The six most important Democratic candidates are white. Four of them, moreover, are millionaires, and half are over 70 years old. They are the leaders who aspire to defend minorities
The reality is this: the six most important Democratic candidates, those who qualified to participate in the last debate of the primaries, are white. Four of them, in addition, are millionaires. And half is over 70 years old. These characteristics would be totally irrelevant if it were not because his party has been involved in the rhetoric of inclusiveness and wields the flags of minorities, youth and working classes in the United States.
Survivors have had to justify their presence on stage. “The day after Senator Harris left, I wrote an open letter to the Democratic National Committee and said I thought they should change the criteria to participate in the debate and make it more open,” one of the contenders, Tom Steyer, said on MSNBC, 62 years old and with a fortune of $1.6 billion.
To participate in the seventh debate in Iowa, candidates had to add a 5% intention to vote in four polls approved by the party committee, nationally or in one of the first four states to hold the primary elections. And here is, according to critics, the trick: the first two states to vote, and that therefore set the tone of the campaign and often disqualify several candidates, are Iowa and New Hampshire: states of the overwhelmingly white population. Which would put color candidates at a disadvantage.
An increasingly Latino country
When the state of Florida inaugurated the tradition of holding primary elections, in 1901, the United States was a country with almost 90% of whites: a proportion that remained until the sixties. Since then, immigration and the minority birth rate have set a much more diverse and balanced melting pot than before. “Non-Hispanic whites” have dropped to 60%, and, according to census calculations, they will be less than half by the 2040s.
“The Democratic Party reflects the incredible diversity of America. But the first two states that vote, Iowa and New Hampshire, are among the most homogeneous in the nation,” said aspiring Michael Bloomberg, 77, whose assets equals Bulgaria’s GDP. “It’s very good that candidates reach voters in these states at all pancake breakfasts and public debates, but what about African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders and other voters in places like Detroit, Phoenix or Houston?
The party apparatus, which sets the rules, has claimed that never before in history have the minimums to enter a debate been so lax. “We set a remarkably inclusive and frankly low bar,” Tom Perez, president of the National Democratic Committee, told CNN. “What we have said every month is that, as we approached Iowa, we would do what we always did, raise the bar.”
So far, all the candidates of color who have suspended their campaigns have done so before the voting began in these states. The California senator, Kamala Harris, had its heyday in July when she successfully cornered Joe Biden in the second Democratic debate; then it fell in the middle of the information that highlighted an unstable, factious and poorly coordinated planning. “I am not a millionaire. I can’t pay for my campaign,” the congresswoman justified. The media rushed to point out that, of all the Democratic candidates, Harris was the one who had raised the most money from the great fortunes.
The contradictions of the principles
The initiatives of Julian Castro, of Mexican origins, and the African-American senator Cory Booker, one of the party’s eternal promises, also failed to take off. Castro’s intention to vote never exceeded 2% nationwide and Booker presented a number of reasons why he fell short of support and budget: among them, his parliamentary responsibility in the political trial of Donald Trump.
“Of all the people who have qualified for the Democratic debate, not a single person is a person of color,” Booker said in an email to his followers. “For a party as diverse as ours, in elections where communities of color will decide the outcome, that’s wrong.”
According to the numbers, there seems to be no direct relationship between the color of the candidates ‘skin and the color of their followers’ skin. The champion of African-American voters is a white lord, Joe Biden, the former right hand of President Barack Obama. “That is my base,” said Biden, whose heritage multiplies the average African American heritage by one hundred. “I am not sure that the organization of the debate makes much sense, to begin with. But that’s the way it is.”
Among Latino voters, the favourite is another wealthy Caucasian senior gentleman, Bernie Sanders. The proposals of the socialist senator, with a strong emphasis on health and education, have found a good reception in the Hispanic community. His rival in the left, also Senator Elizabeth Warren, also enjoys high popularity in this demographic segment.
The obsession with difference
If we talk about age, Sanders is the oldest man in the presidential race: this year he will turn 79, which does not prevent him from bringing together the vast majority of the youth vote. Voters of the Sanders age, on the other hand, give preference to the youngest candidates, Pete Buttigieg, who is only 37 years old. “Everyone is reminded of his favorite grandson,” said Sean Bagniewski, a Democratic chief of Iowa. Buttigieg knows this and has proposed a Grey New Deal; a great pension investment program, the color of the silver temples of its voters.
Three members of American minorities remain on the campaign trail: Asian-American entrepreneur Andrew Yang, African-American Deval Patrick, former governor of Massachusetts, and Representative Tulsi Gabbard, Samoan-American. None of them passed the cut of the last debate.
Meanwhile, the Conservatives enjoy the party from the stands. “Whatever color, gender or background, the Democrats are obsessed with immutable characteristics and these can never be the basis for promotions, jobs or political office,” said ultra-conservative author and Fox host Laura Ingraham. “Have you ever heard of experience or political talent?”