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The rise of the female White House prospect

What’s most striking about the news that Janet Napolitano is apparently considering a presidential bid in 2016 is the assumption that comes with it: One way or another, there will be a serious female candidate for the next Democratic nomination.

That would probably be a good bet to make, one that says a lot about the ebbing dominance of white males within the Democrats’ national leadership and how diverse the party’s voting base is becoming. This was a major theme in the reelection of President Obama, which was keyed by disproportionate support from female voters and overwhelming strength among nonwhite voters, who accounted for a bigger share of the electorate – 28 percent – than ever before. Another diversity milestone was also set by the 2012 election, with white men now accounting for less than half of all Democrats in the House for the first time.

When it comes to ’16, speculation about a female candidate on the Democratic side has centered around Hillary Clinton, and for good reason. Not only would the former secretary of state presumably crowd any other women out of the race, she’d have the potential to clear out the entire field, or at least come close to doing so.

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