Republican Governor John Kasich launched his presidential campaign this morning, joining 15 other Republicans and 5 Democrats in seeking the nation’s highest office. With announcements coming on a regular basis, it’s hard to generate interest in yet another man joining the race. In fact, the more interesting story has become the high number of candidates itself. As Larry Sabato has noted, this year’s election already has a record number of candidates for any one party (Republicans). However, there is an interesting gender story to tell as the candidate list grows. Yes, this campaign marks the first time we have women candidates running for both major party nominations. But, those women – Hillary Clinton (D) and Carly Fiorina (R) – represent just 9.5% of all major party presidential contenders. Of course, Clinton’s status as a frontrunner for the Democratic nomination is incredibly important. Still, I find it hard to believe that women represent less than ten percent of the talent pool in the presidential pipeline.
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.
The road to 2016 is shaping up to be an exciting journey. This week, Carly Fiorina officially joined Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail for president. As America ponders if we are “ready” for a woman president, the road to 2016 and beyond provides a unique opportunity to harness women’s political and economic power to elevate women’s voices in important debates and impact this election in a significant way, including supporting and electing more women.
On Sunday, April 12, Hillary Rodham Clinton announced her candidacy for the 2016 Democratic nomination for President of the United States. Clinton will likely be joined soon in the pursuit of the presidency by a Republican woman, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina. This is a good moment to reflect on the women who have blazed a path toward the White House and the potential for a woman to take the oath of office in years to come.