Democrats Have Made One Thing Very Clear About 2020: They’re over White Men

Jamelle Bouie, Slate, November 15, 2018


Democratic voters are leaning into the multicultural and multiracial nature of their coalition, facing the president’s exclusionary rhetoric with a spirit of inclusion.


But his “centrism” reflects a Democratic Party that has moved to the left since it last held the House of Representatives. {snip}

Democratic primary voters are still moving in the two directions shown in their choices in the 2016 presidential race. Reflecting the influence of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, they want unambiguously progressive policies. {snip} And yet, Democrats still want to make history and elevate candidates from marginal and underrepresented groups. Instead of reacting to President Trump’s misogyny and racism by favoring male candidates, Democratic voters are leaning into the multicultural and multiracial nature of their coalition, facing the president’s exclusionary rhetoric with a spirit of inclusion.

Democrats’ desire for diversity is increasingly apparent. Democratic voters nominated an unprecedented 180 female candidates in House primaries, as well as 133 people of color, including Native American and Muslim American candidates. Democrats also nominated 21 openly LGBT candidates for Congress. For the first time in the party’s history, white men were a minority in the House Democratic candidate pool. {snip}

This thirst for diversity extended to statewide races. Democrats nominated black candidates for governor in Florida, Georgia, and Maryland, for lieutenant governor in Michigan, for attorney general in Nevada and Illinois, and for Senate in Mississippi. The incoming senator from Arizona, Kyrsten Sinema, is openly bisexual, and the governor-elect of New Mexico, Michelle Lujan Grisham, is Latina. In CNN’s exit polls, 65 percent of voters who valued electing racial and ethnic minorities and 66 percent of voters who valued electing women backed Democratic candidates. It helps explain the striking success of nonwhite candidates in predominantly white districts, like Lauren Underwood of Illinois, Lucy McBath of Georgia, or Antonio Delgado of New York.

All of this brings obvious takeaways for the 2020 presidential race. Calls for Democrats to nominate Beto O’Rourke, former Vice President Joe Biden, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, or Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown make sense, {snip}. But they ignore or don’t take seriously the clear preference for diverse candidates among Democratic primary voters. Assuming they run, their odds of winning aren’t low—Sanders was the runner-up in 2016 and Biden is a popular figure in the party—but they aren’t as high as they might appear either.

The opposite is true for the cohort of white women and people of color who are clearly in the race for president. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren may have stumbled with her attempt to settle questions about her heritage, but she’s still in the running. Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota may be unknown on the national stage, but they are skilled politicians with demonstrated appeal to rural and working-class whites. The same is true for Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin, who hasn’t made the same moves toward running as her peers but who might appeal to Democratic primary voters for her progressive politics, clear appeal to working-class whites (she won 60 percent of white union households in her re-election bid this year), and history-making potential: She would be the first openly LGBTQ president.

If there’s anyone who sits at the intersection of what Democratic voters seem to want in a candidate, it’s Sen. Kamala Harris of California. A nonwhite woman, she looks like the most active and loyal parts of the Democratic base. A black woman with South Asian heritage, she would make history as president. She’s close to the progressive wing of the Democratic Party {snip} and has built herself up as a tough, unapologetic opponent of the administration {snip}. Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, likewise, would satisfy an apparently strong desire from Democratic voters to elevate a candidate of color to the White House. (This desire is why you also shouldn’t dismiss former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, who is also considering a bid for the nomination and has support from top Obama allies.)


Original Article