Lack of Diversity in the 2020 Presidential Election

What caused it and what does it mean for the remaining candidates?

The Democrats began with 28 hopefuls. The group was the most diverse in history, with seven minority candidates, six female candidates, and the first openly gay candidate in our country’s history. Everyone was represented, women, African- Americans, Hispanics, Asians, and the LGBTQ+ community, and voters were eager to vote for a president who looked like them, shared their values, and represented them as people. A Gallup poll released on May 9, 2019, showed that, out of Democratic voters, 83% would vote for a gay candidate, 96% would vote for a black candidate, 97% would vote for a Hispanic candidate, and 94% would vote for a female candidate, things were looking up for Democratic voters.

The Democratic primary has now reduced to two old, white, male candidates.”

The first debates were in June. Instead of having one debate with all the qualifying candidates, the group was so big that there had to be two opening debates with eleven candidates on stage for each. Eventually, the group thinned and was brought down to about 10 to 12 candidates qualifying for each debate around October. The core group that emerged consisted of Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Andrew Yang, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Julian Castro, Tom Steyer, Tulsi Gabbard, and Beto O‘Rourke.

The Democratic primary has now reduced to two old, white, male candidates. In the same Gallup poll as above, only 62% of voters said they would be willing to vote for a candidate over 70. Bernie Sanders is 78, and Joe Biden is 77. Somehow, despite health concerns and lack of diversity, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders have emerged as the two final remaining Democratic candidates, which has caused many around the country to question their electability.

So with all these questions about the electability and ability to defeat Donald Trump, why are Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders the two remaining Democrats as opposed to the minority or female candidates?

For most of the minority and female candidates, it was their first time running for the presidency and did not have national name recognition prior to running for president. This caused many voters to question their ability to defeat Trump in a general election as they would be new names to Republican and independent voters.

Some, like Andrew Yang and Elizabeth Warren, ran far-left campaigns, which caused voters to question their ability to win swing voters, especially Andrew Yang who had no previous political experience. They also struggled, as it was their first time running for president and therefore they did not have national name recognition, to become as popular as Bernie Sanders, a far-left candidate who ran a strong campaign and finished second in the 2016 Democratic primary. 

Other candidates, like Kamala Harris and Cory Booker, who ran strong moderate campaigns, suffered due to a large amount of moderate Democrats running. In addition, they struggled in the face of Joe Biden, a former Vice President, and moderate candidate, failing to reach his level of popularity among voters.

In a candidate pool of rich old white men, who will win over the minority vote?”

Joe Biden has consistently led in the polls despite having less than stand out appearances in debates. Biden is running a moderate campaign and basing his platform off his experience as Vice President to Barack Obama. His presidency promises the return of the Obama era, and to bring back and expand on policies President Obama put into place, such as the Affordable Care Act. However, he stumbles over his words and confuses his ideas during debates.

Bernie Sanders is a far-left candidate and self-proclaimed Democratic-Socialist, supporting policies like free healthcare for all and taking down billionaires by implementing a wealth tax. He has consistently placed second in the polls to Joe Biden, despite suffering a heart attack in October. Many voters struggle with his electability as a far-left candidate and question his ability to win swing voters which are vital in defeating Donald Trump. A Gallup poll revealed that only 49% of Democratic voters said they were willing to vote for a socialist candidate, and a mere 19% of Republicans said they were willing to do the same.

In a candidate pool of rich old white men, who will win over the minority vote?

Joe Biden has consistently done better in the polls with minority voters than Bernie Sanders. This may be due to the fact that, while Sanders advocates for the poor and for economic prosperity for all, he does not single out the struggles of minorities when it comes to issues like economic prosperity and poverty. In addition, he has received many endorsements from prior candidates for the nomination. 

Joe Biden was able to win South Carolina in a landslide and resurrect his campaign, which had seen falling poll numbers after losing New Hampshire, Nevada, and Iowa, because he consistently spoke out about specifically the plight of minorities when speaking about economic and social issues. He also is able to use his popularity as Vice President to Barack Obama, the first African American and minority president of the United States, which makes him particularly popular amongst minority voters, especially African American voters.

What is most certain is that Donald Trump will not benefit from the lack of diversity in the election, as he consistently does extremely poorly in polls concerning minority voters. This is mainly due to statements like, “You don’t want to live with them either,” while speaking about allegations that he told his real estate employees to tell African American buyers that there were no available apartments, “Bring back the death penalty,” while speaking about the Central Park Five, “They don’t look like Indians to me,” while speaking about Native Americans, and “Go back to their huts,” while speaking about Mexican immigrants.

What minorities and female voters are looking for in a candidate in the face of a non diverse candidate pool is a candidate who can defeat Donald Trump.”

Another important electorate in the 2020 election is the female vote. 

Many women are wary of Bernie Sanders because they doubt his electability. They worry about his ability to defeat Donald Trump as a socialist candidate because they question how he will be able to win the swing voters needed to defeat Trump.

Biden has been doing better than Bernie among female voters despite allegations of being overly touchy with women over the summer because he is a moderate candidate, and therefore they feel that he has the strongest chance of defeating Trump because he will be able to win over swing voters and Republicans who do not support Trump with his moderate policies.

One thing that is certain about the female vote is that most women have said they will not vote for Donald Trump. This may be because of comments like, “horseface” when speaking about Stormy Daniels, “If Hillary Clinton can’t satisfy her husband, what makes her think she can satisfy America?” and, “such a nasty woman,” when speaking about Hillary Clinton, “Well, absolutely. It’s record-setting,” when speaking about Kim Kardashian’s butt, and “She does have a very nice figure. If she weren’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her,” and “She’s actually very voluptuous,” when speaking about daughter Ivanka Trump. What minorities and female voters are looking for in a candidate in the face of a non diverse candidate pool is a candidate who can defeat Donald Trump. As Amy Klobuchar said in the February debate in Las Vegas, “What I want everyone out there watching to remember is that what unites us is so much bigger than what divides us and that we need a candidate that can bring people with her.”

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