Guest Column: There Won’t Be an All-Female Ticket in 2020

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By Denny Freidenrich

By Denny Freidenrich

To all my left-leaning friends in town, let me remind you what Will Rogers said decades ago: “I am not a member of any organized political party. I am a Democrat.”

With this thought in mind, let me also say that, had Senator Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) challenged former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries three years ago, it’s possible Warren would have been my party’s presidential nominee.

Today, after Warren and Senator Kamala Harris (Calif.) both had strong showings during the recent presidential debates in Miami, there is talk of the two of them serving together on the 2020 ticket. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but an all-female ticket simply is not going to happen in 2020.

Yes, America is ready for a Madam President, but there is no way this nation is ready for a female commander in chief and a second in command.

I understand women of all ages and professions want to break the proverbial glass ceiling. They say things like, “It’s time to smash it to pieces” and “An all-female ticket will do that loud and clear.”

True, it will; but, it also will doom someone’s chances of becoming the first female president. So which is more important? Making a political statement or winning the election? (Personally, I think winning is more important. I have a feeling the current occupant of the White House would agree with me.)

Before you report me to EMILY’s List, know this: I started writing about a woman being named to a presidential ticket years ago. Back in 2000, and then again in 2004, I urged both Al Gore and John Kerry to pick San Jose’s Rep. Zoe Lofgren as a running mate.

Besides having known Zoe since high school, and working along side her as a congressional staff assistant to Rep. Don Edwards (D-Calif.) in 1972, I have enormous admiration for Zoe as a person and as a political leader.

Case in point: In 1994, when the GOP tsunami laid the groundwork for Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) to become Speaker of the House, Zoe was the only freshman Democrat west of the Rockies that year to be elected to Congress. It was the same year my daughter was born. Guess whom she’s named after? (Spoiler alert: It’s not Newt.)

Zoe also is smart, savvy and experienced in the ways of Washington. Maybe that’s why she is the ranking member on the House Judiciary Committee (after Chairman Jerrold Nadler of New York).

Even though I have decided to support Senator Amy Klobuchar (Minn.) now, my daughter, a 2013 LBHS graduate, still is looking over the current field of candidates.  My hope is Zoe-the-younger eventually will realize it will be better to win in 2020 than break the glass ceiling.

This means breaking it into a million pieces will happen when a woman finally is elected president. I think Will Rogers would agree with me that having two women on the Democratic Party’s ticket in 2020 will have to wait another couple of years.

Denny Freidenrich lives in Laguna Beach. He is a former congressional staff assistant in Washington, DC.

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