What’s happening: The Democratic Party, which claims to value diversity and affirmative action, keeps boosting white candidates in state primaries to prevent a qualified black candidate from winning the nomination.
California: Rep. Barbara Lee (D., Calif.) is trying to become the state’s first fully black U.S. senator. She is running to replace the retiring Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.).
• Lee’s historic efforts to bring diversity and equity to the U.S. Senate should have precluded any non-diverse Democrats from entering the race.
• Alas, two white candidates with deep ties to the national Democratic Party—Reps. Katie Porter and Adam Schiff—decided their personal ambition was more important than combating white supremacy.
• Porter, a privileged graduate of elite schools such as the Phillips Academy, Yale, and Harvard, went so far as to urge Gov. Gavin Newsom (D., Calif.) to appoint a black woman to Feinstein’s seat in the event the 90-year-old lawmaker stepped down before 2024. She evidently does not believe a black woman is qualified to serve a full term.
Michigan: The field of Democrats vying to succeed retiring Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D., Mich.) in 2024 is historically diverse: Two black women, a black man (actor Hill Harper), and an Arab-American businessman have announced their candidacies. Wow!
• That didn’t stop national Democrats from trying to recruit Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, who recently bought a house in Michigan, to run for the U.S. Senate.
• It didn’t stop Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D., Mich.), a white woman with ties to the CIA, from entering the primary. Slotkin is the Democratic Party’s “consensus candidate” despite her glaring lack of diverse characteristics, Politico reported.
Virginia: Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D., Va.), another white woman with ties to the CIA, is reportedly planning to run for governor in 2025, Politico reported last month.
• Axios reported in March that Spanberger “hasn’t made up her mind” about a gubernatorial bid but noted that Richmond mayor Levar Stoney, a qualified black man, was “all in on 2025.”
• There is no question that Spanberger, a member of the Democratic leadership team in the House, would be heavily favored in the race thanks in large part to the support of national Democrats and special interest groups.
Why it matters: Despite their alleged support for racial diversity and affirmative action, national Democrats have shown a strong preference for privileged white candidates in contested primaries.
Crucial context: During the 2020 election cycle, the Democratic Party spent more than $50 million backing white candidates over qualified black candidates in key U.S. Senate primaries.
• Erica Smith, a former state lawmaker who lost the primary for U.S. Senate in North Carolina, accused Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) of racism after Schumer urged Democratic donors to support her white male opponent, Cal Cunningham. “Sen. Schumer, for whatever reason, did not want an African American running for Senate in North Carolina,” Smith said.
• That same year, national Democrats endorsed M.J. Hegar in the U.S. Senate primary in Texas. The endorsement came at the expense of black state senator Royce West, who called it a “slap in the face” and accused party leaders of “trying to lock African Americans out of the process.”
• President Joe Biden’s approval rating among black voters has declined significantly since he took office in 2021.
Bottom line: Democrats talk a big game when it comes to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Nevertheless, their actions suggest they don’t think black candidates have what it takes to win elections. That’s racist.
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