Two unpopular men with a combined age of 158 years are on track to lead the two major parties’ presidential tickets. Yet the 2024 election campaign cycle also sees six women — two Democrats and four Republicans — uniquely positioned to affect the outcome.
Since fighting for and earning the right to vote in 1920, American women have made tremendous strides in winning state and federal offices. Suffrage movement leaders could never have imagined the power and influence these six women could have on a presidential election just 100 years later.
Vice President Kamala Harris: Age 59
Given President Joe Biden’s advanced age, Harris is widely perceived as a drag on his reelection prospects. She is burdened with an average favorable/unfavorable rating of 37 percent to 55 percent, slightly worse than or tied with the president’s underwater favorable rating, which averages out at 40 percent to 56 percent.
Therefore, as 2024 unfolds, expect the Republican rallying cry of “Vote for Biden, elect Harris” to reach a crescendo. But if powerful Democratic forces manage to dump the underperforming Biden-Harris ticket, there is a good chance that Harris will launch her own presidential bid. As the incumbent, Vice President Harris would have a built-in advantage with the non-white and predominantly female Democratic base in what would be a wild and crowded primary. In the end, expect Harris to remain on the 2024 ticket, either in first or second place.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer: Age 52
Whitmer’s 2022 reelection made her a term-limited major-state governor who shines as a leading 2028 presidential prospect. This means that in 2024, she will be a sought-after media surrogate for the Biden-Harris ticket, tasked with delivering Michigan’s 15 electoral votes. But (big “but”) if there is a shakeup in the ticket, Whitmer becomes “the woman to watch” as a potential presidential or vice presidential candidate. Yet even assuming the Biden-Harris ticket is secure, Whitmer is all systems go as a Democratic Party power player and fundraising force for the future.
Rep. Elise Stefanik: Age 39
First elected to Congress from northern New York at age 30, Stefanik is the third-ranking House Republican and the House Republican Conference chairwoman since 2021.
She is an uber-ambitious, no-drama Trump loyalist who recently said, “I speak to President Trump a lot,” and is known to be positioning herself as Trump’s “safe” vice presidential nominee.
On Nov. 9, 2022, in what could be considered shameless self-promotion bordering on Trump idolatry — Stefanik preemptively endorsed Trump for president ahead of his official Nov. 15 announcement.
Making herself indispensable to the former president, on or off the House floor, Stefanik is often first to the microphones defending, justifying or rationalizing Trump’s behavior, no matter how egregious.
As a Harvard graduate (which Trump loves), Stefanik’s accession to the ticket depends on Trump remaining a force and winning the presidential nomination. Whatever happens next, the intelligent, politically savvy congresswoman knows never to overshadow Trump, a fact that favors her selection as his running mate.
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem: Age 51
Is Noem trying too hard to be Trump’s vice president?
When then-President Trump visited Mount Rushmore on July 3, 2020, Gov. Noem gave him a model of the iconic presidential monument, adding Trump’s face alongside those of Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt.
While elevating Trump’s ego, Noem is not shy about using attention-getting tactics to boost her chances of potentially being named his running mate. Not only did the twice-elected governor endorse Trump with much fanfare during his recent South Dakota visit, but The Hill reported that Noem had she would serve as his running mate “in a heartbeat.”
Recently, Noem raised her national profile by starring in ads promoting job opportunities in South Dakota. While comically suited up as a plumber, electrician and welder, was she really auditioning for vice president to an audience of one?
Noem’s camera-ready Barbie doll face appeals to Trump, and he might think she could help him win female voters. However, Noem, who has a propensity to attract drama and could outshine the former president, is an untested, risky choice who might instead be the second coming of Sarah Palin.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene: Age 49
Known in the media as MTG, she styles herself as the “face of the House GOP.” She is at least a media magnet, a leading Trump promoter, defender and apologist. She has Trump on speed dial. Depending on one’s perspective, Greene is either a headline-changing MAGA star who raises millions for the party, or an embarrassing national punchline.
MTG might run for higher office or House leadership, as she is seemingly gaining political momentum and power. Or Trump could tap her as his running mate.
On the downside, she will inevitably compete with him for attention and potentially cause problems by mouthing off on the campaign trail. If chosen, Democrats will point to MTG as another reason the 77-year-old former president must be defeated.
Former South Carolina Gov. and UN Ambassador Nikki Haley: Age 51
Haley is the only declared presidential candidate on this list. She is in the spotlight after three national polls showed her defeating President Biden. Haley’s new momentum is based on her stellar breakout performance at the Aug. 28 debate, which moved her to third place. Still, Trump leads his former UN ambassador with an eye-popping poll average of 59 to 5 percent.
It is improbable that Haley will be Trump’s running mate, making her future uncertain, with many questions. Will Haley continue to speak her version of truth to power about Trump’s failings in the next round of GOP debates? Could Haley become an anti-Trump media pundit? Or will she fall in line and support Trump if he tops the GOP ticket?
For now, Haley is a 2024 wildcard, and her long, complex relationship with Trump is one to watch.
These six women bound for center stage in 2024 could not be more different. Their only common ground is a “relationship” with Donald Trump, who either loves or loathes them. Among other things, this keeps them all relevant and influential.
Myra Adams served on the creative team of two GOP presidential campaigns in 2004 and 2008.
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