Did Nixon Predict The First Woman President?

by Pamela J. Hobart

History is littered with predictions that never came true, but once in a while someone really hits the nail on the head. If Hillary Clinton wins the 2016 presidential election, then it would be the case that Richard Nixon accurately predicted the first woman president way back while he was still in office himself. In a 1969 speech to members of the League of Women Voters widely syndicated via the Associated Press, Nixon claimed that a woman would become president of the United States within 50 years. A little back-of-the-envelope math verifies that we are within just a few years of that time limit. Well done, Mr. Nixon.

To put Nixon's prediction into context, at the time he made it, there were only three women who had ever run for president of the United States. Each of those women was on a non-major party ticket, too. According to a Gallup poll (via FiveThirtyEight), in 1971, only 66 percent of Americans said they would vote for a woman president. That number has thankfully crept up towards 100 percent by now, but it still takes a strong woman candidate to win votes, since most voters are not simply voting along gender lines. So, whatever happens tonight, Clinton will have had a truly historic showing as the first woman to secure a general election bid.

This satisfying historical tidbit comes to us via Shelby Grad's now-viral tweet. It's all the more interesting, given that Richard Nixon was sexist. Nixon nearly tops Bustle's list of least feminist Presidents for holding backwards views regarding abortion and race. Nixon seems to have supported feminist initiatives merely strategically (and disingenuously), while personally holding their advocates in low regard.

To be fair, that Nixon signed Title IX into existence certainly isn't nothing — this important piece of legislation makes illegal gender-based discrimination in sports programs that receive federal funding. But Nixon is an unpopular President for plenty of other reasons.

Better (or worse) yet, Nixon had sexist advice for Hillary Clinton specifically back in 1992 when she was the prospective First Lady to a still-campaigning Bill Clinton. He warned her "If the wife comes through as being too strong and too intelligent, it makes the husband look like a wimp." It doesn't seem like Hillary Clinton has taken this advice to heart — the Clintons are a power couple, and a has-been like Nixon couldn't change their dynamic. Furthermore, if Hillary had taken Nixon's advice, then maybe she wouldn't be about to make his old prediction come true as the likely first woman president!

Image: Giphy