Megan Rapinoe for president

Why the World Cup hero should challenge Trump

Megan Rapinoe.
(Image credit: Illustrated | Elsa/Getty Images, PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images, Artulina1/iStock, Olga Kashurina/iStock)

There are three things we know to be true about 2019.

First, we know that the U.S. Women's National Team is, once again, the best women's soccer team on the planet: They won their second consecutive World Cup on Sunday.

Second, we know that the team's star, Megan Rapinoe, is no fan of President Trump, and won't be visiting the White House to celebrate that victory. (The team will get a ticker tape parade in New York, however.)

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Third, we know that there are entirely too many people running for president — but that it's still really early, and no Democratic candidate has broken away from the pack yet.

These three facts may seem disparate, but taken together, they offer an intriguing possibility: Rapinoe shouldn't dismiss the idea of visiting the White House entirely — she should just wait until she's ready to move in and live there.

Yes, I'm saying Megan Rapinoe should run for president in 2020. She's already got Twitter's vote:

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This might sound ridiculous. After all, Rapinoe has no real qualifications to serve as president. She's famous and outspoken, and right now she's ridiculously popular. She'll turn 35 next July 5, which means that she'll meet the Constitution's minimum qualifications for the presidency by the time the election rolls around in November 2020.

Then again, look at our current president. Evidence suggests that Trump didn't expect to become president when he ran for office — instead, he allegedly wanted to use the 2016 election as a jumping-off point to start his own television network. He had no history of public service, and his private sector accomplishments were questionable, to say the least. It's fair to say that Trump has knocked down the idea that you need any but the minimum qualifications to actually become president.

All you need these days is celebrity and attitude. Rapinoe has plenty of both.

What's the argument against her running? That she has ridiculous hair? That she alienates our British allies? That she's boastful, arrogant, and divisive? Rapinoe couldn't do any worse than Trump on those counts, could she?

In fact, there are a few areas in which she could compare and contrast herself favorably against Trump.

First, Rapinoe has a real history of accomplishment and excellence in her chosen field: She has been a member of national teams that won two World Cups, was a runner-up in another, and won gold at the 2012 Olympics. And she's not just been a stellar teammate — she's been a star. On Sunday, she won the Golden Boot award — for being the tournament's top goal-scorer — and the Golden Ball award for being the tournament's top player. Compare that to Trump's pre-presidential resume of bankruptcies, failed businesses, and a squandered fortune. Trump wears a suit and tie to work every day, which makes him look the part, but there's every reason to think Rapinoe's accomplishments are more substantial — and more the result of hard work — than his.

If she wanted to, Rapinoe could use her stardom merely to advance her own interests. Instead, she's been at the forefront of efforts to ensure that her teammates make as much money as the players on the U.S. men's team, and she's been a fierce advocate for LGBT rights, known for being "exuberantly out about her gayness." Sometimes her stances have been controversial: She showed solidarity with Colin Kaepernick's protest against policy abuses by taking a knee during the national anthem. She takes stands and isn't afraid of criticism.

Perhaps Rapinoe's biggest advantage over Trump, though, is this: Women would probably vote for her. There's no polling on her popularity as a candidate, but surveys continue to show that Trump is extremely unpopular with women voters. Who better to challenge him on his weaknesses than one of America's strongest, most famous, and most successful women?

Alas, Megan Rapinoe's candidacy for president is probably just a fantasy. Maybe someday, the occupant of the Oval Office will be a unifying figure, somebody our championship sports teams can again be proud and excited to visit. In the mean time, Rapinoe reminds us of what this country can be at its best: inspirational, proud, and excellent.

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