The 2020 field isn’t diverse because Democrats of all races and gender don’t want diversity.
“It’s been coming up in connection to my campaign: is America ready for that? Are they ready for a woman of color to be President of the United States?” Senator Kamala Harris whined as her campaign collapsed.
Senator Cory Booker and Julian Castro, the remaining diversity candidates, treated Kamala as a martyr to diversity. “It is a problem when an immensely qualified, widely supported, truly accomplished black woman running to lead the party — a party that is significantly empowered by black women voters — didn’t have the resources that she needed to continue here in Iowa,” Booker complained.
Harris had raised $11.6 million in the third quarter. That’s a whole lot of money for nothing. Were donors expected to keep giving to a campaign that, toward the end, was polling at 2%?
The California politician had raised $36 million overall. That’s not too shabby considering Joe Biden had about the same fundraising totals. When you subtract self-funded candidates like Tom Steyer, John Delaney, or Michael Bloomberg, the fundraising totals were dominated by Sanders, Warren, and Buttigieg, all of whom are some kind of diverse. Even if it’s a diversity of white Democrats.
Joe, the only conventional straight white man in the race, only marginally outraised Kamala. And Booker, who’s whining about not having enough cash, has raised over $20 million.
That’s despite consistently terrible polling across the board.
Booker took in $1 million after whining about how unfair fundraising is to minority candidates.
How many millions are the big donors who financed both Kamala and Cory supposed to kick in to showcase their commitment to diversity by backing unpopular candidates with no future?
Julian Castro complained that the media “held her to a different standard”. His only real example was, “the earliest critique that she has no black support.” That was a legitimate critique since toward the end she only had the support of 4% of black voters. The Democrats had a very diverse 2020 field and a very diverse electorate. The current state of the field is down to the choices of that electorate.
If black voters had gotten behind Kamala or Cory, they would have had a real shot at the nomination.
Black voters represent almost a quarter of the electorate. Biden dominates the field because of black voters. As far back as the summer, 76% of black voters were enthusiastic about Joe Biden, 53% about Kamala Harris, and 43% about Cory Booker. Diversity has never been the issue in this campaign.
A Monmouth poll earlier in the year asked Democrat voters how important diversity was to them.
Only 5% of Democrat voters wanted a “person of color” as the candidate. 6% wanted a white candidate. 87% said it didn’t matter. 7% wanted a woman. 12% wanted a man. 77% said it didn’t matter. And that’s in a survey whose demographic composition was 63% female and only 58% white. It turns out that women don’t especially want female candidates, and minorities don’t want a minority candidate.
Cory Booker is complaining about a lack of diversity caused by a very diverse electorate.
Why are black voters backing Biden? There’s an easy answer that nobody wants to hear.
Only a fifth of black voters and less than a quarter of Latino voters consider themselves very liberal. Half of African-American voters describe themselves as moderate or conservative.
Kamala Harris and Cory Booker gambled on sweeping the table by running on race while pulling leftward. Instead of getting both black voters and lefty voters, they ended up with nothing.
They’re too radical for black voters and not radical enough for the Warren/Sanders base.
The Democrats don’t have a diversity problem. Their problem is that their diverse voters have minds of their own. The Left has been tugging the Democrats leftward by promising them a new majority-minority coalition spurred by immigration and birth rates. But even young minorities are less likely to identify as lefties than young white voters. That diversity is what’s cracking up the Democrats.
While white college voters are pushing sharply leftwards, black voters are holding steady.
That’s why Joe Biden won’t go away. If the Democrat electorate were all white, Sanders or Warren would be leading. It’s the conservativism of black Democrats that prevents that from happening.
In the tussle between black moderates and white lefties, three old white politicians top the field.
But those three old white politicos stand in for white lefties who spend the most time shouting about diversity, but whose flagbearer is a white woman who lied about being a minority, and for black voters who are less interested in diversity than in the Obama legacy even if its bearer is a racist old white man.
Neither the white diversity-shouters nor the minorities who are that diversity want diverse candidates.
This repudiation of identity politics is a good thing even as it’s taking place in a party that runs on identity politics. The reality of the 2020 field shows just how detached identity politics is from reality.
Democrats of all colors and ideologies have chosen to put ideology ahead of race and gender.
The Democrats who jumped into the 2020 race under the mistaken belief that they could run on identity politics, Senator Kamala Harris, Senator Cory Booker, Julian Castro, have been humiliated. Harris is out. Booker and Castro are teetering on the edge of oblivion. Their pandering misfired, their attempts at playing the race card failed, and yet it’s the only thing that they know how to do or are able to do.
The 2020 race tells us that the Democrats don’t really believe in the identity politics credo their movement dumped on campuses and businesses. Sanders and Warren supporters have been forced to argue that ideology matters more than the race of its practitioners. Meanwhile the media circles the uncomfortable reality that the black voters who obstinately won’t abandon Joe Biden, refuse to embrace Pete Buttigieg as the alternative, aren’t flocking to Sanders or Warren, and rate Trump well, are transforming the party and the electorate in a very different way than the one they anticipated.
The Democrats have shed working class whites, but black voters, once a tilting force, are becoming the new working-class whites, frustratingly more conservative and less radical than the Left would like.
The Obama era was meant to usher in a new coalition of lefties and minorities. Now that coalition has splintered badly as southern black voters and northern white lefties are pulling in opposition directions.
Booker’s race card is the pathetic last hurrah of a newly irrelevant generation of young technocratic multiracial politicians, the new Obamas, who, to their own surprise and that of their party, are done.
Once, Obama was the future. Now he’s the past. And so is his party.
The Democrat 2020 race is not infused with the voice of a new generation. Or even Generation X. Instead it’s become a battle between elderly black voters who want 2009 back and elderly white socialists who want 1899 back. There’s no vision of the future, only a race to the past.
Biden, Sanders, and Warren, three old hacks, are the candidates of bringing back the past.