According to every poll so far, the only 2020 candidates with a chance in hell of capturing the Democratic nomination are Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders. And even Sanders has quite a bit of room to make up if he wants to face Trump in the general. And according to research from the University of North Carolina, this situation is making Democrat voters very unhappy. With more than 20 candidates in the field, many of them minorities of one kind or another, why can’t the party of identity politics nominate a woman, or a black person, or a black woman?
From Andrew Reynolds, a UNC professor writing for Politico:
With shifting attitudes and demographics among the Democratic base, is a straight white man really what the party wants in this moment? We did some research, and it turns out that even among white male voters in the Democratic primary, the answer is no. In other words, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders may be leading the polls despite their race and gender, rather than because of it.
In a large, nationally representative survey at the end of 2018, we presented respondents with pairs of hypothetical candidates and asked them to vote for their preferred ones. In the survey, we randomized candidate gender, sexual orientation, race and ethnicity, religion, education, age, health and political experience. Because of that randomization, we can estimate the independent effect of each candidate characteristic (for example, being gay) on vote choice while controlling for other attributes (such as being a young, white, religious, man).
What we found was that, at least in the 2020 Democratic presidential campaign, candidates are likely to be viewed more favorably for being nonwhite and nonmale—but not for being nonstraight.
To make a long story short (and to make sense out of how Democratic voters could both want Biden and Bernie and not want them at the same time), here’s the gist of it: Democrat voters want black, female, Hispanic, etc. candidates. In other words, Biden and Bernie are actually the ones overcoming racial and gender obstacles! Democrat voters really, really want to run a minority, but these two candidates are just too good to pass up.
We think that’s what Reynolds is getting at, anyway. Once you go too far this identity politics rabbit hole, it’s easy to lose the point.
Frankly, we find it a huge step backwards in American culture that we should openly “prefer” candidates based on what race, sex, sexual identity, etc. they are. And an even bigger step backwards that the media actually encourages us to take these markers seriously. Alas, this is what the left has been fighting for, and now they’ve got it. We guess we’ll take the small encouragement that, even with all that nonsense hanging in the air, two old white guys are still dominating the race. Maybe that’s a sign that people don’t actually take this stuff as seriously as the powers-that-be would have us believe.