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Would Democrats actually vote for Michelle Obama?

Michelle Obama said she was “terrified” about the 2024 election. Credit: Getty

January 30, 2024 - 6:00pm

Rumours are once again circulating among figures on the American Right that Michelle Obama could run for president.

A New York Post op-ed cited anonymous sources to claim that former president Barack Obama has polled donors and is plotting behind the scenes to have his wife replace Joe Biden on the ballot. The incumbent president will supposedly announce that he’s dropping out of the race just before the Democratic National Convention in August, where Michelle Obama will be nominated to run in his place.

We’ve heard this all before. Each time the Democrats face a popularity crisis, the fantasy of a second Obama in the White House reemerges. Trump’s victory in 2016 sparked a wave of therapeutic speculation from the media about Mrs. Obama’s political future — despite her repeated denials of any ambition towards high office.

The latest round of gossip concerning the former first lady comes amid poor polling for Biden — numbers that have Democratic strategists worried. Voters are concerned about his age, and younger Americans are sceptical of his support for Israel in its war against Hamas. Recent polls are projecting a close race in November, with Trump outperforming Biden in several key states. 

Michelle Obama offers a salient solution to the Democrats’ popularity problem. She was the top choice among party voters for the next president in a recent Center Square poll, beating Biden, Kamala Harris and a handful of other prominent Democrats. 

Obama said she was “terrified” of what could happen in the 2024 election during a recent podcast appearance, adding that the race keeps her awake at night. The statement struck some commentators as a sign that she was preparing to enter the limelight in advance of a surprise presidential bid. 

The public has long speculated about a Michelle Obama candidacy. She ranks 372nd on YouGov’s list of the most popular people of all time — right between Frederick Douglass and Socrates — and enjoys a 60% favourability rating from the same pollster. She was the most admired woman of 2020, according to Gallup, and enjoys the name recognition of a first lady without carrying the baggage that comes with political experience. 

During her husband’s time in office, Michelle focused on childhood obesity and helped get a bill passed that regulated the nutritional standards of school meals and made free lunches available to more students — for which she received some heat from schoolchildren. She also built a vegetable garden on the White House lawn, then reinforced it with steel and cement a month ahead of the 2016 election to deter any future presidents from making alterations. 

Since her husband left the White House, Michelle has made speeches at three Democratic National Conventions and has been outspoken about the country’s legacy of racism and her own experiences of discrimination. She has enjoyed flattering media coverage, including three Vogue front covers and a New York Times article celebrating her “rippled and gleaming” arms. 

The former first lady has previously said she doesn’t want to run for president, and that she reluctantly entered the political realm only because of her husband. 

America’s quest for a female president has thus far been unsuccessful. Hillary Clinton, who nearly won the presidency in a close 2016 race against Trump, blamed her loss on sexism, as did many in the media. But some political operatives view female candidates, most recently Nikki Haley, as an asset rather than a liability — including, if recent reports are to be believed, Barack Obama and his advisers. 

“Our leaders matter. Who we select, who speaks for us, who holds that bully pulpit — it affects us in ways that sometimes I think people take for granted,” Michelle said in her recent podcast appearance. “We cannot take this democracy for granted. And sometimes I worry that we do.”


is UnHerd’s US correspondent.

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D Walsh
D Walsh
5 months ago

Please Allah make this happen

Hope and change ect LOL

Al Hicks
Al Hicks
5 months ago

Michelle or Nikki Haley would be a beautiful alternative to the awful trump and awful Biden!

D Walsh
D Walsh
5 months ago
Reply to  Al Hicks

With options like that. It’s clear now that the evil empire is doomed. Good

Jae
Jae
5 months ago
Reply to  Al Hicks

For crying out loud, let’s stop voting based on gender or skin color.

Right-Wing Hippie
Right-Wing Hippie
5 months ago

She also built a vegetable garden on the White House lawn, then reinforced it with steel and cement a month ahead of the 2016 election to deter any future presidents from making alterations. 
So her qualifications are:
*Married the right guy
*Planted a vegetable garden
My mother’s done both of those things, plus she makes a mean pumpkin pie. Vote for my mom, 2024!

William Brand
William Brand
5 months ago

These are the qualifications for a beard not for a real president. Obama plans that she will be his obedient puppet doing all the work and having none of the power but fully accountable to the people.

Robert Routledge
Robert Routledge
5 months ago

To keep herself busy she could write another book and travel the world to sell it! In the mean time her husband can run the country as he has been doing for the last few years

Martin M
Martin M
5 months ago

Which Party will your mom be representing? I have obviously never met her, but I could pretty much guarantee I would vote for her in preference to Trump.

Graham Stull
Graham Stull
5 months ago

R-W H, it may come to voting for your mom. If we could get her on the ballot, she might be the best candidate in the race.

Kurt Biedlingmaier
Kurt Biedlingmaier
5 months ago
Reply to  Graham Stull

I’d choose someone at random from the New York telephone directory before I’d trust Mrs. Obama. She has, to quote Jesse Jackson, “never run anything but her mouth”. Being married to a former president doesn’t make you qualified for president any more than being married to a plumber makes you a plumber

Andrew F
Andrew F
5 months ago

So Obamas wife was most admired woman in 2020.
Admired for what exactly?
Can you imagine husband of Merkel ever being voted most admired man?
At least he is/was scientist of some renown.

Nad Man
Nad Man
5 months ago

She could easily be our Prime Minister in Canada. Perfectly qualified.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
5 months ago

Michelle Obama might be able to win this one election in 2024, but it would change none of the long term trends. Globalism would still be failing to stop a rising tide of populism and lower levels. China and Russia would still be preparing for a second Cold War. Michelle Obama would be at the head of the same fractious Democratic coalition with the same conflicts of an establishment trying to coexist with an increasingly unhinged progressive wing. We would still be reaping the consequences of decades of identity politics. States would still be defying the federal government. Most things are beyond any one person, even the president’s, control.
Michelle Obama would be trying to fix a bullet wound with a band-aid. If it accomplished anything, it would only be to kick the can a little further down the road. It would also be a colossal risk because if she lost, it would be a much harder blow than if Biden lost.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
5 months ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

It wouldn’t be Michelle Obama pulling any strings though. She’d be a dancing marionette with the strings held by her husband.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
5 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

And Biden isn’t?

El Uro
El Uro
5 months ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

China and Russia would still be preparing for a second Cold War.
Preparing? Cold? Sorry, Steve…

John Kang
John Kang
5 months ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

This would serve the Obama’s right for their never-ending self adoration and hubris. Unfortunately it’s going to take the entire country down

Susan Grabston
Susan Grabston
5 months ago

No shock. This story has been doing the rounds for months.

Benedict Waterson
Benedict Waterson
5 months ago

Makes sense, because the current political divide in America is defined largely by the divide between people who have reviewed Michelle Obama’s autobiography on Goodreads, and those who haven’t

William Brand
William Brand
5 months ago

Its the old story. Term limited politicians try to get around term limit laws by running their wife. It is assumed that the wife will be a rubber stamp for her husband. Obama is on his third term. He wants a fourth term of the two that he is allowed. The last time he chose a senile idiot as beard allowing Obama all the power with none of the legal responsibility. Biden’s cabinet takes their orders from Obama not Biden. The theoretical president is incapable of even reading a teleprompter correctly. Sometimes the staff walk back his speeches if he gets off script. One word from Obama and the cabinet will execute a 25th amendment removal of Biden. The problem facing Obama is that makes K Harriss a real incumbent president and automatic Democratic nominee. Obama must replace her late in her term, before she can cover herself with incumbency. The move will be at the Democratic convention. I hope Obama chafes at the emasculating role of First Gentleman. It’s so much less fun than being the grey eminence behind Biden’s throne. He had the politicians dream of power without accountability. Now he will have to take some responsibility. His wife may not be the complacent rubber stamp that he assumes. She may get ideas above her wifely station. She may, horrors, think that she is the real president on occasion. She dreads all the killing hours of work involved in the presidency. As Obama’s beard, she will have to do all of this ceremonial and bureaucratic work while Obama relaxes, makes policy and tells her what to do. This is not a recipe for a happy wife.

Martin M
Martin M
5 months ago
Reply to  William Brand

How many Heads of Government or Heads of State were succeeded by their wives? Daughters occasionally succeed fathers in Asia, but the only wives I can think of are Isabel Peron and Christina Kirchner (Eva Peron, had a lot of political influence, but didn’t hold office).

Russell Hamilton
Russell Hamilton
5 months ago
Reply to  Martin M

Sirimavo Bandaranaike in Sri Lanka?

Martin M
Martin M
5 months ago

Good point.

El Uro
El Uro
5 months ago

Michelle will be the last nail in the coffin

Stephen Walsh
Stephen Walsh
5 months ago

So about as popular as two blokes who died 129 and 2,400 years ago respectively, though presumably a bit more popular than a half dead president. The Democrats would be more honest if they just ran Jill Biden for her second term.

Martin M
Martin M
5 months ago
Reply to  Stephen Walsh

If a bloke died two and a half thousand years ago, and people still remember his name, he probably did something quite momentous.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
5 months ago

Would they? Yes. They would vote for a stump so long as it had a D by its name. One might say the same for Repubs, but they’re more likely to stay home when presented with unpalatable choices.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
5 months ago

Unfortunately, Biden is the only Dem Trump can realistically beat in an election.

Peter B
Peter B
5 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Surely can’t be true. Most quite possibly. But I can’t see someone like AOC carrying the Mid-West and South.
Still waiting for you guys to come up with some half-decent candidates (on either side). Not that we have too much to brag about here in the UK …
The increasingly hereditary/nepotistic nature of US politics is a real disappointment. They put all that effort into kicking us out for such bad habits – and then they do stuff like this (Kennedys, Clintons, Bushes, now the Obamas ?). All the while preaching DEI to the rest of us !

Buena Vista
Buena Vista
5 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

Actually, we came up with a very good candidate. You have probably heard of him: Ron DeSantis.
Unfortunately, the Uniparty and their media shills don’t care for him, so he’s been brushed aside.

Martin M
Martin M
5 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

The Bushes weren’t so bad….

Carlos Danger
Carlos Danger
5 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Really? Think back to the 2020 Democratic presidential primaries. Why did Joe Biden win? Because he was the only hope (out of the motley crew running) that the Democrats had of beating Donald Trump. And the other possibilities this time are even worse.
This talk of Michelle Obama, silly as it is, comes from the same assessment. If not Joe Biden, who?

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
5 months ago
Reply to  Carlos Danger

Sure. This is fair. Maybe I overstated the case. Michelle Obama would wipe the table with him though, unless she is a complete disaster on the campaign trail.

Flibberti Gibbet
Flibberti Gibbet
5 months ago
Reply to  Carlos Danger

Think back to the 2020 Democratic presidential primaries. Why did Joe Biden win? Because he was the only hope

Have you forgotten Tulsi Gabbard?
I wonder if the perverse group mechanics that created Prime Minster Liz Truss instead of PM Kemi Badenoch is also responsible for the Democrats choosing Biden over Gabbard.

AC Harper
AC Harper
5 months ago

I thought at the time that Tulsi Gabbard could work well to reduce the political polarisation in the USA… so obviously she had to go.

AC Harper
AC Harper
5 months ago

I’m going to go against the flow here and point out that many people (especially in retrospect) thought Barack Obama was not a great President. If Biden is the sock puppet for Barack Obama’s third term then Obama is still not a great President.
So people thinking Michelle Obama might make a good fourth term for her husband requires them to prioritise hope over realism.

Martin M
Martin M
5 months ago
Reply to  AC Harper

Obama might not have been a “great” President, but he was certainly a “good” President.

ChilblainEdwardOlmos
ChilblainEdwardOlmos
5 months ago
Reply to  Martin M

For the bailed out banks…

Martin M
Martin M
5 months ago

That was a necessary thing to do.

Jae
Jae
5 months ago
Reply to  Martin M

Here’s the shortlist of what your “good” president accomplished while in office:

He weaponised the IRS to go after citizens and his political opponents, he spied on the press (James Rosen), he allowed terrorists (Hezbollah) to sell drugs in the US to appease the Iranians for the disastrous Iran deal, he set up gun running in Mexico which led to the murder of a young border guard (Fast and Furious), he money laundered in the name of being green for Democrat funding (Solyndra), carried out disastrous foreign policy causing more war which set the Middle East on fire, he lied about healthcare (if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor – you couldn’t), fomented racial divide with minority communities who burned down their cities, devalued and demoralized law enforcement with police being shot execution style in their squad cars, all the while overseeing one of the worst economic recoveries in history, telling everyone “2% growth is your new normal”, and manufacturing jobs are gone forever.

How do you think we got Trump?

Martin M
Martin M
5 months ago
Reply to  Jae

I know how the US got Trump. It was because the Democrats were stupid enough to run Hillary against him.

Jae
Jae
5 months ago
Reply to  AC Harper

Being realistic has never been a trait of the left. Emotions trump everything.

Robert Harris
Robert Harris
5 months ago
Reply to  Jae

Emotions AND ideology.

Will K
Will K
5 months ago

The quality that Democrats require in a Presidential candidate used to be “Not Trump”. Now, that has widened to “Not Trump and Not Biden”.

Carlos Danger
Carlos Danger
5 months ago

This tired trope? No, Michelle Obama is not going to run for president. No. No. No.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
5 months ago

I can only say this. We need you in office Mrs Michelle Obama former First Lady Of The United States Of America. And Trump should be in jail starting with the taxes he didn’t pay. And he should not be on the ballot anyway. He has criminal records. Oh others have went to jail for not paying there taxes and a smaller amount. Think it could be you going next. Take him off the ballot and follow the Constitution.

Martin M
Martin M
5 months ago

I’m sure she would make a good President, but I have never heard her say she wants the job.

Jae
Jae
5 months ago
Reply to  Martin M

No, she wouldn’t. Her husband didn’t. Only people who are clueless about his record think he did.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
5 months ago

The enticing title was “Would Democrats actually vote for Michelle Obama?” So I read it but am now no wiser on that subject than I was before. It seems a pretty vacuous piece to me.

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
5 months ago

Sounds like it will be Hillary all over again. A slam-dunk for Trump.

Mike Michaels
Mike Michaels
5 months ago

Best man for the job.

David Kingsworthy
David Kingsworthy
5 months ago

No, she is merely helping the anti-Trump (anti-Repubs) fear+hysteria campaign.

Jae
Jae
5 months ago

Is she “Terrified” in her 12 million dollar mansion or her 8 million dollar mansion surrounded by body guards and “White folks”. Because God forbid she’d ever go out and do anything constructive for black communities. Her husband never did while in office, and she’s just a marionette for him. There will be no Hopey Changey thing going on then.

Flibberti Gibbet
Flibberti Gibbet
5 months ago

The Carpool Karaoke episode will put 1/2 million votes in the Michelle Obama pot.
If Trump tries the same that will transfer another million votes to Obama.

Will K
Will K
5 months ago

DemoRats will vote for anyone who is not-Trump. You would think they would have learned better after three years of Biden, but TDS is very powerful.

John Kang
John Kang
5 months ago

The Obama’s aren’t known as being hard workers. The switch either just prior or at the convention to Michelle works perfectly for them.
When the Obamas become president they will simply need to wish it and it will be made so by their slavish white liberal staff
Any critic will be tarred as racist, sexist, or probably both.
Donald Trump’s head will explode. And he will be found guilty on all 91 counts. He will lose his business and his children their legacy.
The Deep state keeps being the Deep state
China can continue their ascendancy to World Domination unabated. Taiwan is toast
The Middle East will explode
Our domestic politics will be one of rancorous tribal score settling and tooth and Claw fighting
But the first woman and the first black president all rolled into one is absolutely priceless
The policies that will come from the White House you simply will not be able to criticize otherwise you risk public defenestration because you’re a racist.
The Democrats couldn’t have scripted a better scenario.