The Republicans (and the conservative movement) now have an assortment of stars who are female and/or minority, but far fewer overall female and minority elected officials, and have a hard time winning votes from nonwhites and from unmarried women. Democrats, on the other hand, win big among nonwhites and (single) women, and have many more nonwhite and female elected officials, but—with the exception of the president—have few among them who are standouts by any description. In short, there is a quality/quantity split that should perplex both parties.
Among the Hispanics in Congress, for instance, Democrats have 25 against 8 for Republicans. But Republicans have 4 minority governors (2 of them female) to 1 for the Democrats, the sole black who is now in the Senate, and 3 minority senators to the Democrats’ 1. Republicans need to draw more votes from nonwhites and women; Democrats need to find more who can run on a national ticket. Why does the GOP, which gets few votes from these factions, produce and accept so many as leaders, while the Democrats, who have so many votes (and so many B-listers) struggle to find real stars?
The Democrats’ problem was first tagged in late 2010 by Josh Kraushaar of the National Journal, after the Tea Party wave in the midterm elections deposited Reps. Scott and Allen West, Sen. Marco Rubio, and governors Susana Martinez, Brian Sandoval, and Nikki Haley (who appointed Scott to the Senate) on the GOP’s beach. It was true that the Republicans had only 13 blacks, Hispanics, and Asian Americans in state or national office compared with 75 for the Democrats; but the bulk of the latter were mayors of largely black cities, or congressmen from specially crafted minority districts, elected as representatives of that minority, by largely minority votes.