Do Democrats Have a White Man Problem?

In an interview with CNN’s Van Jones this weekend, Democratic Sen. Kristen Gillibrand was asked if it was a problem that a recent poll shows three white men are leading for the 2020 presidential nomination. Her answer, which grabbed headlines, was a blunt “Yes,” and drew a laugh from Jones.

Gillibrand explained her answer a bit, but only in very broad terms. She talked about the importance of Barack Obama’s first black presidency, then said, ““I aspire for our country to recognize the beauty of our diversity in some point in the future and I hope some day we have a woman president.” . . .

There’s also the fact that the last time the Democrats nominated a white man was in 2004. Granted, all the ones before that were white men, but over the past two decades it’s been a different set. Democrats elected a record number of women into office in 2018 and are handing the gavel back to the first woman to be speaker of the House. So is it really a problem that the three leaders for the nomination are white men?

There are two basic ways to address this question. The first is electoral, and the second is ideological. From the point of view of pure voting math, there are good arguments for and against a white male candidate. Proponents would say that it could help in Trump’s forgotten America. Detractors would argue that today’s Democratic Party must mirror the Obama coalition and pump up minority turnout. . .

That leaves the ideological problem as the one that is truly at issue here. It isn’t merely symbolic. Sure, somebody not white or male polling over 10 percent would be the kind of PR win Democrats got with the photos of their wave of new female legislators. But for many Democrats, apparently including Gillibrand, equal representation on the basis of race and sex really does go beyond campaign narrative and is a driving principle of the party itself. (Read more from “Do Democrats Have a White Man Problem?” HERE)

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