In the 2018 midterm elec­tions, di­ver­sity has be­come a po­lit­i­cal move­ment,

The State (Sunday) - - Front Page - BY K.K. RE­BECCA LAI, DENISE LU, LISA LERER AND TROY GRIGGS

In the 2018 midterm elec­tions, di­ver­sity has be­come a po­lit­i­cal move­ment. Ris­ing out of the protests in the early months of the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion, an un­prece­dented num­ber of women, peo­ple of color, and les­bian, gay, bi­sex­ual and trans­gen­der can­di­dates are now run­ning for Congress and gover­nor, ac­cord­ing to a New York Times anal­y­sis.

The per­cent­age of can­di­dates who are white men is the low­est it has been in the last four elec­tions, ac­cord­ing to data avail­able to The Times.

If she won, Ge­or­gia’s Stacey Abrams would be the first black wo­man elected gover­nor of any state. Rep. Mar­sha Black­burn would be Ten­nessee’s first fe­male sen­a­tor. And Jared Po­lis of Colorado would be the na­tion’s first openly gay man to be elected gover­nor. Scores of oth­ers could make his­tory if they win their races.

The ef­forts of these can­di­dates and oth­ers like them point to a ma­jor shift in the kinds of Amer­i­cans choos­ing to pur­sue pub­lic ser­vice through elected of­fice. Their can­di­da­cies are likely to have lon­glast­ing im­pacts on po­lit­i­cal rep­re­sen­ta­tion in the United States, though they are un­likely to rad­i­cally change the over­all com­po­si­tion of the House, Se­nate and gov­er­nor­ships.

There are more new faces than in­cum­bents in this di­verse co­hort of can­di­dates. More than a quar­ter of all the can­di­dates run­ning this year are fe­male, in­clud­ing 84 women of color – a 42 per­cent in­crease from just two years ago. There are at least 215 can­di­dates of color and a record 26 openly LGBT can­di­dates, more than five times the num­ber in 2010.

The iden­ti­ties of the can­di­dates are play­ing out against the back­drop of an elec­tion fu­eled by is­sues of race and gen­der.

“There is a sense that our com­mu­ni­ties are un­der at­tack and we are the best ad­vo­cates for poli­cies that will fight back against those at­tacks,” said Sayu Bho­jwani, pres­i­dent of New Amer­i­can Lead­ers, an or­ga­ni­za­tion that helps im­mi­grants run for pub­lic of­fice.

The di­ver­sity is not uni­form. Among Demo­cratic can­di­dates, white men are ac­tu­ally a mi­nor­ity, mak­ing up just 41 per­cent of can­di­dates for Congress and gover­nor this year.

The other side of the aisle looks a lot dif­fer­ent: Three in four Repub­li­can can­di­dates are white men. In gover­nor’s races this year, there are no black or Latino Repub­li­can can­di­dates.

Cur­rently, white men make up a third of the U.S. pop­u­la­tion, but 69 per­cent of all gov­er­nors and mem­bers of Congress.

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