Presidents’ Day is coming up, and we’ve got fictional female Commanders in Chief on our minds. (One is literally from the TV show Commander in Chief.) Join us as we alternate histories that are unstoppably female. Cue the marching band playing “Hail to the Chief.”
President Margaret Valentine in Y: The Last Man
In the first moments of Brian K. Vaughan’s comic Y: The Last Man, we learn that every human on Earth with a Y chromosome has died in a plague, except for geneticist Yorick Brown. Margaret Valentine ascends to the role of President somewhat unexpectedly. Even with all the men gone, she wasn’t the highest-ranking woman in the cabinet. But Secretary of the Interior Richburg died in a plane crash – piloted by a man, no doubt – and the newly inaugurated President Valentine must shoulder the responsibility. Even in a plague, America needs a leader. The comic is set in an alternate version of 2003 and President Valentine is reelected in 2004. Though she jokes she only wins because she’s the most famous person in the country, aside from Oprah. And no one knows where she’s hiding.
President Selina Meyer in VEEP
As the title of this show suggests, Selina Meyer started the show as the Vice President of the United States. It’s a terrible job for Meyer and she’s often ignored by the President she’s supposedly working with.
Meyer gets her chance at the job she’s always wanted when President Hughes resigns abruptly to take care of his ailing wife. (Meyer ran and lost the 2012 election in the alternate history the show is set in.) Selina Meyer proves to be a pretty unpopular President, serving the remaining eight months of President Hughes’ term and losing the election to Laura Montez.
President Claire Underwood in House of Cards
Claire Underwood serves as both Vice President and Acting President at various points in the alternate history House of Cards. But when her husband Frank resigns from the office of the President, Claire Underwood takes her rightful place in the Oval Office. Much like the other fictional presidents we’ve discussed here, Claire Underwood is the first female President of the United States in the world of the show. The final season of House of Cards will focus on Claire Underwood. Her husband will not be making an appearance.
President Mackenzie Allen in Commander in Chief
When the sitting President of the United States suffers a sudden cerebral aneurysm, then-Vice President Mackenzie Allen steps up to take on the role of – you guessed it – Commander in Chief. President Allen is a registered Independent, but ran on the Republican ticket with President Elect Teddy Bridges. In this alternate history of 2005, Allen is not only the first female Vice President of the United States, but also the first female POTUS.