Take that, Cory Booker! The DNC stopped “spiraling towards a debate stage with no diversity whatsoever” late yesterday, courtesy of a new Quinnipiac poll. With today’s deadline for qualifying for the December 19th Democratic presidential debate, Andrew Yang has seized the seventh podium on stage.
Booker should be pleased, right? Or did he have an Asian-American millionaire [see update below] in mind when he called for more “diversity”?
Only two days before the deadline to qualify for the last Democratic presidential primary debate of 2019, entrepreneur Andrew Yang secured his last qualifying poll to join six of his competitors in Los Angeles on Dec. 19, marking the only candidate of color who will appear on the stage so far.
Yang cleared the polling threshold after receiving 4% support among Democratic voters and Democratic-leaning independent voters in a national Quinnipiac poll released on Tuesday. …
Yang brings the total number of qualifying candidates who have crossed both the polling and grassroots donor hurdles up to seven for December’s matchup, according to an ABC News’ analysis. He will join: former Vice President Joe Biden, South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, billionaire Tom Steyer, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
Booker hasn’t yet commented on Yang’s success, but he hinted last week about how he’d feel about it:
There are more billionaires than Black people who’ve made the December debate stage—that’s a problem. pic.twitter.com/yL1HbFt2BD
— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) December 4, 2019
Yang’s good enough for NPR’s Diversity Watch, but they also hint that it might not be enough for some others:
The Asian American candidate also brings some needed diversity to the debate stage amid criticism that the event could feature only white candidates after California Sen. Kamala Harris, who had already qualified, dropped out last week. …
Those benchmarks exclude New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, who made the November debate, along with former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, who hasn’t debated since October. Their absence leaves the stage without an African American or Hispanic candidate — both demographics important to the makeup of the Democratic Party. Neither has registered a qualifying poll so far, and with only two days left to do so the likelihood of making the cut is slim.
Well, some diversities are better than others, but this is actually curious. Julián Castro is nothing more than a fringe candidate, but Booker’s a Senator representing a fairly populous state. He’s one of two black senators that entered the race, with the highly touted Harris being the other — who crashed out last month. One would have expected more support from the Democrats’ own diversity caucuses for either or both of these two senators, and the exit of one to benefit the other. What happened?
To hear Booker and Harris explain it, their failure comes as a direct result of racism within the electorate, although it would have to be among the Democrat-voting electorate in a primary cycle. A better explanation is that identity politics doesn’t sell outside of the Beltway and Academia, not even among Democrats. Most voters care about electability and policy, not immutable characteristics. That’s why Joe Biden has such strong support from black voters, and why they didn’t line up behind either Harris or Booker.
One would have thought that these candidates would have learned that lesson from Hillary Clinton’s “You Owe Me The Presidency” campaign. Apparently not, but they’re learning now that it takes more than an appeal to ethnicity to capture the loyalty of voters. Perhaps they’re also learning that eat-the-rich rhetoric doesn’t sell either, not even among Democrats who a billionair on the stage for next Thursday’s debate and another in Mike Bloomberg saturating the airwaves around it.
Update: I was very much mistaken about Yang’s net worth, which isn’t ten figures. It’s much closer to seven figures, so he’s not anywhere close to a billionaire. Thanks to YangGang member Yenni Desroches for pointing out my error, and I have removed two references to Yang being a billionaire from my post, and I apologize for the sloppy mistake on my part.