Saturday, January 18, 2020

The narrowing of the fatal democratic race for racial minorities

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Senator Cory Booker when he was announced as a candidate for the Democratic nomination on February 1, 2019 in Newark, New Jersey. Andrew Kelly / REUTERS

Ten days after Barack Obama's former secretary of housing, Julian Castro, of Mexican descent, African-American senator from New Jersey, Cory Booker, has also renounced the nomination contest on Monday, January 13 Democrat for the presidential. This decision is in addition to the withdrawal, in December 2019, of California Senator Kamala Harris, of Indian and Jamaican parents. The two men regretted the lack of diversity in these primaries.

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Minorities will indeed be absent from the debate organized on January 14 in Iowa. Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, Vermont colleagues Bernie Sanders, and Massachusetts colleagues Elizabeth Warren, former Vice President Joe Biden, billionaire philanthropist Tom Steyer, and former mayor of South Bend (Indiana) Pete will participate. Buttigieg, all white.

Still a candidate, Andrew Yang, whose parents are of Taiwanese origin, did not obtain the number of voting intentions required to participate. A former African-American governor of Massachusetts, Deval Patrick, who entered the race late, in November 2019, is also unable to impose himself among the favorites.

Weak identity

However, it is difficult to conclude from these renouncements that there has been a decline in diversity within the Democratic Party. The mid-term elections, in November 2018, were indeed marked by a historic surge of elected officials, especially women, from minority backgrounds, be it the youngest member of the House of Representatives, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (New York State), or his colleagues Ilhan Omar (Minnesota), Rashida Tlaib (Michigan) and Ayanna Pressley (Massachusetts), regularly stigmatized by President Donald Trump.

They showed in particular that the electoral power of African-Americans was transforming into political power. The election of Lori Lightfoot, the first black and gay woman to serve as mayor of Chicago, confirmed this in April 2019.

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In light of this push, the failure of minority candidates in the Democratic nomination race underscores the weakness of identity in motivating a vote for the top office. This is how Joe Biden, judged to be the best potential candidate against Donald Trump, invariably obtained voting intentions in the African American electorate much higher than those of Cory Booker and Kamala Harris.

In an Ipsos poll for the Washington Post published on January 11, Joe Biden collected 48% of the African-American voting intentions, ahead of Bernie Sanders (20%), far ahead of Cory Booker (4%) or Pete Buttigieg (2%). Deval Patrick does not even get 1% of the voting intentions. In the Latin electorate, Julian Castro was likewise clearly behind (2%) against Joe Biden (26%) and Bernie Sanders (18%), according to a Mason-Dixon poll conducted in October 2019.

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