Believe it or not, Democrats have a diversity problem. Yes, nearly a third of House Democrats are non-white. “But look deeper … and it’s apparent the Democrats’ strong racial record is somewhat misleading,” argues Josh Kraushaar of the National Journal, because most minority Democrats hail from districts specifically gerrymandered to elect minorities. Of the 75 black, Hispanic, and Asian-American Democrats in Congress and governorships, only nine come from majority-white districts. Next year, that number will fall to six.
Most black Democrats spend their careers in the House, because they’re too liberal to appeal to state-wide electorates. Republicans, by contrast, launched a concerted effort to recruit minorities this year, nearly doubling their total. That still only brings them to 13, but 10 of them represent majority-white constituencies, and many are already considered national-level contenders. That success “should serve as a wake-up call to Democrats,” says Kraushaar. If they don’t find more minority moderates, “the rise of Obama could be more the exception than the rule.”