A remarkable day for women in presidential politics

When was the last time Democrats and Republicans both had a woman running for president?

Carly Fiorina’s presidential announcement video opens with a shot of her watching another presidential announcement video, Hillary Clinton’s.

In the next shot, Fiorina clicks off the remote, looks archly into the camera, and says: “Our founders never intended us to have a professional political class.”

There was nothing very imaginative or interesting about Fiorina’s video to kick off her candidacy for president Monday (though I do admit a small measure of disappointment that it wasn’t as campy as her infamous demon sheep ad from the 2010 U.S. Senate race). At this point in the race, the GOP candidates haven’t descended into bitter infighting and are unified behind the "Beat Clinton" banner.

And though the video was admirably short, it was still long enough for me to have a near out-of-body moment when I realized that something remarkable just had occurred: Both of the major political parties now have female presidential candidates -- in the same race.

The last time that happened was never.

Republican and Democratic women have run for president before, of course -- Elizabeth Dole in 2000Carol Moseley Braun in 2004; Clinton in 2008; Michele Bachmann in 2012 -- but never at the same time.

Now I don’t think even Fiorina believes she has much of a chance of winning the GOP nomination, as she has never held elective office. While voters pretend to like “outsiders,” they rarely elect them. Plus, her rocky tenure, and subsequent firing, as the chief executive of Hewlett Packard continues to haunt her.

Still, more than 4.2 million Californians didn’t care about either when Fiorina ran against California Sen. Barbara Boxer in 2010. Even if she lost, Fiorina can boast more votes than Mike Huckabee -- who is expected to enter the race Tuesday -- who won reelection as Arkansas governor in 2002 with fewer than half a million votes.

And while it is conceivable that November 2016 could be a contest between two women, it’s not very likely unless another Republican woman (one not named Bachmann) enters the race. Still, this is an important milestone for women in politics. And hopefully not an anomaly.

Twitter: @marielgarzaLAT

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