Four reasons the 53rd President of the United States will be Malia Obama (and one reason we should hope it isn’t).

The 47th President of the USA will be elected in 2016, when Barack Obama leaves the White House. Let’s guess that’s Clinton and she is a one-termer.

If that’s followed by three eight-year Presidents and two one-term Presidents, the 53rd POTUS will be elected in 2052.

By that time Malia Obama, who is seventeen now, will be 53. That’s a very Presidential age. (Her dad was elected at age 47, but the average age for Presidential accession is 54).

Screen Shot 2015-07-16 at 10.32.23 amHere’s why Malia Obama can be a contender.

1. Her dad will go down in history as the greatest Democratic President since Roosevelt. His progressive achievements – health care, gay marriage, and reversing a giant spike in the unemployment rate – far outweigh those of any other Democrat President in the last 50 years. For impact, they may even outweigh the achievements of Reagan.

2. When Malia Obama is prime presidential age, her father’s presidency will be far enough past to have serious mystique. About half of Americans who will vote in 2052 are minors or unborn now. Meanwhile, the people in positions of power will be the generation in their 20s when Barack Obama was elected, i.e. the people who voted for him and therefore keen to burnish his legacy.

Screen Shot 2015-07-16 at 9.53.25 am
Source: Wikipedia

There is precedent for kids who grow up in the white House to have political ambitions. The last young child in the white house was JFK Jr, who was set to enter politics when he died.

3. The Obama daughters look likely to go down the swottish, nerdy path. Their mum is a tiger mum in a way Laura Bush wasn’t. It seems likely an Ivy League university is in their future, and that can’t hurt. (The last seven US presidential elections have seen 12 candidates who went through Harvard and/or Yale and only two who didn’t). One wrinkle in this narrative is that Malia Obama is seemingly trying to get into film and TV. Of course, that and presidential ambition are far from mutually exclusive. (see Reagan, R.)

4. America is reaching its dynastic era. By 2040 that trend may have increased even further. America’s place in the world may well be threatened by China, and these decades of MTV, Nike, Facebook and Apple may be seen as an American golden age. Returning to that may seem very comfortable. Obama, M was literally born on the 4th of July. In an increasingly uncertain world, voting for her may feel a lot like voting for an America that reigns supreme.

(5. All this is assuming they don’t become basketball professionals. Their dad has a pretty decent game.  Their mum’s brother is a coach and analyst for ESPN. The Obama kids are tall!)

6. But there are serious reasons (other than basketball) why we should hope M.Obama isn’t running in 2040. America is increasingly a land of inherited opportunity. Barack Obama has pledged his presidency against that trend. If his reforms in the areas taxation and health endure, they should help ensure someone other than the child of privilege can become president.

His daughter’s gainful employment in some less consequential office than the White House would be a sign of his legacy.

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thomasthethinkengine

Thomas the Think Engine is the blog of a trained economist. It comes to you from Melbourne Australia.

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