Hillary Has Company – Some Women Who Have Run For President Before
Hillary Clinton is boldly running for President in 2008, and the thought may seem unusual, since we’ve never had a woman President. We have, however, had a President election with a woman on the ballot before – 13 elections, in fact! Here’s a look at some of the more notable cases of this phenomena, and why Clinton may just have a chance.
Lenora Fulani – ran for the New Alliance Party in 1988. She is a developmental psychologist and psychotherapist. She is perhaps the most successful female Presidential candidate so far. She is both the first woman and the first African-American to achieve a spot on the ballot in all fifty states, and she pulled a record number of votes for a female candidate, at 217,219. She ran again in 1992 for the same party, but didn’t do as well. In 1993, she joined with activists rallying around Ross Perot, to get an alternative voting platform going.
Victoria Woodhull – the very first Unites States female Candidate for President. She was an American suffragist who ran in 1872. She was nominated by the Equal Rights Party. The details of her candidacy are the subject of heavy dispute by political scholars. For one thing, she was under the Federally mandated age of 35. Note also that women did not legally get the right to vote until 1920, however, protesting this situation is what the suffragette movement was all about. There is some evidence that she received somewhere around 2,000 popular votes.
Gracie Allen – you know her as the famous companion to George Burns, forming half of the Burns and Allen show. So she ran for President – for the “Surprise party” – in 1940. According to the records, she pulled 42,000 popular votes. Franklin D. Roosevelt, however, need not have worried about her comedy stunt, as he comfortably won the election to a third term. As for Allen, she got a boost to her show-business career, and was presumably not unhappy about it. This would be the most successful run attempted as a comedic stunt by a female.
Charlene Mitchell – she ran in 1968, and was the first woman to run for U.S. President while representing the Communist party. She was also the first African-American woman to run for President of the United States – not to be confused with Lenora Fulani, who was the first to appear on the ballot in all fifty states. She pulled a mere 1,076. Given the spirit of the times, she was probably dismissed as a “hippie” by unaware voters. She’s still around today, as an active member of the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism (CCDS).
Linda Jenness and Evelyn Reed – both of them ran for President in 1972 under the Socialist Workers Party. How the same party got two candidates on the ballot is a mystery. Jenness got 52,799 popular votes, and Reed got 13,878, neither one close to toppling Nixon (but they each got to joyfully shout “we told you so!” after Nixon’s impeachment). Jenness is an author of several books, and was famous for getting a case into the United States Supreme Court regarding her right to hand out campaign literature at Fort Dix. Reed is a very well-known philosopher, social critic, and science writer, who has put forth the theory that women were responsible for the social development necessary to form human society, and were also the innovators in art, communication, and farming.
Margaret Wright – most notable for having the best-selling author and pediatrician Benjamin McLane Spock (“Baby and Child Care”) for a running mate. She ran for the People’s party – which was Socialist – in 1976, and drew 49,024 popular votes. Her campaign even printed bumper stickers with the message “Socialist for President”. She was a community activist based in Los Angeles, California. She was also a shipyard worker during World War II, and in fact was one of the principles in the film “The Life and Times of Rosie the Riveter”.