Baby, you’ve come a long way /1
A look at past female candidates for US president
By Byron Toben
Westmount High graduate Kamala Harris has recently added her name to a growing list of potential Democratic nominees for the United States presidency in 2020 come July 2019.
Ms. Harris, now a U.S. Senator from California, was born in Oakland, California and attended Westmount High from grades 7 to 11 while her mother was a visiting breast cancer researcher at the Jewish General hospital.
She joins two other (so far) potential female nominees, both also US Senators, namely Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Kirsten Gellibrand of New York.
Ms. Harris… attended Westmount High from grades 7 to 11 while her mother was a visiting breast cancer researcher at the Jewish General hospital.
It may seem a bit early to speculate on their chances. To quote the late Quebec prime minister, Robert Bourassa, “In politics, a week is a long time and a year, an eternity”.Still, Ms. Harris’s declaration has inspired us to review the efforts of other females to obtain that office.
This list only includes those who made it to being on voting ballots as official candidates for president.
For the major parties, there is only one, Hillary Clinton (Democrat) who garnered 65,853,516 votes in 2016 but lost to Donald Trump, who has fewer actual votes but more electoral votes under the US system.
For minor parties of any noticeable size, there was Dr. Jill Stein of Massachusetts, who ran for the Green Party twice, garnering 1,451,000 votes in 2016 and 488,907 in 2012.Before that, in 2008, former U.S. Democratic Representative (Georgia) turned Green Cynthia McKinney obtained 161,797 votes in losing to Barack Obama.
For other minor parties, many now disappeared, New York psychologist Lenora Fulani of the New Alliance party did garner 257,219 votes in 1988 losing to George H.W. Bush and was reduced to 72,714 votes in 1992 against Bill Clinton.
Ms. Fulani was the first woman as well as the first black person to be listed on ballots in all 50 states.
Others with lesser ballot listings were:
Linda Jenness, Socialist Workers Party, 1972
She failed to get on the state ballot for Governor of Georgia, but did get on several state ballots for President.
The Equal Rights Amendment activist was ex-communicated from the Mormon church for criticising its stand on ERA.
Roseanne Barr, actor, Peace and Freedom Party, 2012
She joined this party after losing the Green party nomination to Jill Stein.
Margaret Wright, Peoples Party, 1976
Community activist in Los Angeles.
Famed baby Doctor Benjamin Spock was veep on that ticket.
‘The popular wife of George Burns of the Burns and Allen duo became the second Irish Catholic to run for President, 22 years before Democrat John F Kennedy but 12 years after Republican Al Smith of New York.’
Gracie Allen, actor, Surprise Party, 1940
And what a surprise! The popular wife of George Burns of the Burns and Allen duo became the second Irish Catholic to run for President, 22 years before Democrat John F Kennedy but 12 years after Republican Al Smith of New York.
Unsurprisingly, she only corralled 42,000 votes.
Again, this list is only of females who managed to get listed on some state ballots for US President. A future one will list others who came close or made notable progress. Comments welcome. Keep tuned.
Feature image: Kamala Harris speaking at a U.S. Department of Justice event in 2013 by Lonnie Tague for the Department of Justice [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Byron Toben, a past president of The Montreal Press Club, has been WestmountMag.ca’s theatre reviewer since July 2015. Previously, he wrote for since terminated web sites Rover Arts and Charlebois Post, print weekly The Downtowner and print monthly The Senior Times. He also is an expert consultant on U.S. work permits for Canadians.