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OPINION

Michelle Obama doesn’t want to be vice president. Get over it.

Former first lady Michelle Obama speaks to a crowd about her anticipated memoir "Becoming" during a book tour stop in Washington.
Former first lady Michelle Obama speaks to a crowd about her anticipated memoir "Becoming" during a book tour stop in Washington.Jose Luis Magana/Associated Press

In a galaxy far, far away, “Star Wars” icon Mark Hamill recently tweeted, “I hope whoever becomes the Democratic presidential nominee will consider @MichelleObama as their running mate. #DreamTeam2020.”

It’s a good thing the man who played Luke Skywalker is accustomed to disappointing endings. If one thing is a certainty during this election season, it’s this: No matter who wins (or buys) the nomination, the former first lady won’t be joining the Democratic ticket.

Michelle Obama does not want to be president. She does not want to be vice president. What about “no” can’t people understand?

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“If you’re wondering who the Democratic nominee will be, don’t bet against Michelle Obama,” Tucker Carlson said on his Fox show last November. “Last week, the former first lady issued a statement claiming she has no interest in being president, but there are signs that’s not true.”

There are no signs. There have never been any signs. Here’s a far more reliable barometer — if Carlson is saying it, it’s not true.

Back when there were still more than a dozen candidates vying for the nomination, 18 percent of Democratic voters in a USA Today/Suffolk University poll said they wished others would get into the race. Obama was their top choice.

When Obama stopped by “Jimmy Kimmel Live” in 2018, the late-night host asked her whether anyone “has seriously approached you and tried to convince you to run for office?”

“All the time,” Obama said. The audience roared, as if their enthusiasm could change her mind. “But I’ve never had any serious conversations with anyone about it because it’s not something I’m interested in or would ever do. Ever.”

Obama is not coy. She’s not winking. She’s not waiting for the right overture from the right person. What she’s not doing is running. For anything.

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Years after leaving the White House, Obama, now a bestselling author and Grammy winner for her memoir, “Becoming,” is having a grand old time. She has never masked her dislike for the wood-chipper that is modern American politics.

For eight years. she had a front row seat to the madness — spiked with racist venom specifically concocted for this nation’s first Black president. It spared no Obama, including their daughters, Malia and Sasha. Not surprisingly, an unofficial rule about leaving a president’s children out of the political fray lost its potency when those children were Black girls.

Why would she subject herself or her family to that again? For the second consecutive year, Obama is the world’s most admired woman. Admiring her apparently doesn’t include paying attention to her wishes.

This constant push for an Obama candidacy seems another version of the infernal belief that Black women exist to save America from itself. We act in our own best interests, which often benefits a nation better at making a mess than cleaning it up. We tried to do that against Trump in 2016, but more than 60 million Americans in the right combination of states had their own ideas. Of course, Obama believes she’s already doing her part to mitigate this administration’s damage.

“There are so many ways to improve this country and build a better world, and I keep doing plenty of them, from working with young people to helping families lead healthier lives," she told The National last year. “But sitting behind the desk in the Oval Office will never be one of them. It’s just not for me.”

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When there’s finally a Democratic nominee, perhaps Obama will offer her coveted endorsement. But anyone expecting her to do anything else is wasting their time and energy. Of his wife, President Obama once said, “Let me tell you, there are three things that are certain in life: death, taxes, and Michelle is not running for president — that I can tell you.”

It’s not you, America; it’s her. She’s not interested. Get over it. Yet with the prospect of four more years of President Trump, many keep casting their lonely eyes toward a Black woman to make every thing right, because America never wants us until it needs us.


Renée Graham can be reached at renee.graham@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @reneeygraham.