Sen. Kamala Harris’s (D-CA) dramatic exit from the 2020 Democrat presidential primary race has many on the left lamenting the current lineup for the upcoming debate, which currently has six candidates qualifying, all of whom are white.
Harris exited the race on Tuesday as one of the seven Democrat candidates who met the fundraising and polling thresholds required to qualify for the December 19 debate in Los Angeles at Loyola Marymount University. In order to qualify, a candidate must report at least 200,000 contributions and reach four percent in four Democratic National Committee (DNC) approved polls or reach six percent in two qualifying early state polls.
Only seven candidates — Harris included — had matched those requirements as of Tuesday: Joe Biden (D); Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN); Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D), and Tom Steyer (D). Harris’s departure leaves just six candidates currently qualifying, all of whom are white.
Many noticed this trend and voiced their observations on social media:
“White supremacy is not just a Fox News problem, folks,” former Teen Vogue columnist Lauren Duca wrote:
Kamala Harris officially ended her campaign today, which means that all of the candidates who currently qualify for the December Democratic debate are white (Sanders, Warren, Biden, Buttigieg, Klobuchar, and Steyer).
White supremacy is not just a Fox News problem, folks.
— Lauren Duca (@laurenduca) December 3, 2019
“There was a coordinated right wing campaign against Harris, and a lot of those talking points were taken up by liberals, and now we’re set to have an all white debate stage,” comedienne Ashley Nicole Black wrote.
“That’s how this works. We’re not immune because we’re liberal,” she added:
There was a coordinated right wing campaign against Harris, and a lot of those talking points were taken up by liberals, and now we’re set to have an all white debate stage. That’s how this works. We’re not immune because we’re liberal.
— Ashley Nicole Black (@ashleyn1cole) December 3, 2019
“With Kamala Harris out, the debate stage in December at this point will be all white candidates. Striking for a field that was historically large and historically diverse,” Washington Post reporter Matt Viser observed:
With Kamala Harris out, the debate stage in December at this point will be all white candidates. Striking for a field that was historically large and historically diverse. Here's who has qualified:
— Matt Viser (@mviser) December 3, 2019
Sen. Harris had already qualified for the upcoming Democratic debate on December 19.
Now that she has dropped out, the debate lineup is currently entirely white — as of today, Andrew Yang, Cory Booker, Julian Castro, Tulsi Gabbard, and Deval Patrick have not yet qualified.
— Vox (@voxdotcom) December 3, 2019
Castro doesn't ever get mentioned, Harris is getting run out of the race, and cable news is head over heels in love with Biden, Bloomberg and Buttigieg. Moderate white guys are performing so well in the polls in large part because of how they are being propped up by the media.
— Adam Best (@adamcbest) December 3, 2019
Harris's withdrawal means that only 6 actively-running Dems are qualified for the December debate so far. Biden, Buttigieg, Klobuchar, Sanders, Steyer (as of this morning), and Warren.
All are white, in this historically diverse field.
— Taniel (@Taniel) December 3, 2019
Kamala Harris’ campaign was historic — a black and South Asian female candidate whose potential seemed sky high early on.
Her dropping out means that every candidate that’s qualified so far for the next debate is white: Biden, Buttigieg, Klobuchar, Sanders, Steyer and Warren.
— MJ Lee (@mj_lee) December 3, 2019
Black folks will have a hard time admitting this openly, but so many didn’t support Kamala Harris because of (in no particular order) — fears white people wouldn’t vote for her, and holding her to a different standard than others.
Also, many similarities to Shirley Chisholm. https://t.co/rNP9jyOkCk
— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) December 4, 2019
At this point, we have 7 Democrats qualified for the December debate stage and they are all white. This is sickening.
— Jim Kessler (@ThirdWayKessler) December 3, 2019
Somewhere a man is typing up his “Why Kamala failed” story and he is not considering race or gender bias and so if you are that man please reconsider your position or read a book
— Zerlina Maxwell (@ZerlinaMaxwell) December 3, 2019
If Kamala Harris is dropping out today, as is being reported, that means–among other things–that no candidates of color are yet slated for the December debate. Six white candidates have qualified. Folks, that's a huge red flag, and we need to talk about it.
— Charlotte Clymer🏳️🌈 (@cmclymer) December 3, 2019
Two SITTING WOMEN SENATORS, Gillibrand and Harris, were forced out of this race while non-office-holders Bloomberg and Steyer bought their way in. And it's not just because they can, but because our broken system continues to allows white, male billionaires like them to do it.
— Lauren Rankin (@laurenarankin) December 3, 2019
Julián Castro (D) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) — who remain in the race but have yet to qualify for the debate — slammed the current debate stage lineup.
“What we’re staring at is a DNC debate stage with no people of color on it,” Castro said. “That does not reflect the diversity of our party or our country. We need to do better than that”:
“What we’re staring at is a DNC debate stage with no people of color on it. That does not reflect the diversity of our party or our country. We need to do better than that.” pic.twitter.com/W73Nw3WI14
— Sawyer Hackett (@SawyerHackett) December 3, 2019
“I’m a little angry, I have to say, that we started with one of the most diverse fields in our history, giving people pride,” Booker told MSNBC’s Chris Hayes on Tuesday.
“And it’s a damn shame now that the only African American woman in this race, who has been speaking to issues that need to be brought up, is now no longer in it,” he continued.
“And we’re spiraling towards a debate stage that potentially … could have six people with no diversity whatsoever,” he added:
Despite the inferences, Harris lagged with support from black voters and took a particularly hard hit after Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) challenged her prosecutorial record during July’s Democrat debate.
Throughout the course of her campaign, Harris was unable to match Biden’s strong support among black voters.
As Breitbart News’s John Nolte reported in August:
In the latest polling, Harris, who is black, is also doing far worse with non-white voters than three of the whitest people in America: Biden, Warren, and Sanders. Whereas they earn 32, 13, and 15 percent of the non-white vote, respectively, Harris earns a measly seven percent.
Even the New York Times acknowledged Harris’s disconnect with black voters:
But in interviews with more than two dozen black voters in Atlanta and across South Carolina, many articulated a particular disenchantment with the idea that racial representation equated to change, and that they should automatically back a candidate who looked like them.
“If I had a Kamala Harris or a Cory Booker that sounded like Bernie Sanders, of course I would choose them, because they’re closer to my lived experience,” Atlanta-area barber Aqil Shakur told the Times.
“But the Kamalas and the Corys aren’t discussing the issues he’s discussing,” he added.