Editor’s Note: Allison Jane Smith is a freelance writer and editor. She writes the Snail Race, a newsletter on democracy, voting and political participation. The views expressed in this commentary belong to the author. View more opinion at CNN.

CNN  — 

After Sen. Elizabeth Warren suspended her presidential campaign – the last of the serious female candidates who had vied for the Democratic nomination this year to do so – many women (and some men) despaired, wondering: Will there be a female president in my lifetime? Will there ever be a female president?

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If there is, it’s likely to be Ivanka Trump, if she’d like to be, or another well-connected woman from a different political dynasty.

This isn’t news Democrats will love, but it’s the most likely scenario. Women in government are more likely to have family ties to politics than men. A 2018 study found that while one in 10 world leaders belonged to a political family, nearly one in three female leaders did.

This dynasty effect is strong. Argentina, Myanmar and Thailand are among the countries where women have followed in the footsteps of a male relative to become head of state. Cristina Fernández de Kirchner was Argentina’s first lady before she was its president. Aung San Suu Kyi’s father is considered the father of modern Myanmar. Yingluck Shinawatra, who became Thailand’s first female prime minister in 2011, is the sister of a former prime minister.

Female politicians are more likely than men to have family ties to politics in Canada, Finland, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, New Zealand, and yes, the US. A study of every US legislator from 1789 to 1996 found that nearly one in three congresswomen had a relative enter Congress before them, while fewer than one in 10 men did.

If Ivanka Trump were to become president one day, she would be the culmination of this scenario. Hillary Clinton, while clearly a skilled politician in her own right, benefited from her time as first lady through increased name recognition, and by living in the corridors of power. Warren, for one, who is arguably as capable as Clinton, wasn’t able to draw on such family ties or name recognition, and like other female presidential candidates this time, struggled to attract the level of attention and support that Clinton’s candidacy had.

Clinton’s qualifications are typical of female politicians who run in the footsteps of their fathers or husbands; women who are members of political dynasties are more qualified than men with similar backgrounds, according to a study conducted by Harvard professor Daniel Smith, along with Swedish researchers Olle Folke and Johanna Rickne. For women, these family ties can help close part of the gender gap, but it’s not enough – they still need to have more impressive resumes than men to win office.

Thanks to entrenched sexist attitudes, biased media coverage, and online harassment – to name just a few of hurdles– it’s harder for women to run for office and win. Just this week, the UN Development Programme’s gender social norm index found that about half of all men and women in the world think men make better political leaders.

It is clear that connections to politicians grease the wheels for women. That’s why Meghan McCain and Chelsea Clinton are asked if they intend to run for office. It’s why a qualified politician like Sen. Tammy Duckworth, for example, who has a similar personal background and political career to former President Barack Obama, receives less presidential buzz than former first lady Michelle Obama, despite her political inexperience and insistent rejection of a political career. And it’s why Ivanka Trump is the woman most likely to be president any time soon.

For women, family ties to politics are more useful than ties to wealth. No one wonders if Bill Gates’ children could be convinced to run for office. No one speculates about, say, President Abigail Disney, despite her wealth and political activism.

The fact that President Donald Trump is limited to two terms may even amplify the dynasty effect and increase Ivanka Trump’s chances at a successful political career, should she seek one. It’s easy to imagine that Trump supporters eager to see his influence extend beyond eight years could propel Ivanka to the Oval Office.

In the Philippines, a surge of women ran for municipal office after term limits were introduced in 1987. Nearly 75% of these women were related to a politician whose career had just been cut short by the term limits. As the authors of a study on the phenomenon put it, “In dynastic contexts, term limits may, perhaps inadvertently, increase female representation but restrict this higher access to office to dynastic women.”

The Trump family is a dynasty that has profited from its proximity to the White House. Why let a little thing like a term limit stop the gravy train? Finding the next President from within the family ranks is the logical step to being able to continue to cash in on the presidency.

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    Ivanka is the strongest contender among the Trump children. President Trump has called her a “great diplomat” and said, “If she ever wanted to run for president, I think she’d be very, very hard to beat.” She has attended events like the G20, though, it must be noted, to very mixed reviews, and is actively trying to establish her Republican bona fides by switching parties and announcing herself a “proud Trump Republican.”

    The wording is significant. She’s not a Republican, free and clear. Her allegiance is to her father – and the Trump Republican dynasty. And with the GOP’s willingness to rally around anything Donald Trump says or does, it looks like Ivanka is the one most likely to take up the mantle.

    She’s not the Madam President most people are hoping for, but the one we could well get.