Devastated by the election loss, progressives around the country are already starting to share “Michelle Obama 2020” memes and are urging her to run. This tweet for example, was shared over 75 thousand times:
🗣MICHELLE 🗣 IF 🗣 YOU 🗣 RUN 🗣 FOR 🗣 PRESIDENT 🗣 2020 🗣 I 🗣 WILL 🗣 EAT 🗣 ALL 🗣 MY 🗣 VEGGIES 🗣 AND 🗣DO 🗣 GREAT 🗣 IN 🗣 SCHOOL 🗣 PLEASE 🗣 @FLOTUS
— jaz (@_jczmin) November 9, 2016
I want to be very explicit about this: Under no circumstances should Michelle Obama run for president in 2020, or ever.
Firstly, Michelle Obama is an incredibly dignified and decent woman, and she shouldn’t have to run against Donald Trump — a man with as much respect for women as Alex Jones does for accuracy in journalism. Trump unleash virulent misogyny in his contest against Hillary Clinton, and he’d add violent racism to the mix should he face an African American woman in 2020. Given the latest “ape in heels” comment by a Republican Mayor in West Virginia, you can be certain any political campaign against Michelle Obama would be nasty beyond belief.
Secondly, Americans must stop its obsession with family dynasties. We’ve already had two Bushes in the White House and an attempted third (although Jeb Bush performed so badly it might not count). And regardless of how competent she was, Hillary Clinton’s run at the presidency was in large part due to her husband’s political career.
I was always opposed to Hillary Clinton running for office based on this as I believe it is corrosive to the American political system and an implicit acknowledgement that the US is not a democracy, but an oligarchy controlled by big money and family dynasties. Clinton was no doubt highly qualified for the job and would have (at least in my opinion) made a very good president, but no country that takes democracy seriously should be voting for candidates based on their family name. I supported Clinton because I felt she was extremely smart and had the best chance of beating anyone in the Republican field, but I was privately dismayed that the Democrats put their muscle behind someone whose persona contradicted the mood of the country. Americans tend to vote for change after two term presidents, and voting for a Clinton was the very definition of establishment continuation. This isn’t to say someone else would have won, but it is clear Clinton’s name hurt her at least as much as it helped her.
Suggesting Michelle Obama run for President is indicative of quite a serious malaise in American politics. The obsession with name brand politicians reveals lazy thinking and serious lack of imagination. We have no understanding of Michelle Obama’s competency as a politician, no idea about her effectiveness as a leader, and even less about her own ambitions in life. While the First Lady carved a very successful career for herself as a lawyer and in the public sector, running a country is an entirely different prospect and there is nothing in her resume that would suggest she is remotely qualified, or interested in the job. The First Lady could well decide she wants to throw her hat into the ring, but she would have to prove she was worthy of the job before anyone took her seriously. Demanding she run because she has the same last name as another President is an insult not only to the country, but to Michelle Obama herself. And if we’ve learned anything about the First Lady during her husband’s presidency, she is quite capable of succeeding on her own merit.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.