These Strong Women Blazed The Trail For Hillary
Hillary Clinton has become the first female candidate to win the presidential nomination of one of the two major parties in the United States of America. Erin Blakemore and Jo Freeman document who came and what happened before Hillary.
Victoria Woodhull ran for President in 1872 as the candidate for the Equal Rights Party on a platform of universal suffrage, political reform, and civil and social rights welfare. Victoria Woodhull ran for president nearly 50 years before the Nineteenth Amendment allowed women to vote in presidential elections. Not only was she the first woman to seek the office, but her running-mate, Frederick Douglass, was the first African-American ever nominated for Vice President.
Gracie Allen ran in 1940 as the candidate for the Surprise Party. During her satirical campaign, Allen used her ditzy persona to poke fun at the political system. The campaign included a mock party convention, a national whistle stop tour, an endorsement from Harvard University and an invitation from Eleanor Roosevelt to speak to the National Women’s Press Club.
1964 is the first year in which any woman had her name on a ballot as a candidate for President. Sen. Margaret Chase Smith, of Maine, was the first and also the most successful woman to run for the Republican nomination for president. In the 1964 primaries, she received over 83,000 votes from at least six states and at the convention she got 22 delegate votes from 4 states. She was only on three Republican primary ballots in 1964, though she also received some write-in votes from other states.
Charlene Mitchell was the first African-American to run for President, at the head of the 1968 Communist Party ticket. She received 1,075 votes from four states. She was also the first woman to have her name on the general election (i.e. November) ballot.
Shirley Chisholm ran in 1972 as a candidate for the Democratic Party on a platform of equal rights and economic justice, receiving 152 delegate votes in the primary. Chisholm had already made history as the first African-American woman elected to Congress in 1968. While she was not the first woman to vie for the Democratic nomination, she was the most viable up until that time.
Linda Jenness also ran in 1972 as the candidate for the Socialist Workers party under a platform of women’s liberation and ending the war in Vietnam. She received 83,380 votes in the general election. Jenness actually shared the nomination with another female candidate, Evelyn Reed, who ran in her place in states where Jenness did not qualify for the ballot due to her age.
One Asian-American woman has had her name on a Democratic presidential primary ballot: Patsy Mink in 1972. Ellen McCormack received 27 delegate votes from 5 states in 1976. A few women who did not run in the primaries for President of the United States have also received delegate votes at the Democratic Convention. Barbara Jordan, 1 in 1976; Koryne Horbal, 5 in 1980; Martha Kirkland, 1 in 1984; Patricia Schroeder, 8 in 1992.
Pat Schroeder raised $872,462 in anticipation of her 1988 campaign — more money than any other potential female candidate for the Democratic nomination. She dropped out after three months and her name was not on the ballot in any of the primaries.
Lenora Fulani was the most successful female minor party candidate. Her name was on the ballot in 51 jurisdictions in 1988 and 48 in 1992. No other woman running for President, whether in a primary or a general election, has had her name on as many different ballots.
Isabell Masters has had her name on a ballot for president in more years than any other woman: Republican primary in 1988, 1992 and 1996; Looking Back Party in 1992 and 1996. Mary Jane Rachner is the only woman to have her name on a Republican primary ballot in one year (1988) and a Democratic primary ballot in another (1992).
The woman on the most Republican Party primary ballots was Tennie Rogers, who was on nine state ballots in 1992. Elizabeth Dole raised over five million dollars while exploring a race for the 2000 Republican nomination. She was the most successful fundraiser of all the female candidates, but since she dropped out early, her name was not on any ballot.
Carol Mosely Braun raised $627,869 for her 2004 campaign — more money than any other woman whose name was on a Democratic primary ballot before Hillary. Although she dropped out after the first primary, she received 103,205 votes from 13 states.
Jill Stein ran as the Green Party candidate in 2012 receiving 469,015 votes in the general election under a platform of green jobs and the environment. Stein’s presidential candidacy has been the most successful ever conducted by a woman before Hillary presumably this election cycle.
There have been many women before Hillary who’ve attempted to get to where we are in this Democratic Primary in 2016. It’s always good to know where we’ve come from to see where we are headed.