Hillary Clinton was thankfully denied history as the first female president, but history will be made soon with the first female President, perhaps in eight years. And there’s a good chance she won’t be white, either.
Both the Democratic and Republican parties have rising stars of Indian (think 7-11s, not casinos) origin, and the two could very well face off in 2024.
The Republican candidate should be immediately obvious to readers of The DC. Nimrata Randhawa, a.k.a Nikki Haley, is the popular two-term governor of South Carolina who is now our ambassador to the United Nations, a role that has already begun to raise her national profile. Her approval rating as governor once spiked to 81% but settled back to around 56% at the time Donald Trump picked her for the U.N. role.
On the Democrat side is the newly-elected California Senator Kamala Harris. Word is there are high hopes for Harris in a party desperate for new leaders under the age of 70. She has the pedigree: lawyer, former District Attorney for San Francisco and California State Attorney General. The fact she’s female, black and Indian no doubt helps, too. At least with her party.
Her record was mixed. While she had a high conviction rate as SF attorney, she was criticized for performing far fewer prosecutions. She flat out refused to consider the death penalty in a state that technically has it but hasn’t carried it out in years. And there were scandals involving numerous felony convictions being tossed out over tainted results from the SF crime lab.
In her first hearings as a senator, she showed her willingness to pick up with Boxer left off. She spent her first round of questioning of Rep. Mike Pompeo, President Trump’s pick for CIA director, on his views on. Because these are top priorities of the CIA, you know.
And just months after being sworn in as a senator, Harris is already making the rounds among Democratic circles and being discussed as a future Presidential candidate. As usual, the Democrats’ ambitions exceed their accomplishments.
Neither has a shot at 2020. Haley would be working for Trump, and Harris would be in her first term, and despite the aberration that was Barack Obama, she is no Barack Obama. Yes, she would get California, Oregon, Washington, New York and New England by default. So would any other Democrat. She needs more time to distinguish herself, or at the very least wait for the stubborn old leadership of the Democratic party of die off.
Haley is in an ideal spot to raise her profile. She will have her work cut out for her. Governor of South Carolina doesn’t exactly prepare you for dealing with Iran, Syria, Russia, China, and North Korea but she’s learning now. Assuming she is a quick study, four high profile years at the U.N., followed by departing the administration (either through a Trump loss in 2020 or simply not staying on a second term, which is common) and making the rounds on the talk circuit would build her up nicely for 2024.
Assuming Trump wins re-election in 2020, that sets up 2024. No doubt Vice President Mike Pence would want a shot at the big chair, and that will all depend on how well Trump performs. And Pence is no shoo-in. He wasn’t exactly loved here on the DC when his name came up as a Veep candidate.
His clumsy handling of the Indiana RFRA law showed he’s not that skilled on the mic. He should have had the moral high ground with that law but couldn’t articulate a good defense of the law and got spanked by Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, who is one of the most gifted gabbers I’ve ever met. Seriously, if he ever gets ambitious he will steamroll the competition without trying.
It would be historical indeed if both women faced off in 2024 for the Presidency. And interesting to see how they split the middle. Haley would definitely appeal to conservatives in a way Trump never did, and Harris would get the usual coastal crowd. But what in the middle? That’s where Trump won, and they would both have to repeat that win. Haley would have to show working class appeal. while Harris would have to win a group Hillary Clinton never bothered to reach.
This could be more interesting than anything in 2020.