Representative Alan Grayson (D, Fl) made some points on the lack of diversity and pluralism within the Republican party that bare repeating as we move towards 2016. While the midterms saw the largest gains for the Republican party since 1924, it was in a year that saw the lowest voter turnout in 72 years. Presidential elections are national and thus very different from midterms.
I See White People
For a five-month period that ended last week, every single elected Republican in Congress was a white Christian. Eric Cantor is Jewish. He left office on August 1 last year. Since then, the entire elected GOP caucus, in both the House and the Senate, was comprised of only white Christians.
13 percent of America is African-American. 9 percent is of mixed race. 5 percent is Asian. 24 percent does not identify itself as Christian. Zero percent of those groups served as elected Congressional Republicans during the past five months.
Tim Scott was sworn into the Senate last week, and Mia Love and Will Hurd were sworn into the House. That makes three elected African-American House Republicans, up from zero. They join 43 African-American Democrats.
Lee Zeldin was also sworn into the House Tuesday. That makes one elected Jewish House Republican, up from zero. He joins 27 Jewish Democrats, two Muslim Democrats, two Buddhist Democrats and one Hindu Democrat.
The GOP is now a predominanly white and overwhelmingly Christian party. This point of view is represented in their positions on immigration, affirmative action, voter suppression, abortion and marriage equality.
The news isn’t all bad however. The midterms saw the GOP achieve its largest gains since the 1990’s with Asian American voters. They also made great strides attaining Latino voters.
Still, approaching 2016, the lack of diversity in candidates will be problematic. Democrats at this point are poised to nominate a female candidate following the two term black President they nominated in 2008. If Americans can bank on the GOP running a White, male, Christian candidate, you can bank on the electorate choosing another “first” nominated by Democrats.