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Tuesday, September 02, 2008

The Sarah Palin pick has crystalized what I'll throw up here as my Boldest Prediction Ever: the next elected president of the United States, after Obama, will be a woman. Hillary Clinton exposed not only the potential political advantages of a female candidate—a surprising reversal of historical trends that she simply failed to capitalize on early enough—but also a palpable hunger that the "highest, hardest glass ceiling" be broken. And Palin's selection proves that this hunger extends even across the aisle.

We can't know right now, of course, but from where I'm sitting it seems likely that the next totally open election will take place in 2016, when Barack Obama steps down after his second term and presumably-still-VP Joe Biden (being just a few months older than John McCain is now) will be too old. I'd actually take odds, if that does come to pass, that both parties run women at the top of the ticket in 2016. In game theoretical terms there's just too much net potential advantage to be lost in allowing the opposing party to run a woman while you run a man. That hunger won't be getting any smaller in eight more years of waiting.

I hope I'm right. It'll be a very good day for America, and a better day still if she's a Democrat.