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Saturday, February 10, 2007

Is the U.S. ready to vote for a female president?

Posted by: Jambo / 10:40 PM

It seems ridiculous to me that we are even asking that question 6 years into the 21st century. After all, if India, Liberia, Pakistan, Germany, Israel, New Zealand, Chile, Great Britain, and a dozen others have managed to elect women to their highest office the U.S should be able to as well. (Oddly, North America is the only continent that has NOT elected a female leader.) But that question still gets asked here and often people reply that they DON'T think the American people are ready. That was the case at a party I attended today and it got me thinking. My gut reaction is "of course we're ready" but I'm one of those squishy headed liberals who can't even understand why it's an issue so I may not be the best judge in this case. Therefore I have came up with a thought experiment to find out. Now this isn't perfect but I think it makes sense on some level. Let's look at all the states that have elected a woman either to be governor or to the US Senate. Theoretically if a majority of the voters in those states are willing to elect a woman to those offices they would have no problem voting for one for president. If we count up the electoral votes of all those states and it is greater than the number needed to become president I think that would be pretty clear evidence that we "are ready" to elect a woman president. (I recognize that there might be an argument that a few people might be willing to let a woman run their state or make decisions in the Senate but would stop short of letting one run the whole country. I would think that is a small number and in any case can't think of a better way to set up my test so I am just going to figure this is close enough to be a decent proxy for the national mood.)

Feel free to correct me in the comments if I miss any, but here, off the top of my head are the states that have/had female governors or senators along with the number of electoral votes they have:

  • Alaska 3
  • Arizona 10
  • Arkansas 6
  • California 55
  • Colorado 9
  • Delaware 3
  • DC 3 (They don't actually have senators but their sole (non-voting) rep. is female.)
  • Hawaii 3
  • Illinois 21
  • Kansas 6
  • Louisiana 9
  • Maine 4
  • Maryland 10
  • Michigan 17
  • Minnesota 10
  • Missouri 11
  • New Jersey 15
  • New York 31
  • North Carolina 15
  • South Dakota 3 (I'm counting SD because their house seat is actually a statewide race since they only have one.)
  • Texas 34
  • Washington 11

    Total electoral votes: 289

    The number needed to become president is 270 so there you have it. The answer is yes, the United States is ready to elect a woman president. Now of course that is not at all the same thing as saying we will elect one in 2008 or any time soon. After all, who was the last candidate to carry both NY and Texas? (Actually that was probably Reagan in 1984.) But, based on my calculations, if a woman is not elected in 2008 it will be for some reason other than the nation not being "ready to vote for a woman."

    4 Comments:

    Interesting analysis, and I think you're right. In 2008, it's going to be "not ready to vote for Hillary."

    By Blogger Nerdie McSweatervest, at 10:31 PM  

    I agree with you and Nerdie. We're ready, but not for Hillary. I think the 1st female or black president will be a Republican, as it will seem safer to take that step with someone more conservative.

    I've worked in the South, and the near-universal hatred for HRC down there is amazing. And I mean hate that makes Jambo's disdain for GWB look like a schoolboy crush.

    I have an aunt and uncle who are big Atlanta Democrats, friends with the Carters, etc. They think HRC is the devil and wouldn't vote for her under any circumstances.

    If HRC gets the nomination, I think you'll see record turnout to vote against her.

    By Blogger Captain Liberty, at 9:37 AM  

    I hear that sort of talk about Hillary quite a bit but I'm not sure how much it really matter since the states where it is most common are ones Democrats are not going win anyway. They hate her in Georgia? I can live with that. They hate her just as much in Ohio? That's a different story. Remember, to win all she has to do is carry the same states Gore or Kerry did plus one more. She's not necessarily my first choice anyway, but the case against her is not as strong as I think it is made out to be. On the other hand there is the question of how the top of the ticket affects other races. The Dems don't need the south to win the White House but I'm sure there are plenty of southern Democrats that would rather have someone else come campaign with them in their races in 2008. (Tho who knows, maybe the person they'd love to have stumping for them is Hillary's husband. I don't know.)

    By Blogger Jambo, at 12:39 PM  

    Good points, but I think her negatives carry outside the south, too. She's such a polarizing figure...plus, she has the personality of a turnip.

    HRC, Obama and Edwards all rolled into one don't have the experience or credentials to be POTUS. I'd vote for Richardson, though...too bad he'll never get the nomination.

    "President Rudy" sounds a little strange, but it's the one I'd bet on today.

    By Blogger Captain Liberty, at 4:33 PM  

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