How far left has the Democratic party drifted in the last decade or so? A second question that provides some perspective on the first is how far the “traditional” candidate (i.e., white male) has fallen from grace.
An answer to both is suggested by the Democratic nominee for the 2016 election. The Dems selected as their candidate a woman who, not insignificantly, had lost to a candidate of color in 2008. But Hillary Clinton did not win the party’s nod in 2016 without a little back door maneuvering by party leaders to force out a white male socialist (in Bernie Sanders) who was polling better than Clinton.
Which brings us to the next presidential election, to be held in 2020, and to a field of candidates that is crowded with women, blacks, Hispanics, Muslims, and other demographics too numerous to mention, all waiting impatiently for their turn to be the first [fill in the blank] president. How committed is the Democratic Party to its implied message of inclusion?
Here’s statistician Harry Enten, now a CNN analyst, evaluating the Dems’ prospects. As he runs through his top ten, which includes Obama HUD Secretary Julian Castro, who just threw his hat in the ring, Enten pauses on number 8, Sherrod Brown. His comments, which begin at 1:46 in the following video, appear in transcript below:
If you want to win in the Midwest, there may not be a better man than this guy. So if Democrats want to play, this is an interesting guy for them. I will point out though, another white male. I am very suspect of that this year going into a Democratic primary with women doing well and the African-American face of the Democratic party, I am not sure it’s the time to nominate a white man. [Emphasis added]
Responding to the observation, Hot Air’s Allahpundit notes:
Enten’s not giving you his personal take on white male candidates writ large or white men in general, he’s saying that to Democratic primary voters being a traditional white male candidate may be more of a liability than an asset at this point. Which is true. By the time 2020 gets here, it’ll be 16 years since they’ll have nominated one for president and almost 24 years since they successfully elected one president. (Trivia: The last white male Democrat to win a majority of the popular vote was, er, Jimmy Carter, who got 50.1 percent. To find the last white male Democrat who won with a decisive majority of the popular vote you have to go back to LBJ’s landslide over Goldwater in 1964.) The party depends even more heavily now on minority and women voters to offset the GOP’s advantage with whites and men than it did in the past. And because the left measures all things in terms of “progress,” nominating a white guy after the trailblazing candidacies of Obama and Hillary will be seen by some as a “step back.” Activist righties spend much of their time nowadays complaining about the left’s obsession with identity politics, with good reason, but that’s exactly Enten’s point in the segment. Identity politics will matter next year in the primary. A lot.