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