Why We Need More Sarah Palins and Herman Cains

By Bryce Covert, Next New Deal Editor

The Republican nominee for the 2012 slate hasn’t even been picked yet, but we’re already speculating about who might run in 2016. The latest rumor is that New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is going to ask Hillary Clinton to run again. This isn’t terribly surprising, as Gillibrand has been working a project called Off The Sidelines to get more women to run for office. It’s a problem we’ve made little progress on: women make up half of the population, yet they hold only 16 percent of Congressional seats, 12 percent of governorships and 8 percent of mayoralties. And that highest office in the land? No female has yet been named Commander in Chief besides Geena Davis.

Jamelle Bouie wrote a fantastic article at The American Prospect recently that made a similar point about African Americans. Just as with women, he notes that black people aren’t proportionally represented in politics. African-Americans make up 12.2 percent of the population, but there is not a single black Senator in the current Congress, and at the most the 2012 election cycle will produce two black governors and out of 150. Just over 8 percent of Representatives in the House are African-American, which is a bit closer but still not quite proportional. And of course Barack Obama is our first black president, out of forty-four.

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