For Democrats, #DebatesSoWhite


We’ve talked a lot in this newsletter about the historic diversity of the Democratic primary campaign. At its peak, the field boasted six women, two black senators, a Latino former cabinet secretary, an American Samoan member of Congress and an Asian-American businessman.

Now, as we move into the final stretch before primary voting begins, those demographics are changing.

While Senator Kamala Harris’s decision yesterday to drop out of the race is unlikely to reshuffle the contest, it does expose a long-simmering problem for her party: Despite all the boasting about unprecedented diversity, the Democratic candidates doing the best are white and mostly men.

With Ms. Harris out, the current standing means the next debate will feature an exclusively white, largely male slate of candidates (though Tulsi Gabbard and Andrew Yang could soon get in). As Senator Cory Booker, who plans to give a speech about racial representation in Iowa tomorrow, pointed out, “There are more billionaires than black people who’ve made the December debate stage.”

So, how did Democrats end up whitewashing their rainbow coalition?

Some of the problem is structural: Iowa and New Hampshire — two of the whitest states in the country — play an outsize role in determining who makes the debate stage and who makes it to March,

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