Amid the near-daily presidential candidacy announcements this summer was one from another woman – Jill Stein. Stein, the 2012 presidential nominee for the Green Party, launched her 2016 bid for the same party on June 22nd. She is not unopposed in her bid for the Green Party nomination this year, but her name recognition and infrastructure from 2012 positions her as a clear front-runner for the party’s spot on the presidential ballot.
In this installment of On the Bias, I discuss the gendered dimensions of displaying authenticity in political campaigns, noting the questions raised in recent coverage and ways in which candidates seek to meet expectations of both candidacy and gender. I also return to the discussion of Hillary Clinton’s age, a topic she addressed most directly in her recent campaign rally, to consider the ways in which Clinton’s seniority might help instead of hinder her candidacy.
The 2016 presidential cycle is an unprecedented moment in presidential history—the first time there is a woman vying for the nomination of each major party. While we’ve never seen such a race play out on the national stage, we have seen women running against each other for governor. These executive-level races provide the best available cues about gender dynamics in a woman vs. woman contest.
Yesterday, Jeb Bush announced his candidacy for president of the United States. But it isn’t only Jeb who will be under the electoral microscope for the next 18 months. Profiles of his wife have already surfaced, with the latest coming in this month’s Atlantic, where Hannah Rosin describes Columba Bush’s aversion to the spotlight and calls her the “anti-Clare Underwood” as a far less extroverted and involved political spouse. Columba Bush is not the only political spouse earning attention in the 2016 race. Kelley Paul has earned much attention already, The Washington Post profiled Frank Fiorina in May, and Bill Clinton’s role and influence have been repeatedly debated in print and on TV.
In this issue of On the Bias, we highlight multiple sources of potential gender bias, moving beyond “mainstream” media to consider how other outlets and individuals, including the candidates themselves, contribute to the gender dynamics of the presidential race.