It's perhaps more likely than ever that the next U.S. president could be a woman. Following a history-making number of female candidates joining Congress this month, women in the 2020 presidential race have broken additional records less than three weeks into the new year.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York) became the latest woman to make a presidential bid when she announced her intentions on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert on Tuesday. Prior to her announcement, both Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) declared they were running, and more women seem poised to do the same.
Three women candidates is already enough to make history. The Los Angeles Times notes that the previous record for female Democratic presidential candidates is two; and according to CNN, this is the first time two female senators from the same party have run for president simultaneously.
The 2020 race will look far different from 2016, when the only female contender in the Democratic primary was Hillary Clinton, alongside five men. Republicans had only one woman, Carly Fiorina, in the party's 17-person lineup. Green Party candidate Jill Stein was the only high-profile female contender in the race besides Clinton.
The people of Twitter were here for the change.
It seems highly likely that more women will join Gillibrand, Gabbard, and Warren before long. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-California) has been going through the motions already: She's released a book (The Truths We Hold), begun a tour to support it, acknowledged that she's considering a run, and made comments that seem to imply that she's really going to jump in.
Then there's Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota). In November, the senator told ABC she was "still thinking about" entering the race. Then she seemed to indicate that she's closer than ever to making a decision during a conversation with MSNBC on Tuesday. "Big news today," Klobuchar told the network. "My family is on board, including my in-laws, showing some momentum."
Noting that she's had more electoral success in Minnesota than President Donald Trump, Klobuchar added, "It is important to have someone who has some heartland sensibility." According to The New York Times' election results, Klobuchar won all but two of her state's congressional districts in 2012, whereas Trump won more districts than Clinton in 2016 but lost the state overall.
The record amount of female presidential candidates is in line with the rising number of women entering politics in recent years. In 2018, more women were nominated and then elected to serve in Congress than any other time in history. According to the Pew Research Center, around a quarter of Congress is now female, including 102 members of the House and 25 senators. The vast majority are Democrats.
Clinton, who broke another record by becoming the first female nominee of a major U.S. political party in 2016, often praises women running for office these days. "There's been a lot of talk recently about whether our country is ready for women leaders," she told a crowd in Albany on Monday. Referring to female officials who were at the event, she continued: "I know many of you and can attest as to how smart, determined, effective, and — dare I say — likable you all are."