Democrat Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (NY) is worried that her party's got a white guy problem when it comes to 2020. With impeachment-minded Democrats preparing to take back control of the House and all the ominous reports about the president being increasingly isolated amid the tightening Mueller investigation, the Democrats are in prime position to finally take down Trump in 2020. All they need is the right candidate to face off against Trump — and Gillibrand suggests a white guy might not be the right guy.
During an interview with CNN's Van Jones Friday night, Gillibrand admitted that she is troubled that Democrats are choosing white guys for their top 2020 candidates. A new CNN poll found that three white guys (two ancient, one less so, all pretty well off) are currently leading the crowded field of Democratic presidential hopefuls: twice-failed presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden, thwarted 2016 presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (VT), and Senate seat loser Rep. Beto O'Rourke (TX).
"In a party as diverse as ours, does it worry you to see the top three being white guys?" Jones asked Gillibrand, in a moment highlighted by The Hill. "Yes," said Gillibrand.
Asked to elaborate on her one-word answer, she responded by suggesting that Democrats choosing three white men over the women and minorities in the long list of presidential hopefuls is more evidence that this country doesn't fully embrace diversity, though she did celebrate that Barack Obama was elected twice.
"I aspire for our country to recognize the beauty of our diversity at some point in the future and I hope someday we have a woman president," she said. "I love the fact that Barack Obama was our president for eight years, I hope more people of color not only aspire [but] win the presidency, because that’s what makes America so extraordinary, that we are all of that, we are everything, and I think a more inclusive America is a stronger America."
Asked if she's considering running, she said she's "definitely" looking into it and will likely reach a decision over the holidays.
The poll that has Gillibrand and others so "worried" is a recent CNN poll showing Biden, Bernie and Beto collectively taking 53% of the votes out of a field of nearly two dozen. The top-placing woman, Sen. Kamala Harris (CA), only reaches number 5, and that's a tie. Gillibrand comes in tied with several other folks at 10th. The first minority is Sen. Cory Booker (NJ) in a distant fourth. Here's CNN's list of all the 2020 hopefuls that got at least 1% in the poll:
- Joe Biden 30%
- Bernie Sanders 14%
- Beto O'Rourke 9%
- Cory Booker 5%
- Kamala Harris 4%
- John Kerry 4%
- Elizabeth Warren 3%
- Michael Bloomberg 3%
- Amy Klobuchar 3%
- Eric Holder 1%
- Kirsten Gillibrand 1%
- Steve Bullock 1%
- Sherrod Brown 1%
- Jay Inslee 1%
- Terry McAuliffe 1%
- Eric Garcetti 1%
According to CNN's poll, only four of the Democrats' top 16 candidates are women, and only one of those women is a minority (Harris). Out of the top 16, only three are minorities (Booker, Harris, and Holder). Warren, who used to be a top contender, has plummeted, earning just 3% of the votes following her racially charged DNA test fiasco.
Gillibrand isn't the only person to openly express concerns to CNN about white guys leading the field for Democrats ahead of 2020. CNN analyst Harry Enten of FiveThirtyEight likewise worried aloud last week that it might not be the right time for Democrats to "nominate a white man."
"I'm very suspect of that this year going into a Democratic primary with women doing well and the African- American base of the Democratic Party," said Enten. "I'm not sure it's the time to nominate a white man." Video below via RCP: