Presidential Progress

So this showed up in one of my social media feeds, today.

While the historical momentousness for the United States of Hillary Rodham Clinton winning the presidential race is obvious (as much as would be the historical catastrophe of a Trump victory, but that’s not the topic of this post), the cynic in me, at least in reaction to this cartoon, called my mind back to a Gallup poll carried out in 2007,1 on the relative desirability of presidential candidates from different demographics. The title of the article in which the poll appears focuses on Mormons and elderly presidential candidates, but the poll’s findings provide insights into how favourably (or not, as it turns out) several other demographics are perceived by the American voting public, or at least, by those polled. The following is just one excerpt:

Gallup

The cartoon is just a cartoon, but my mind is of the almost neurotically restless type that insists that nothing is ever ‘just’ anything. We could extend the image by a couple of panels, to include, for example, a ‘Middle Eastern-looking’ kid, an atheist kid, or an LGBTQ kid (not quite sure how those three would be depicted, but in artistic licence I trust).

The point is, celebrate by all means – what a milestone it would be for Hillary to return to the White House wearing the trousers, and what a message it would send to white girls across the nation – but remember that becoming POTUS is still something beyond the meritocratic reach of most demographics.

To be fair, it is the same with the highest office in many other industrialised nations, but at least in Europe, for example, belief in God is not a de facto requirement, and we have a small but visible and increasing number of minorities holding office. Provided Hillary wins, I won’t be one to pee on America’s parade. Progress at different paces is progress yet.

EDIT: In the interest of currency, I’m adding a link here to a similar Gallup poll I came across, but one that is much more recent. Voter attitudes are becoming increasingly tolerant, but the roster of candidates least likely to meet with support remains broadly the same.

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1 Jones, Jeffrey M. “Some Americans Reluctant To Vote For Mormon, 72-Year-Old Presidential Candidate.” Gallup.com. Gallup, Inc., 20 Feb. 2007. Web. 30 Jul. 2016.
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