Home Opinion OPINION: Democrats Discuss ー Representation among the 2020 Democratic candidates matters

OPINION: Democrats Discuss ー Representation among the 2020 Democratic candidates matters

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Jonathan Sweeney is a senior studying strategic communications and a member of the Ohio University College Democrats. The following article reflects the opinion and views of the author and does not present the thoughts of the Ohio University College Democrats. 

This is a submitted column, and please note that these views and opinions do not reflect those of The New Political. 

 

As a young queer man, it matters to me that Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, is a major candidate currently running to be the president. It is especially important because he is the first openly gay party presidential candidate and the first presidential candidate to be in a same-sex marriage.

He may not be my favorite candidate, but the fact that an openly gay man is a serious contender to be president is historic and important. Because he is one out of 18 Democratic candidates running, that means that he represents only roughly 6% of the candidates. The estimated LGBTQ+ population in the U.S. is about 4.5%, making this representation fair.

That does not mean that all representation is “good representation.” There are certainly issues with Buttigieg, especially with his handling of racism and corruption in the South Bend Police Department

Hopefully, though, the fact he is in the race will be a stepping stone for a better and more diverse pool of queer presidential candidates in the future. This is not to say it will all be because of him. Black queers, transgender, non-binary people and femmes have always been behind the scenes advancing the rights for all queer citizens.

Among the other 18 or so major candidates running as of Oct. 24, there is a lot of diversity. In fact, I believe the current slate of candidates is the most diverse our country has ever seen. This race has the highest number of non-white, female and openly queer candidates.

There are five women in the race, including  Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, Sen. Kamala Harris of California, Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and author Marianne Williamson. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York was running but has since dropped out of the race. The current female candidates make up around 28% of the people running.

Six of the candidates are not white, including Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro, businessman Andrew Yang, Mayor Wayne Messam of Miramar, Florida, in addition to Gabbard and Harris. That is only 33% of those running.

There is also a wide arrange of ages within this group of candidates. Gov. Steve Bullock of Montana, Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado, former Maryland representative, John Delaney, Booker, Harris and Klobuchar are between 50 and 60. Former congressman Beto O’Rourke, Messam and Yang are all between 40 and 50. Castro, Buttigieg and Gabbard are under 40.

As you can see with all of these statistics, there is very good diversity among these candidates in terms of race, gender and age. There is even an array of jobs and experiences among the candidates. Yes, there needs to be a lot more visibility and representation in politics, but we have come a long way. That gives me even more hope that the next Democratic slate will be a beautiful representation of America. Whether certain people want to admit it or not, America is becoming less white, straight, cisgender and Christian, and hopefully, our politics will one day represent that.

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