Who Can Stop Trump? These Women Are The Ones Who Could End His Presidency
A Hillary Clinton win in the 2016 election would have spelled a different story for women in the United States and around the world. Instead of attacks on reproductive and immigrant rights from the White House, there could have been proposals on paid family leave and living wages, and potentially comprehensive immigration policy — but that's not what happened. Donald Trump won — and yet though it's not the end of the story. A Trump presidency has inspired women across the country to fight even harder for their rights, and in that struggle, there are a few standout women who could end Trump's presidency.
Much of the collective energy this year has been spent trying to maintain the rights that have been afforded to women in the past, fighting the Trump administration in court and in Congress. But it's time to look forward, too. The 2018 midterms are coming up already, and women will be key to the Democrats winning majorities in the House and Senate. 2020 will be here before you know it, and there are women contenders to watch, support, and encourage.
And meanwhile Trump's agenda can continue to be blocked in Congress, if not officially ending his tenure, then by limiting the effect his presidency can have. These are the women who could end Trump's presidency, and they need your support now and in the years to come.
Sen. Kamala Harris
The most straightforward way to end the Trump presidency is by beating him at the ballot box (again, just this time with the Electoral College in line too). There are some big-name Democratic women on the short list for 2020 nominee.
One of them is Sen. Kamala Harris. Coming from the anti-Trump hotbed of California, Harris, first elected in 2016, has a lot of leeway to speak out against the president. She has been doing so on Twitter and beyond, and other Democrats are noticing. Her signing on to Sen. Bernie Sander's Medicare-for-All bill could possibly endear her to his supporters, too.
Harris has not expressed interest in a 2020 run, but she hasn't denied it either. In a recent interview, she laughed at the idea and said she didn't even know what she was having for dinner.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand
Another big name on the short list for 2020 is New York's Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. She was appointed to fill Clinton's seat in 2009, and she could follow in her predecessor's footsteps, running for the highest office in the country.
Having evolved from a Blue Dog Democrat to one of the chamber's most liberal members could be a disadvantage, or an asset. She comes from the more conservative upstate New York and may be able to connect with Midwestern voters who didn't show up for Clinton last year. She's ruled out a run for 2020, but it's not too late for her to change her mind.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren
For the most progressive voters in the Democratic party, Sen. Elizabeth Warren has been their go-to woman candidate. She would be a strong candidate to ensure Trump's done after four years. And that's likely still the case for many as she is perhaps best prepared to make the Democrats' economic argument — she was an economics professor at Harvard, after all. Now she's taking progressive policies mainstream, and talking about how race and other factors work into the equation for economic fairness too.
2020 could be her year, too — if she wants it. Currently she's responded to interviewers by focusing on her reelection and work in the Senate, something she said should take priority. Warren told WGBH's Greater Boston:
We can't be a party and we can't be a nation that says, "Horse race to horse race, let’s just see what happens every four years and let's get all excited about speculating who’s going to be in the race in four years."
Other Democratic Women Running In 2020
These three women previously mentioned are at the top of what may grow to be a very long list of women who could beat Trump at the ballot box. There are at least 11 women on a list that The Washington Post prepared back in January — and other sources put the number even higher. More women leaders will continue to rise to the forefront between now and the beginning of campaign season.
Among other names that have been floated are Sens. Amy Klobuchar from Minnesota, Tammy Duckworth from Illinois, and Tammy Baldwin from Wisconsin. All are elected officials from the Midwest, an area where Democrats performed poorly in 2016.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has been a controversial figure even within the Democratic Party for a while now. But as a Democratic heavyweight, she's proven effective on passing the economic stimulus, pushing a minimum wage increase, and saving the Affordable Care Act. And with Trump in the White House, she has shown an ability to negotiate with him. That will remain important to slow his agenda, but her real potential for ending the presidency comes in 2018.
If and when Democrats win back the House, Pelosi will have the knowledge and experience to pull all levers of government to stop Trump. That could be via impeachment or something else (she's not giddy to impeach).
Either way, there's no doubt she's the best candidate for the job to stop Trump's agenda within the halls of government, whether it comes from impeachment or is countered legislatively.
Sen. Susan Collins
It's not just Democratic women who have worked to stop Trump. He's only as powerful as Congress lets him be, and there are key Republicans who have worked to impede his will on the party.
Sen. Susan Collins is the main one, regularly putting her neck on the line for votes against health care, for example. Advocates do say she can do better, and should be pressured to vote more in line with her constituency. She also can help empower the Russia investigation in her role on the Senate Intelligence Committee and work to pass legislation that keeps Trump from pardoning his former campaign officials.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski
Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski is also a vital ally in the Senate for the next couple of years at least. She's shown she can win a write-in campaign against right-wing, pro-Trump Republicans. Critics say she needs to be pressured to oppose him more, but of all the Republicans, she's one of the best bets on voting against Trump's policies.
In the past she's had a clear head when it comes to the Russia investigation, and she, like Collins, can be a Republican ally in preventing Trump from firing Mueller or pardoning his supporters.
Now, I'm not suggesting she run again. What Clinton could do is use the fact that she beat Trump to rub him the wrong way. She can speak out against his policies publicly, which both inspires her followers and really bothers Trump.
If he continues criticizing her, it could arguably keep him from focusing on destroying women's health, limiting abortion access, and more. Distracting Trump could lead to even more impotent leadership. And it seems she's happy to be the people's champion during the rest of his term, whether on Twitter or through various speeches.
Women's March Organizers
The most immediate and overwhelming response to Trump's election was the Women's March the day after the inauguration. Keeping the momentum going has proven difficult for these impressive organizers. Inviting Bernie Sanders to the Women's Convention upset many Hillary supporters, and the divides in the Democratic Party will remain a challenge.
But for there to regularly be people on the street opposing the Trump administration, there will need to be a group organizing to make it happen. The Women's March organizers remain some of the most vocal voices of the Resistance, and they'll be needed during the coming elections and in opposition of his agenda. They can get people to turn out when it matters most, protesting at key moments for the Russia investigation, a possible impeachment vote, or driving turnout in the coming elections.
Pantsuit Nation Candidates
Millions of women inspired by Hillary Clinton's historic candidacy are doing more than working on campaigns — they're running as candidates. In 2017 there aren't many races to watch, but what you'll see could be a sign of what's to come next year. There are women candidates showing up on local and state ballots at levels never previously seen. In both Virginia and New Jersey, who are holding prominent state-level races, there are more women candidates this year than ever before.
Their wins can make a difference in the carrying out of Trump's policies at the local level, lessening their impact on women and people of color. And when it comes to the state races, more Democrat wins will be vital to ensuring that Congressional districts are not gerrymandered again in 2020.
Among the women who are vital to ending Trump's presidency are those of you reading this. Yes — you. Make sure to play an active role in the Resistance, registering and voting in local, state, and national races.
Run for office yourself if need be. Turn out to protests and marches. Volunteer for campaigns and talk to your friends and family like Michelle Obama would. Knock on doors, make phone calls to voters, and write letters to the editor. Without you, none of the women on this list have a chance of stopping Trump. Make sure they know you're with them, and pressure them to act to stop the president and his agenda.
It might seem like there's a long way to go at this point, but the inflection point for change could be happening at this very moment. Make sure you do your part to make it happen.
Editor's Note: This op-ed does not reflect the views of BDG Media and is part of a larger, feminist discourse on today's political climate.