OK, I’ll stick my neck out — Meghan Markle is never, ever going to be president of the United States of America. If I’m wrong, kill me. I mean it. No grudges — set me on fire, chop off my head, take me out with a drone missile marked #Loveislove. I wouldn’t want to live.
We hear this week, through amusingly dubious sources, that Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex is ‘considering running’ for the White House ‘if Joe Biden rules out a second term’. The British tabloids are talking about ‘mounting speculation’ which is what they say when they know they are publishing gibberish for clicks. One ‘senior Labour figure’, apparently somebody who worked for Tony Blair and who has ‘strong links to Washington’, told the Mail on Sunday Ms Markle was ‘networking among senior Democrats with a view to building a campaign’. People who worked for the Blair administration have never made anything up, have they?
If successful, she would become the first woman president and the second mixed-race president after Barack Obama. At 43, which is how old she’d be in January 2025, she would also be the second youngest after Teddy Roosevelt.
Except she won’t, because Meghan Markle is not going to be president. Let’s be clear, I’ve no doubt that she likes the idea and she is a force with which to be reckoned. A friend of hers told Vanity Fair that she did not want to renounce her American citizenship when she married Harry in order to leave open the possibility of a future in US politics.
Ever since she was a girl, she’s been a formidable political operator. Back in 2015, long before she met her husband Prince Harry, Meghan gave a speech to the United Nations in her role as ‘UN women’s advocate for political participation and leadership’. She told the assembled crowd that, at the tender age of 11, she had taken exception to a television commercial for dishwashing liquid which said: ‘women all over America are fighting greasy pots and pans.’ She wrote to various female grandees, including Hillary Clinton, to alert them to this despicable corporate sexism and received letters of encouragement in response. She wrote to Proctor & Gamble demanding that they change the word ‘women’ to ‘people’. Exhibiting an early flair for publicity, she also got Nickelodeon to cover her campaign. Proctor and Gamble duly folded.
Meghan is, then, a lifelong feminist, fervently committed to the cause. As she told the UN, ‘we remind women that their involvement matters, that they need to become active in their communities, in their local governments as well as the highest parliamentary positions, it is just imperative. Women need a seat at the table, they need an invitation to be seated there and in some cases, where this isn’t available, well then, you know what, then they need to create their own table.’ You go, sis.
But Meghan isn’t going to be president for the same reason Hillary Clinton didn’t become president. The more people see her, the less they like. You can put that down to sexism, but you could also just say that she is deeply annoying. People don’t like her ghastly Disneyfied morality, her grating self-righteousness, her narcissism dressed up as egalitarian radicalism.
Following last week’s big Oprah interview, Meghan and Harry’s approval rating plummeted by 15 percentage points among British viewers. Americans, and younger people, may be more patient and well-disposed towards Meghan’s peculiar brand of slebby identity politics. She certainly has fans who love nothing more than the fact she drives right-wing boomers crazy. But a Meghan Markle presidential campaign would put off far more people than it would attract. She would be so divisive as to make Donald Trump look like a unifier.
It may be true, as the mysterious Labour source told the Mail on Sunday, that the ‘Blairite, internationalist and Democratic party networks are buzzing with talk of Meghan’s political ambitions and potential backers’. But woke centrism is fairly toxic stuff these days. Meghan 2024 would be about as popular Kamala Harris 2020 — though it’s possible, I suppose, that like Kamala she could somehow leapfrog out of a disastrous campaign and into the vice-presidency. And is Meghan really cut out for the rough-and-tumble of Washington given she that the pressures of being royalty were too much for her? As the brilliant joke headline in the Babylon Bee puts it, ‘Woman Who Thought Being A Princess Was Too Hard Wants To Run For President.’
Madder things have happened. Meghan would, like Trump, have that celebrity crossover appeal that will forever drive media interest and public gawping. But she will not be able to develop a political movement: Markleism will never be a thing. There will be a woman president, and perhaps soon, but it won’t be Meghan Markle. Please God.