Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

The history of female political candidates, according to Kristen Schaal

Kristen Schaal's time-capsule video (Screenshot: Comedy Central)

Back in 2008, when presidential election season was a relatively tame affair, when the announcement of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin on the Republican ticket seemed like a rash decision… those were good days, right? It was also Kristen Schaal’s first appearance on The Daily Show With Jon Stewart, in a March 13 segment called “Dear Madame President.”


This segment fell roughly two weeks after Super Tuesday, when Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were the frontrunners in the Democratic field, each having clinched a handful of primaries. It was still anybody’s game, and not even Nate Silver—the FiveThirtyEight statistician, who was still blogging under the nom d’internet “Poblano”—had become the prognosticator of choice for nervous liberals hoping their candidate would win.

Schaal’s debut segment is both an ode to female politicians and an acknowledgement that not much has changed over the last two centuries for women running for political office. She goes back generation after generation, sending time-capsule messages to (failed) future female presidents like Geraldine Ferraro and Susan B. Anthony. Present-day Schaal notes that with a history like this, the United States won’t see a female president until the year 2300, when the word “bitch” might not even exist anymore.

Eight years later, Schaal is at the Democratic National Convention, trying to make sure that her Daily Show prediction is wrong.


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