Democrats have spent years boasting about their party’s “diversity”, but it appears that seems to be slipping away.
The DNC has made it a bit more difficult to qualify for the next debate, and that means the field is starting to take shape. Of the six people who have qualified so far, none of them would qualify as a “person of color”. That is, assuming Elizabeth Warren doesn’t identify as a Native American (you never know).
Peter Funt wrote for USA Today defending the field of democrats:
The fact that no black candidate has qualified for the next debate in Los Angeles is not the fault of the DNC or of citizens who speak with pollsters and write checks to support candidates. Moreover, it’s not a bad reflection on the party that proudly made Barack Obama president. To Democrats’ credit, the party’s diversity isn’t an issue — not in primaries, and not on the debate stage.
Saying “we elected Obama” kind of sounds like “I have black friends,” but whatever…
The 2020 campaign is too volatile to make meaningful predictions about the Democratic ticket for November. But it’s likely that a woman, a black person or a gay man will wind up in one of the two top positions. That blend of politics and progressiveness is welcome, as long as it creates the strongest ticket and gives the nation its best chance to escape the terror of Trump.
Now, I couldn’t tell you why there’s this vitriol for the straight white male. For some reason we live in a time where you are celebrated for being black, brown, gay, lesbian, trans, you name it, but any praise of being “white” is condemned as some sort of act of supremacy.
Seriously, kids get kicked out of school simply for saying that being white is “ok”. Not even “great,” just “ok”.
The democrats have a problem. If they have an all white debate, they can’t brag about how “diverse”, and “inclusive” they are.
The Daily Beast points this out, and suggests that the top candidates do something about it, for their own sake:
Democrats and the DNC should be asking themselves if they really want to eliminate all the candidates of color before the first states even get to vote. And the leading candidates, all of whom are white, should do something about it.
There is precedent for the top-tier candidates banding together to protect the integrity of the debate process. Back in January 2016, NBC News, as a DNC debate sponsor, tried to bar former governor Martin O’Malley from its debate, citing his poor polling numbers compared to Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. While it was apparent that O’Malley’s campaign was going nowhere, it was obvious to any objective observer that eliminating him was a choice for voters in Iowa and the other primary states to make—not NBC News.
The article goes on to say that there is something the DNC could do:
Now, it is the DNC itself that is the culprit of such unfair practices. The party has established criteria for the December debate, which will mean that Booker and Castro could both be possibly excluded from the stage.
Booker and Castro have been able to organically secure more than 200,000 unique donors each, and both have shown measurable poll support, especially with African-Americans and Latinos respectively. Excluding these two candidates of color, who represent crucial aspects of the Democratic base, from debates before Iowa could be a mistake with lasting implications for the party and country.
There’s still time for the candidates to make the threshold, but as it stands, the upcoming debate will be pasty white.