The GOP keeps saying time and time again that they fear Michelle Obama could run for president. Could it happen?
There are few political figures who have been more adamant about anything as Michelle Obama has been adamant about not ever wanting to run for president. A lot of politicians have hedged on this question when asked about it, because most senators and governors, deep down, probably really do want to be president.
Michelle Obama Could Run For President? Nope
When asked about running over the years, the former first lady has left no wiggle room – she does not want to run for president.
But that hasn’t stopped lots of people, whether Democrats or Republicans, speculating that maybe, someday, she will.
A lot of Democrats have great admiration for the former first lady, who has always had higher popularity ratings than her husband, and wish she would swoop in and run for president.
And a lot of Republicans like to push conspiracy theories about there being some type of secret plan to switch out President Biden at the last minute and replace him with a different Democrat. In some scenarios, that’s Gavin Newsom, while in others, it’s Michelle. It’s cousin conspiracy theory that has since gained purchase on the right, that the Obamas are secretly running the Biden Administration.
The latest to make the Michelle switch argument is Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), who went on a podcast recently and laid out a possible scenario, which he called “most likely and most dangerous”:
“In August of 2024, the Democrat kingmakers jettison Joe Biden and parachute in Michelle Obama,” Cruz predicted. Who are these “kingmakers,” who would supposedly have the power to remove the sitting president and Democratic nominee, presumably against his will, and replace him with someone other than the vice president? Cruz does not say, although he likely remembers that, following the “Access Hollywood” tape scandal during the 2016 campaign, Republican power brokers had no way of removing Donald Trump from the ticket.
“I view this as a very serious danger,” Cruz says the possibility of Michelle Obama suddenly taking over the Democratic ticket three months before Election Day.
“Michelle Obama – number 1, you don’t infuriate African-American women which is a critical part of the constituency that Democrats are relying on to win. But number 2, you avoid the problem, if you pick from any of the four [of possible candidates Kamala Harris, Gavin Newsom, Pete Buttigieg, and Elizabeth Warren ] the other three are pissed … Michelle Obama, because she was first lady, has the ability to kind of parachute in above all four and say hey, we’re not picking among any of you.”
There are, needless to say, some holes in Cruz’s theory. To start off, once again, Michelle Obama has been consistently clear that she does not want any part of running for political office, including the presidency.
Cruz’s scenario also depends on Democratic power brokers approaching Michelle Obama, telling her “we need a Black woman, but it can’t be Kamala- are you in?,” and the former first lady setting aside her lifelong reluctance to run for office and say yes.
Also, this is part of the recent Republican tendency to imagine a malign force called “they,” who call all the shots and can, among their powers, switch out Democratic presidential nominees seemingly at their whim. It’s not clear who “they” actually is. The DNC? Some consortium of Democratic donors? Both are solidly behind the Biden-Harris reelection effort, and neither has the power, especially once Democratic primary voters have made their choice, to unilaterally choose a new presidential candidate.
Besides – in the scenario that President Biden was to decide in August of 2024 that he’s not up to running for a second term after all, he would almost certainly choose Harris, and no one else, as his successor. Should he become incapacitated, after all, Harris would assume the presidency. And whatever you think of Kamala Harris, she has run for president before and presumably actually wants the job. Which Michelle Obama does not.
Author Expertise and Experience
Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Stephen has authored thousands of articles over the years that focus on politics, technology, and the economy for over a decade. Follow him on X (formerly Twitter) at @StephenSilver, and subscribe to his Substack newsletter.