Yes, a woman can be elected president of the United States.

It’s time to put that nonissue behind us. One nearly was, and it wasn’t her gender that dealt her a loss.

As Sen. Bernie Sanders pointed out in the Democratic debate in Iowa Tuesday night, “Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by 3 million votes.” Everywhere else, that would have been enough.

Regrettably, the United States is burdened with an anachronism called the Electoral College, reflecting the mistrust of small states for large ones.

Just 77,000 more votes in three key states made the difference between a President Hillary Clinton and a President Donald Trump four years ago; between having a first man or a first lady in the White House.

It used to be said that a Roman Catholic couldn’t be elected president. Then John F. Kennedy was. Divorce was assumed to be a disqualification. Ronald Reagan disproved that. Race was the next frontier. Then Barack Obama was elected.

In the current campaign, Sen. Elizabeth Warren is a formidable contender. She’d be even stronger if she weren’t contending with Sanders for the same voters. She scored points in the Des Moines debate by observing, truthfully, that the men on the stage had collectively lost 10 elections while she and Sen. Amy Klobuchar were undefeated.

That Klobuchar remains in a dwindling field reflects her potential as the moderate alternative to Sanders or Warren if Joe Biden doesn’t do well in the early caucus and primary states. There is no question that either of those women is a qualified rival to Trump and would make a far superior president.

Male machismo and misogyny — the only reasons for even asking whether a woman could be president — are hardly unique to the U.S. Yet 59 other nations, spanning the globe and every region and ethnicity, have had women as heads of government. Why hasn’t it happened here? One reason is that it took time to break the glass ceilings in Congress, state capitals and the vice presidency, which are the traditional proving grounds for presidential prospects.

FROM AN EDITORIAL IN THE FLORIDA SUN SENTINEL