The departure of a top-tier, charismatic candidate from a presidential race usually results in a collective sigh of relief from the remaining candidates, who are glad to have one fewer competitor for campaign donations and voters support.
Instead, the news that Sen. Kamala Harris of California was dropping out of the Democratic presidential primary race has unleashed distress and frustration from fellow Democrats frustrated that their party – whose future relies on the diversity it champions – is using a nomination process that makes it harder for people of color to be heard.
“There’s a renewed sense out there that our primaries need better representation. … We need a process that speaks to – that represents – people of all different backgrounds, Democratic primary candidate Julian Castro, former secretary of Housing and Urban Development, told reporters in a conference call Thursday.
With Harris’ announcement earlier this week that she didn’t have the money to stay in the race, Democratic debate stage Dec. 19 as of now includes just white candidates, a startling development for a party that boasted the most diverse slate of primary candidates in history.
Castro and others complain that the process – which relies on the number of individual donors and rankings in select polls – favors wealthy, self-funded candidates. Having first contests in the heavily white states of Iowa and New Hampshire does not reflect the diversity of the party, they say.