Wednesday, June 08, 2016

A Brief History of Women Candidates for President of the United States

In honor of Hillary Clinton earning the delegate count - granted, it's not official until the Convention or until Bernie wises up - to stand as the first female candidate of a major political party for President of the US of A, a brief listing of women candidates. It's not a full list, as there are a platoon's worth of minor third party candidates who barely register a blip on the radar. These are the ones who got caught made significant contributions:

Victoria Woodhull - 1872 - running on the Equal Rights Party

Newspaper owner/editor, stockbroker, rabblerouser.

Her campaign ran into a few difficulties: primarily, she was still technically under the age limit being 34 years old at the time of the election (she wouldn't have been 35 until six months into the term of office). This was also a period in our history when women barely had the right to vote let alone hold elective office. Oh, and every state refused to put her name on the ballots. She also ended up in jail during the election cycle due to mailing out her newspaper in November that year accusing prominent religious leader Henry Ward Beecher of adultery (the excuse was an open attempt at censorship).

Belva Ann Lockwood - 1884 and 1888 - National Equal Rights Party

Prominent suffragist, became the first woman to practice law before the Supreme Court, and the first woman to actually appear on ballots to receive votes. She won over 4,000 votes, for about... um... .04 percent.

Gracie Allen - 1940 - Surprise Party

Yes, THAT Gracie.

Was originally part of a "joke" campaign that allowed her and her husband George Burns to tour the nation working a stand-up routine. She still won 42,000 votes, a record at the time. And was still more qualified than Donald Trump...

Margaret Chase Smith - 1964 - Republican Party

First woman candidate to try and represent for a major party, which meant access to ALL ballots and a 50-50 shot at winning the whole thing. Was a moderate, almost liberal Republican... in an era when the conservative faction under Goldwater was seizing control of the party for his doomed effort against LBJ. Had elective experience in both the House and Senate, which clearly made her more qualified than Trump...

Charlene Mitchell - 1968 - Communist Party

First African-American woman candidate for the Presidency. Was only on the ballot in two states, and barely got over 1,000 votes total.

Shirley Chisholm - 1972 - Democratic Party

Had elective experience as the first African-American woman elected to Congress as a representative from New York in 1968. Won herself a handful of delegates, being the first major-party female candidate to do so, but was still not enough to place better than fourth in the 1972 Convention. Still, she became an inspirational figure within the Democratic party itself, viewed as a serious chance for both Black and Woman demographics to represent for the Presidency, and was regularly touted as the spiritual predecessor to both Obama AND Hillary (in a nice touch, Hillary showed a clip of Chisholm at her victory speech last night).

Lenora Fulani - 1988 and 1992 - New Alliance Party

Notable for being the first woman candidate to gain ballot access in all 50 states (nearly every other woman candidate not listed here were limited to few states and thus had little electoral impact). Also made history with the most votes garnered - over 200,000 - in 1988 for any woman candidate, a record that wouldn't be touched until 2012.

Monica Moorehead - 1996, 2000, maybe 2016 - Workers World Party

Not really newsworthy except for two things: the Ralph Nader people blame HER for Gore losing to Bush in 2000 - since she got 4000 votes that year, while Nader stole 2.8 million from Gore and ruined everything, screw you Ralph - and she's once again running for the office this year, so, you know, it's current.

Jill Stein - 2012 and 2016 - Green Party

Set a record for most votes for a woman candidate in 2012 with 460,000-plus votes, which barring a total meltdown by the Democrats is likely gonna get beat by Hillary Clinton getting millions of Democratic votes this election cycle. Highest elected office has been serving on a town's council somewhere in the dark forests of Massachusetts... which still makes Stein more qualified than Trump. And also maybe a Ghosthunter if the rumors of eldritch abominations roaming the New England countryside are true.

Hillary Clinton - 2008 and 2016 - Democratic Party

Didn't quite win it all in 2008, but has won the delegate count and is pretty much the nominee for 2016. It's still up to 67 million Democratic voters who came out for Obama in 2012 - as well as any other voters horrified by Trump - to show up and vote for Hillary in 2016.


dinthebeast said...

Rachel Maddow said on her show last night that the US is sort of late to the party of electing female leaders...

-Doug in Oakland

Pinku-Sensei said...

Also, the 2012 nominee of the Peace and Freedom Party in California and a few other states was Roseanne Barr. She got that as a consolation prize for coming in second to Jill Stein at the Green Party convention. She's not running this year. The party is about to nominate Gloria La Riva, presidential candidate of the Party for Socialism and Liberation running in California on the Peace and Freedom ticket along with legendary Native rights activist Dennis Banks, a co-founder of the American Indian Movement. That makes for a third woman nominated for President this year.

Pinku-Sensei said...

Also, Jill Stein wasn't even the first female nominee of the Green Party. That honor belongs to Cynthia McKinney, who was the party's nominee in 2008.

Paul said...

Well, I didn't include EVERY woman candidate throughout history, just the ones of significance in my humble opinion. Hence Jill Stein getting mentioned but not Rosanne Barr.