Diversity suffers as Democratic field narrows

Kamala Harris speaks at the National Forum on Wages and Working People in Las Vegas, Nevada // Photo courtesy of flickr.com.

On Tuesday, December 3, Democratic United States Senator Kamala Harris of California informed the public that she would be dropping out of the presidential race. Before entering the race, Harris served as the District Attorney of San Francisco from 2004 to 2011. She then served as the Attorney General of California from 2010 to 2016 before getting elected to the United States Senate in 2017. 

As the first Senator with both Jamaican and Native American ancestry, Harris wanted to be the first black woman to win a major political party’s presidential nomination and hopefully get elected as the first black female president. Now that Harris is out of the race, the only women left running for United States President are Marianne Williamson, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, and Senators Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar. 

The Democratic Party started out with over 20 presidential candidates, but only seven of them qualify for the December Democratic debate, according to washingtonpost.com. 

Many people are upset that Harris dropped out of the race because at the June and August debates, she gained much popularity and her polling numbers rose. However, as the debates continued, she lost traction and barely qualified for the following rounds of debates, which resulted in her dropping out of the presidential race altogether. 

“I feel like it is sad that she is dropping out as the only black woman who was in the race, but truthfully Democrats need to drop out because there are too many running right now and we just [need] one good Democratic candidate,” Cassandra Culhane (’22) said. 

According to an interview with Harris on PBS Newshour, she started her campaign in January 2019 with high expectations. However, unlike Democratic billionaire candidates Thomas Steyer and former Mayor of New York City Michael Bloomberg, Harris did not have enough funds to pay for her own presidential campaign. As she refused to accept corporate, Political Action Committee (PAC), and lobbyist donations for her campaign, Senator Harris stated that it grew harder as time went on to raise money and compete alongside the other Democratic candidates who happened to be making more money than her such as former Vice President Joseph Biden. 

“While I am sad that she dropped out, I think that it was a wise decision for her to drop out of the race due to her having problems raising money for her campaign and her decline in the polls. I think that if she kept going she would face more bumps in the road due to financial issues,” Joshua Charleston (’20) said. 

For example, many Democratic candidates such as Marianne Williamson have not qualified for the debates in months nor have they been receiving enough funding to successfully continue their presidential race, however they are still attempting to keep on running. 

Many people hoped that Senator Harris would be the president that would stand up for minority groups as she is a black woman with both Native American and Jamaican ancestry. Her key points for her presidential campaign dealt with issues surrounding poverty, women’s rights, and criminal justice. 

“I loved how Senator Harris wanted to fix income inequality by helping to give money for low-income families and I think it is upsetting that she dropped out of the race,” Marijke ChandraRaj (’20) said. 

However, the Democratic candidates running for president comprise of the most diverse group in American history, and although there are only four white males and two white women that have so far qualified for the next round of debates, the diversity will forever stand out and pave the path for the future of American politics. 

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