Would she be an ideal candidate?
First Lady Michelle Obama is everywhere – far and wide. She has traveled extensively throughout the nation and across the seas; made enormous strides in her campaigning efforts for the Democratic Party; established a strong social media presence amongst millennials; and has significantly impacted America’s desire to “put our children’s interests first.” So what is her end game? Does Mrs. Obama have a political agenda that allows her to pursue personal ambitions while working to bolster her husband’s legacy?
Rumor about a political future for FLOTUS has been the topic of discussion throughout major television networks and in the homes of Americans for quite some time. Over the past seven years, Mrs. Obama has demonstrated herself to be an outstanding speaker. She has remained ubiquitous and prevalent amongst voters — even as the president’s ratings have been unfavorable. She has managed to embody style, grace and astuteness while working to improve the lives of children and families in America. Mrs. Obama’s liberal belief in the “power of government to transform lives” speaks to her idealistic views of the American government. She believes that we are a nation in which people “help each other through the agency of the government.”
The somberness with which she takes her role as President Obama’s partner in his work was exhibited when Mrs. Obama mentioned at a Democratic fundraiser that “there were those of you (who) joined us after the primaries, and you were there when Barack and I first took office — or I took office alongside — or he took office and I was there,”. Clearly, The First Lady understands just how integral her role is at the White House. Will the power of political influence and impact be something that she will be able to leave behind her?
The Senate looks like a great place for Mrs. Obama to begin her career in politics. She would certainly become the most distinguishable face in the Senate. Her fame and fundraising ability would command deference in a body that traditionally operates on seniority. Her home state of Illinois would, undoubtedly, be a superlative place for Mrs. Obama to begin her political career as she is familiar with the surrounding communities. She would be able to be close to her home and family as she campaigns. Their continued residence in Chicago should give Mrs. Obama a foothold in the state.
When she was asked whether she would run for president, Mrs. Obama replied, “One of the things you learn about yourself as you get older are what are your strengths and what are your interests. And for me, it’s the other stuff that is not being president. So I probably won’t run.” Great statement, however, “probably” does not sound like a definite answer to me. President Obama was asked at a town hall whether there was any way that his wife could be convinced to run. He replied “Let me tell you, there are three things that are certain in life. Death, taxes and Michelle is not running for president. That I can tell you.”
Whether Mrs. Obama plans to run is unclear, but she will be well positioned should she decides to jump in. She could represent the Democratic Party’s best chance to hold a desperately needed — and winnable — seat.
Jada Cash-Wilson is a Project Coordinator/Graduate Intern in the Department of Government & External Affairs and Community Impact and holds a BA in Political Philosophy. Before connecting with Wheelock, she worked as a Research Policy/Grant Analyst and liaison between the Mayor and City Council for a major city in the mid-west, and as a Legislative Aide for former U.S Senator Carl Levin. Jada aspires to someday make a positive difference in the world.