Who Should Be The First Gay President?
In honor of Pride Month, and Leo Varadkar, let’s look at the possibilities…
On the heels of the election in Ireland of its first openly gay Prime Minister, Leo Varadkar, it’s fair to speculate about the possibility of someone from the LGBTQ community being elected to the highest office in our own country. While it seems hard to imagine now, with the regressive, possibly-authoritarian administration currently in the White House, we have to remember that the history of progress lives on a pendulum, and appropriately, a pendulum swings both ways.
So, who in the gay community would have the best chance of taking the Presidency? If Donald Trump has taught us anything so far, it’s that anyone can be President. Just maybe not everyone should be President. So the next Commander-in-Chief doesn’t necessarily have to be a politician — they could be a business person, an entertainer, or even a journalist. With that said, there are many openly gay politicians at the local, state, and national level that would be a much better alternative to what currently occupies the Oval Office. The most prominent of which is the first person on this list.
When you’re talking about breaking new ground as a gay politician in America, you have to start with Tammy Baldwin, the Democratic Junior Senator from Wisconsin. While Barney Frank was the first American politician to voluntarily come out while in office (previous gay politicians had either been outed or had revealed their sexuality after serving their terms in office), Tammy Baldwin was the first openly gay politician to ever be elected to Congress, in both the House and the Senate.
In addition to her gay-pioneer bona fides, Tammy Baldwin also has a heck of a good record. She voted against the Iraq War, citing “postwar challenges” as a prime reason for not wanting to get involved. She favors single-payer health reform, and she’s introduced legislation that would curtail the price-gouging of the pharmaceutical industry. She even gave a primetime speech on healthcare in the 2004 Democratic National Convention, a speech that was ultimately overshadowed by another promising, young politician.
She has a strong track record on women’s and minority rights, and she serves on the Committee of Energy and Commerce, as well as the subcommittees of the Environment, the Economy, and Health.
No sane person would question Tammy Baldwin’s qualifications. What the opposition would do, however, is cast her as an unrepentant partisan. She’s penned legislation that would give credence to that argument, specifically a bill calling for articles of impeachment for Dick Cheney, but let’s face it — every Democrat running for President in 2020 will be panned as a hyper-liberal nut job.
Tammy Baldwin is one of the most well-respected and well-known LGBTQ politicians out there. Her views line up with the most passionate wing of the Democratic Party, and after 10 years experience on Capitol Hill, she’s also well-regarded within the establishment.
As far as active politicians go, you couldn’t do much better than Tammy Baldwin. A progressive, a woman, and a lesbian. It’d be a huge step forward after the potentially disastrous lurch backwards we’re currently experiencing.
When you look past Congress, the first place potential voters usually stop is the business sector. Take Donald Trump, for example, who won the election, in part, by promising to run America like a business. Well, if Americans want someone to run the country like a business, why not choose a guy who runs one of the most successful companies in the world?
Apple, since Tim Cook took over as CEO from Steve Jobs in 2011, has seen a growth in revenue, a growth in return of capital, a growth in workforce, and a surge to first place in stock value. The most valuable company in the world is run by a gay man. Fancy that.
Shouldn’t America be the leader in technological innovation? It makes sense then to take our next leader from the center of the tech industry. Sure, it’s not running failed casinos and golf clubs, but we would have to assume that running Apple would impart some valuable leadership skills that Tim Cook could take to Washington.
He’d definitely hire smart people, for one. Anyone he appointed to his cabinet positions would almost certainly know at least something about the department they were about to lead, which is more than we can say now. Replace Obamacare? No problem. Tim Cook would have Americans lined up for healthcare like it’s the new iPhone. It may not be better than Obamacare, but it would be designed so well that nobody would care. It goes without saying that the website would go off without a hitch.
Imagine bringing the culture of Silicon Valley to Washington. Congressional meetings taken on segways. The State of the Union, structured like a Ted Talk. It would be a beautiful thing, and a welcome change. Right now, we have a bully in the White House. It makes sense to then give it to the nerds.
The question is — would he even want to? Doubtful. Being a billionaire in the Bay sounds much better than being bogged down by politics in Washington. But who knows? Maybe being President of the United States is the best way for Tim Cook to make the world a better place
Come on, Anderson Cooper should definitely be President. Think about it. You already know it’s true. If a reality television star can be President, so can a respected journalist. And poor Anderson has got to be getting sick of CNN by now, staring at pundits as they repeat the same ludicrous talking points day in and day out, listening to people like Jeffrey Lord and doing everything he can to remain stoic and not show his contempt. He’s got to be seeing what’s happening every day with this administration, and be thinking in the back of his silver little head, “I could be a better President than this Jackass”.
It’s totally plausible, too.
He’s knowledgeable. He’s been all over the world, and he knows the issues. He’s talked to world leaders. He’s well-known and liked within the US by a broad demographic of people. Name recognition is not a problem. He’s a freaking Vanderbilt, so he has connections to wealthy donors. He’s young, and perceived well internationally, so he would be a great image adjustment for the US from the stain on the American brand that was Donald Trump. Also, his hair is already white, so eight years in office ain’t gonna do nothing to him!
By 2020, all signs indicate that the media will have taken a lot of abuse by this administration. What better way for the fourth estate to get its revenge than by getting one of its own elected into the highest office in the land? It would be a fitting rebuke to the man who claims the media is the enemy of the people.
However, despite the already super-partisan nature of the media at large, it might open a dangerous door to put someone from a major news network into the Oval Office. Remember, these things work on a pendulum. Anderson Cooper would be great, sure, but what comes after him? Sean Hannity? I shudder to think.
Of course, there’s no indication that Cooper has any interest in being a politician. In fact, in times such as these we need a voice like his more than ever. Journalism is a noble calling, and Cooper may well consider his current career more satisfying than being President ever could. Not to mention, we don’t even know what Anderson Cooper’s politics even are. He could be a Republican, for all we know! Just kidding, he’s definitely a Democrat. It is the liberal media, after all. Right, Donald?
The last candidate is also the least likely to run for President. Ellen DeGeneres is well on her way to becoming a media mogul, the next Oprah Winfrey, so she’s not interested in wading into the murky swamp of Washington politics. She’s building a global brand. She’d have to be blindly, narcissistically obsessed with winning at all costs — no matter what the consequences were to her or the country — to think that running for President would be good for her brand. She doesn’t strike me as the type. But you can’t deny the appeal of a President DeGeneres.
In fact, her broad appeal is her strongest asset. Everyone loves Ellen. She’s up there with Bill Murray and Tom Hanks for most universally loved celebrities. Even the strictest, most religiously conservative members of the Republican Party still brought their kids to Finding Dory.
Even on her show, when she speaks about politics, she never gets too political. She just finds a nice, universally positive message that doesn’t offend either side, but still addresses the topic in a responsible way. In other words — she’d be a perfect politician. Her inclusive, non-judgemental style would serve as a nice contrast to the generally implacable rancor that divides D.C..
When you think about it, Ellen DeGeneres is kind of the Anti-Trump. They both consider themselves entertainers, but that’s about all they share in common. She’s a lesbian, who worked hard to get where she is in a male-dominated industry. She didn’t inherit any fortune or privilege. She has a beautiful wife that actually loves her. She’s humble. She has a great sense of humor. Her hands are a normal size.
Can you imagine her on a world stage? She’d put world leaders at ease. She’d win the crowd at NATO like they were a room of nervous producers at the Academy Awards. Even our fiercest rivals would have to admit to being at least a little charmed by Mrs. DeGeneres. ISIS would be like, “She is an infidel and an abomination to Allah! But I do like it when she dances.”
Sure, she may not know the ins and outs of complex domestic or international policy, but do I even need to finish this joke? What she lacks in political experience she will make up for in good will. We want the face of America to wear a smile, not a scowl. We want a face that’s warm and welcoming, not fearful and suspicious. To that end, we couldn’t find a better spokesperson than Ellen DeGeneres.
All told, almost anyone would be a better President than Donald Trump. The guy who flips the signs in front of the car wash would be a better President than Donald Trump. Fortunately, America is full of many talented individuals of all races, religions, and sexualities who are at least just as qualified as he is. Hopefully, the next President will reflect the better angels of our nature, and electing a gay person would certainly represent a break from the past. The rest of the world is already looking to the next generation of leaders. France has elected Macron, Canada with Trudeau, and now Ireland has given its top job to Leo Varadkar. The future is already here, let’s hope America doesn’t miss its chance to be a part of it.