The 2016 election season will be here before you know it, and already presidential hopefuls are giving voters — for better or for worse — a lot to talk about. (Donald Trump’s hair, anyone?) But in all seriousness, whether you’ve already selected your preferred candidate, committing to that campaign bumper sticker and all, or haven’t really started paying much attention to all the bantering yet, there’s always room for more in a good ol’ American election, amirite? Kinda like Jello. And I for one will always welcome another female presidential candidate, no matter how many of those podiums debate organizers have to crowd onto that tiny, blue upholstered stage.
But like Bonnie Tyler said best: I’m holding out for a hero — or in this case, a really amazing heroine. Naturally, some of my most celebrated heroines of all time come from literature. So, join me in wistfully imagining that all those go get ‘em ladies in fiction aren’t actually from great novels at all, and could totally run for president in real life. It’s a pretty appealing prospect… or at least interesting enough to rival this picture of Donald Trump’s hair on a houseplant.
Here are eight literary heroines who would make awesome presidential candidates. Alas, if only they were real.
Jean Louise Finch from Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee
Jean Louise Finch, not unlike her childhood character Scout, has some pretty strong ideas about equality, racism, and justice. She's not afraid to share them either. Sure, Uncle Jack needed to give her a quick history lesson or two, but in general outspokenness and civic-mindedness are exactly what I want in my president. Plus, if the opening scene of Go Set A W atchman is any indication, Jean Louise can rock a pantsuit like no one can.
Lauren Olamina from Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler
Voters might need to review the idea of separation of church and state with Lauren Olamina, the teen who founded her own religion in response to the dystopic decline of the United States, but other than that this girl has got my vote. A highly intelligent natural leader, Lauren Olamina has something called "hyperempathy syndrome" which basically means she's acutely aware of the sufferings of others — and therefore might be more inclined than her GOP peers to work hard to end them. Plus, with some mild tweaking, her mantra "God Is Change" sounds like the perfect campaign slogan.
Hermione Granger from Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
This list wouldn't be complete without a top-notch performer of magic like Hermione Granger. Her no-nonsense, take-charge attitude is perfect for running the White House; and the sassy sarcasm that punctuates most of her dialogue would make for some really entertaining State of the Union addresses. Coming from a Muggle home, maybe she could finally work to bridge the gap between magic folks and non-magical, too.
Elinor Dashwood from Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
Elinor Dashwood brings the "sense" to Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility. What more do you need in a national leader, amirite? She's thoughtful and passionate, but capable of keeping her emotions in check, and always gives something a good, long think before acting. She's kind of the Dashwood family counselor, and has kept her wacky mother and sister in check pretty much her whole life. After that kind of practice, babysitting Congress should be a breeze.
Galadriel from The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
Considered the mightiest, fairest, and greatest of all Elven women in Middle-Earth, Galadriel's leadership role in the rebellion of the Noldor makes her a prime candidate for presidency. Plus, she's already co-ruled Lothlórien with her husband, Lord Celeborn, (aka: this means she basically did all the work) so she already knows the ins and outs of office — like the paperwork... I bet there's a lot of paperwork. With her impressive resume it's definitely time for Galadriel to take front and center stage. Plus she'll bring some seriously ethereal style to the White House.
Úrsula Iguarán from One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez
Úrsula Iguarán is kind of like your favorite nun from Catholic school — totally terrifying when you've done something wrong, but you know she's fair, and truly has got your back. She's lived long enough to see A LOT of history, so hopefully she has some great ideas to keep the more unfortunate events from repeating themselves. She's not only kept order amongst the rowdy, tumultuous Buendía clan for about the last 80 years, she also has a soft spot for strangers and anyone in need. What's not to love?
Kristy Thomas from The Baby-sitters Club by Ann M. Martin
If Kristy Thomas can run The Babysitters Club then she can definitely run the country. She's organized to a fault (remember The Record Book, The Notebook, Kid Kits, and that shockingly uncomplicated phone tree that Claudia kept messing up?) After all, the first book of the series is called Kristy's Great Idea — she's full of them. Sure, the girl is known to get a little money-hungry at times, but if we could help her reign that in I'd trust her with my tax dollars.
Matilda Wormwood from Matilda by Roald Dahl
Don't let the telekinesis experiments with Cheerios fool you, this little lady can definitely focus on the bigger picture too. Nobody is going to push Matilda Wormwood around (and if you try she'll levitate you.) Quick-thinking and daring, Matilda has a wisdom well beyond her years. Her talents with telekinesis will come in super handy if there's ever a meteor or alien missile headed for Earth. Plus, just think of all the pranks she could play on the State Department.
Images: Giphy (5); YouTube (3)