A Hillary Clinton-Elizabeth Warren Pairing Would Be Profoundly Unusual—And Not Just In National Politics

Originally posted at Washington Post by Jena McGregor.

As the 2016 race’s veepstakes gets into full swing, the buzz over whether Sen. Elizabeth Warren could be Hillary Clinton’s running mate has only grown in volume. With the pair meeting Friday morning after Warren issued her endorsement Thursday afternoon, Warren’s repeated Donald Trump-bashing may look more and more like an audition for the No. 2 role.

If the chances of such a historic all-female ticket happening still seem quite remote — and it very well may be — that’s at least in part because a major U.S. political party has never had a woman at the top of its ticket, much less two.

But it’s also because having a pair of women take the top leadership roles is not just unusual for presidential campaigns — it’s rare in many other spheres, too.

The most analogous place to look in the U.S. would be gubernatorial races. Over the past twenty years, there have only been five pairs of women who have run for governor and lieutenant governor in the same year, according to Debbie Walsh, the director of the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University. And in only two of those cases — in New Jersey in 2013 and Kentucky in 1999 — did the two run as running mates, rather than in separate races. (In some states, governors select their lieutenant governors to run on the same tickets; in others, they run separate races.) None of the five pairs of women was elected.

A less similar place to look are the states that have elected women to hold both senate seats at the same time. That, according to Walsh, has happened four times — in New Hampshire, California, Maine and Washington. Even if the two obviously don’t run together, and one clearly doesn’t select the other for the job, it is an example of voters being willing to put two women in two prominent leadership roles, said Walsh in an interview: “Will voters pull the lever for two women? What we saw in those races was yes, they have.”

Globally, there are also few parallels. Catherine Reyes-Housholder, a PhD candidate at Cornell University who has written about gender-balanced cabinets, says Violeta Chamorro of Nicaragua governed with a female vice president, Julia de la Cruz Mena Rivera, from 1995 to 1997, but the two did not run together. “What would be unprecedented, again from a Latin American perspective, would be a female presidential candidate naming a female running mate and winning,” she said in an email. “That has never happened.”

Read more at Washington Post.

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