Erin Leigh McConnell First Female POTUS: Time for Serious Look at Candidates Daniel Coyle II Hot Topics, Politics 1 Even if you don’t consider yourself very well-versed in US politics, you are likely still aware of the glaring absence of female leadership in our country. However, in these early stages of next year’s election, two women are already taking control. Democratic hopeful, Hillary Clinton, was assumed as the primary candidate for her party, long before she officially announced her campaign. Her tenure and experience in American law and politics make her the frontrunner amongst the entire pool of candidates. She’s spent her entire career as an advocate for the oppressed, and continues that stance into her campaign. Video Credit: INJ News via www.youtube.com Carly Fiorina, on the republican side, is a contender of a completely different nature. She is not a “career politician,” and that has turned out to one of her most appealing traits. She expresses the American ideology of a “citizen government,” and strongly embodies the assertion that successful leaders from outside of the political game have more to offer a struggling nation, than “more of the same.” Her platforms align almost exclusively to conservative voters, making her a strong contender against Clinton’s liberal philosophy. Video Credit: Jim Hoft via www. youtube.com The two are almost complete opposites, both representing the popular ideals of their party. A formidable woman campaigning for the main ticket on both sides. Some people would say that’s a pretty fair shot for a woman to rise. Right? Well those people would be right IF the candidate pool weren’t flooded with twenty other candidates – all men, making participation in these early stages of the race necessary if you’re hoping to see a woman on the main ticket next year. Quick Facts Over the course of 227 years, through 44 presidencies, the citizens of the United States have never elected a woman as Commander-in-Chief. A woman has never even been named the primary candidate for a major political party. Hillary Clinton has gone the farthest in a primary race, losing to Barack Obama for the democrats, in 2008. Carly Fiorina along with her formidable opponent, Hillary Clinton, make up the only two women currently seeking to represent their political party in next year’s general election. What Makes This Year Different—Do either really have a shot? Carly Fiorina Photo Credit: USDA Hillary Clinton Photo Credit: Michael Vadon There are a few factors contributing to the realization that a woman has a real shot to make history in the upcoming election. Those factors are all based on difference. Difference in their campaigns, difference in comparison to their opponents, and most importantly, difference in the views they have for the United States under their leadership. The Game has Changed. In 2008, the USA voted for their first president that was not a white male. This opened a figurative gate. The perception that our president would always be a white man went out the window. It’s this shattered barrier that has made it possible for men and women of all classes to run without their race or gender coming into question as a candidate. The Contenders are Viable. Fiorina and Clinton are not just strong candidates for women, they are strong candidates, period. Each of their campaigns are fiercely contending, and many times surpassing, many of the men in the candidate pool. Both women represent the true ideologies of their chosen political party. It’s this reason why everyone (that is, everyone who is giving the female candidate legitimate consideration) should be keeping their eye on a woman. The Voters Want Something Different. A primary-vote consideration requires the candidate to align themselves with their party’s ideologies, while also standing out from their colleagues. Fiorina particularly, has been able to stand out in her own party by taking on controversial issues with professionalism and logic. Her public speaking ability is unmatched on the republican side, making it her talent (not her gender) that impresses republican voters. Clinton is running on “change” as well. It is not her perception as a candidate, but her perception for the country that is progressive in the race. Clinton runs on helping to elevate the lower and middle classes. She wants to protect the rights of minorities who are currently getting stomped by the conservative class. Her platform is to “wage and win four fights” for the American people in her presidency, all of which are centered on human rights and equality. Why the Primaries Matter. Photo Credit: US League of Women Voters of California The male hierarchy of US politics is an obstacle of equality that we’ve yet to overcome. This year’s current crop of candidates includes only two women, yet both are strong contenders to prove that a woman is more than capable of leading this nation. The general election is soon approaching, and in order for us to see the candidates we believe should be there, we must pay attention now. We must listen, challenge, and critique their worth. We should educate ourselves to know if they really do represent our wishes. Consideration of either candidate is important, not because we should aim to break the strangle-hold of male dominated politics, but because these women are two of the top candidates despite their gender. Who do you think is going to come out on top in the upcoming lecture, Clinton, Fiorina, or one of the guys? Leave your comment below.