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Non-White Democratic Primary Voters Aren’t Interested in the Non-White Candidates

Former Vice President Joe Biden at the Democratic presidential primary debate in Atlanta, Ga., November 20, 2019. (Brendan McDermid/Reuters)

Nate Silver observes that the six candidates who have qualified for the December Democratic primary debate are all white: Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Tom Steyer, Pete Buttigieg, and Amy Klobuchar. (Insert your “wait, one of them is Native American” joke here.)

The thing is, a big reason that the non-white candidates aren’t qualifying for the debate is that non-white Democratic primary voters aren’t that interested in supporting them.

In Quinnipiac’s national poll, among blacks, the order of preference is Biden 43 percent, Sanders 11 percent, Warren 6 percent, Kamala Harris 5 percent, Buttigeig 4 percent (!), and Booker at 3 percent.

Among blacks in South Carolina, the order of preference is Biden 44 percent, Sanders 10 percent, Elizabeth Warren 8 percent, Harris 6 percent, Tom Steyer 4 percent, and Cory Booker 2 percent.

In the Fox News poll of likely Nevada caucus-goers, among Hispanics, the order of preference is Sanders 31 percent, Biden 24 percent, Warren 10 percent, Andrew Yang 5 percent. Julian Castro comes in at 3 percent in this demographic. Back in November, the Latino Community Foundation survey of registered Latino voters who plan to participate in the Democratic primary in California, found Sanders at 31 percent, Biden at 22 percent, Warren at 11, Castro at 9 percent, and Harris at 8 percent.

In the Siena poll of those likely to vote in the Florida Democratic presidential primary, the split among blacks was Biden 31 percent, Warren 19 percent, Sanders 7 percent; Harris 2 percent. Cory Booker scored a zero. The split among Latinos was Sanders 24 percent, Biden 21 percent, Warren 17 percent, Buttigeig 5 percent. Castro scored a zero.

Silver adds, “If the Democratic Party wants a field that’s representative of its members and its voters, it probably shouldn’t have two states as white as Iowa and New Hampshire vote first every year.” Except . . . the non-white presidential candidates aren’t generating much interest from anyone, including non-white voters, in places like Nevada and South Carolina and Florida and California, either.

Allow me to float an alternative theory: What if Harris, Booker, and Castro are just . . . not good candidates?

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