Let’s set aside the policy debates of the presidential primaries for a moment. Instead, focus on the line-ups of the parties’ nominees. The two sets of candidates flip conventional wisdom on its head. The Democratic Party usually advocates policies and values such as diversity, affirmative action, multi-culturalism, inclusiveness and so on. It also tries to position itself as youthful and hip with appeals from Hollywood celebrities and the like. However, the 2016 Democratic nominees can best be described as old, white and they are almost exclusively professional politicians. If, as expected, Joe Biden enters the race, it will only become older and whiter.
“Old and white” is one of the most frequent put-downs that Democrats level against Republicans, with the usual addition of “men”. But the nominees on the Republican side are far from old and white and one of the current leading candidates is a woman. In fact, the nominees are a striking mix of people that closely resembles the true make-up of today’s America. They are:
- young and old;
- male and female;
- of black, white, Hispanic and Asian heritage;
- professional politicians, lawyers, surgeons, business people; and
- fluent speakers of a second language
All of the above characteristics are the sorts of things usually heralded by Democrats. Personally, I think policies such as quotas and affirmative action do a lot of harm and little good. I’m more interested in hiring, voting for or admitting the most qualified people.
I could care less if the candidates were of one ethnicity, religion, sex or some other characteristic, or if they were a mix. But there are plenty of people that are usually very vocal about perceived disparities in businesses, on campuses or in governments. Where are they now? I’m hearing very little about the homogeneity of the Democratic candidates.
If the shoe was on the other foot and the GOP had the Democratic line-up, there’s little doubt they, the Democrats and the media would be telling us how tired and white the Republicans look. Have we moved past those sorts of slights? If so, I’d mark that down as a sign of progress. But I doubt we have, in which case it would be nice if they’d at least be consistent and roundly criticize the 2016 Democratic candidates for their remarkable lack of diversity.