Third (well technically fourth) time's the charm?

Women have had a hand in American politics for centuries despite gaining the right to vote 100 years ago. In her correspondence with her husband during the Second Continental Congress, Abigail Adams advocated for women's rights and education. Women were are large part of the abolitionist movement in the early 19th century. Some of their most notable members included Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Margaret Chandler, Sojourner Truth, and Harriet Tubman. Women led the charge to reform various aspects of society during the late 1800's including Dorothea Dix who fought to improve conditions for the mentally ill, and Frances Willard, one of the leaders in the temperance movement. Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton (among countless others) paved the way for women's suffrage into the early 1900's.

Today we have numerous female city council members, mayors, state representatives, governors, Congressional members, and Supreme Court Judges. Despite this substantial progress, one glass ceiling remains to be broken: the executive office. Women have been more prominent in the major party presidential primaries, with Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, and Amy Klobuchar for the Democrats in 2020, and Carly Fiorina for the Republicans in 2016, however, only Hillary Clinton has secured the nomination.

Joe Biden recently pledged to select a female running mate for his 2020 presidential bid. This will mark the third time a major party has had a female vice president candidate, and the fourth time a female vice president has run overall. Tonie Nathan ran alongside John Hospers on the Libertarian ticket in 1972, earning one electoral vote. In 1984 Geraldine Ferraro ran with Walter Mondale for the Democrats, securing 13 electoral votes. Finally, Sarah Palin was selected by John McCain in 2008, receiving 173 electoral votes. Will 2020 be the first time the US sees a woman one step away from the presidency?

Biden has been very public with his search, naming several potential candidates the past few weeks. These candidates include: Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, and California Senator Kamala Harris. One name that has come up recently is former First Lady Michelle Obama ( While Obama stated in 2018 that she would not run, Biden has said, "I’d do that in a heartbeat if I thought there was any chance". All of these candidates have received national attention and could pair well with Biden, but Michelle Obama has the greatest pull by far and could potentially be the deciding factor in defeating Trump in 2020. Will she stand by her 2018 statement or will the pressure from fellow Democrats push her back into the spotlight?

Image credit: Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images

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