The First Female President Shouldn’t Have to Come From My Generation

Elizabeth Warren by Gage Skidmore

When Elizabeth Warren ended her 2020 presidential campaign, I could only think of a time in fifth grade when a friend said she wanted to be the first female president. I admired her ambitions, but I told her that by the time we’re old enough, we would already have had the first female president. 

To many girls and women, even if they didn’t support her campaign, Warren symbolized what has long been considered impossible. A historic amount of women ran for president during this cycle. Many appeared to be strong contenders in the race. Warren actually out polled Biden as the preferred candidate in October. Her abundance of plans, pinky promises, and wit on the debate stage appealed to many people. Even celebrities like Janelle Monáe, Jonathan Van Ness, Megan Rapinoe, Roxane Gay, John Legend, and Chrissy Teigen endorsed her.

Despite her appeal and performance in the polls, a sinking feeling that Warren wasn’t going to win the nomination slowly grew inside me. 

The doubt started with media coverage of the Iowa caucus. Discussions seemed to pivot away from her campaign to how the men were doing. The public discussed the competition between Pete Buttigeg and Bernie Sanders at nauseam. Reporters heavily analyzed Joe Biden’s poor performance. But hardly anyone mentioned Warren’s third place finish.

Super Tuesday showed much of the same. Everyone credited Warren for taking down Michael Bloomberg on the debate stage, but it went back to boys club soon after. Political analysts seemed to only know the names of Sanders, Biden, and Bloomberg. After the Super Tuesday results, it seemed clear what would happen. But no preparation could change the disappointment I felt after Warren officially revealed she was leaving the race. 

Women across social media echoed this sadness. But as Vox pointed out, the main demographic that supported Warren was highly educated and white. Take it a step further and they were mostly women, a group that is not the average Democratic Party voter.

A lot of the sorrow women are feeling right now is similar to what was felt after Hillary Clinton lost in 2016. In her concession speech, Clinton expressed her desire for women to not give up hope.

“I know we have still not shattered that highest and hardest glass ceiling but someday, someone will and hopefully sooner than we think right now,” said Clinton.

Warren expressed similar advice the day she announced the end of her campaign. “It’s just going to be a little longer before we’re able to have a woman in the White House. But it doesn’t mean it’s not going to happen,” she told Rachel Maddow.

There are four presidential election cycles between now and when women my age can officially run for president. I hope by then I’ll have been right.