed-race marriage, Harris would become not only the nation’s first woman president, but also the first of both Asian- and African-American heritage.

Amy Klobuchar, 58, is a former prosecutor, and now a moderate Democratic senator from Minnesota who believes she can capture the rust-belt vote that eluded Hillary in 2016. She wants to overturn Citizens United, and supports legislation that would automatically register young people to vote when they turn 18. Klobuchar has one of the highest rates of staff turnover in the Senate, a fact that has given credence to recent charges of her being verbally abusive to her employees.

Elizabeth Warren, 69, came to national prominence as an advocate for consumers who had been screwed over by banks and insurance companies during the last recession. President Obama put her considerable expertise to work by naming Warren as special adviser to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Her political positions are closely aligned with those of Bernie Sanders, including “Medicare for All” and free college education. Recently she has had to apologize for falsely claiming to be a Native American when applying to the Bar Association.

Marianne Williamson, 66, is a Los Angeles-based author, teacher, and spiritual adviser to celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey, Katy Perry, and Kim Kardashian. She wants African Americans to receive $100 billion dollars in reparations for slavery, with monies going for economic renewal. One of her slogans is, “We need to wage peace”. Another is, “Love should be our bottom line”.

There are those who believe that some of these women are only trying to raise their profile in hopes of being the VP pick if Joe Biden gets in the race. That may be true, but If he doesn’t run, my money is on Ms. Harris to get the nomination, and give Trump a run for his money. I can hear the glass starting to break already.


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