As I'm sure you're aware, the 2016 election has basically been a dumpster fire of epic proportions — so much that everyone has nearly overlooked that if Hillary Clinton should win, she'll be the first female president in American history. Of course, readers know that there's a strong tradition of female presidents in books.
I'm a longtime Hillary Clinton supporter for a multitude of reasons that have nothing to do with the fact that she's a woman. That being said, I'll be perfectly upfront about the fact that the idea of seeing the first woman president sworn into office moves me to tears. Despite the many victories women have had in the battle for equality, there are still a number of glass ceilings we haven't been able to crack, and acknowledging that a woman may be able to run the country as well as a man is one of them.
While I anxiously await election results in November, however, I can turn to a few books that have already envisioned a female leader of the free world. Sure, these women presidents aren't always perfect (in fact, sometime they're downright terrible), but at least they acknowledge that a woman could possible be capable of leading a country. (Please take note that a lot of these are fantasy or science fiction, because apparently it's that hard to imagine a female president in the real world.)
1. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
Admittedly, President Alma Coin of District 13 isn't exactly the poster child for great female presidents. Ruthless and manipulative, President Coin convinces Katniss to act as a symbol for the rebellion against the Capitol, but quickly shows her true colors by having Katniss's sister killed and threatening to hold a new Hunger Games with the children of the rich and powerful. Convinced Coin will be as cruel a ruler as President Snow, Katniss eventually has to take matters into her own hands. Let's not use President Coin as a shining example of female rule.
2. Eighteen Acres by Nicholle Wallace
This novel focuses on three powerful women in Washington, D.C.: Charlotte, the first female president of the United States; Melanie, her Chief of Staff; and Dale, an ambitious White House correspondent. Charlotte is trying to juggle her political ambition and powerful new role with maintaining some sort of relationship with her husband, while Melanie's job leaves her no time for a personal life. Oh, and Dale? Sleeping with Charlotte's husband, naturally. Sounds kind of familiar, doesn't it?
3. Remnants by K.A. Applegate
Bonus points for giving us the first African American female President of the United States in Janice Castleman! Of course, she's quickly killed off by the pesky asteroid that annihilated the entire earth, because OF COURSE SHE IS. Instead, we're left with her egotistical and power-hungry son. Still, for a brief and shining moment we were given a powerful woman of color running the United States and selflessly dying alongside her people, which is pretty cool.
4. Y: The Last Man by Brian K. Vaughan
Not only is a woman running the United States, but women are running pretty much everything...because every man on the planet save one has mysteriously died. Yup, in order for us to get women leaders, some strange disease had to kill off literally ever man in the world except our protagonist. Just let that sink in for a minute. Depressed yet? I sure am. And obviously the women that are left are running around trying to kill our protagonist in some sort of man-hating rage. Excuse me while I scream into a pillow for a bit.
5. Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank
Once again, we had to kill a bunch of people in order to get a woman in charge. A mistake has caused the United States and the Soviet Union to engage in a nuclear war, ravishing the country and killing everyone of importance in the President's cabinet. The only survivor is Josephine Vanbruuker-Brown, Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare, who becomes president. Technically the novel is actually about a Florida community who bands together in the face of war and destruction, but let's give Josephine her moment.