News

    Presidential Candidates Show New Diversity

    Public opinion polls show the two leading candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination are a woman -- Senator Hillary Clinton -- and an African-American -- Senator Barack Obama.  Observers say the Hispanic governor of New Mexico, Bill Richardson, also could be a strong contender. Leta Hong Fincher has more on how the American public's acceptance of diversity has evolved.

    Twenty years ago, Ellen Malcolm started a political network in Washington called EMILY's List to raise money for Democratic Party women candidates. At that time, she says no one took women seriously in politics.

    "Before we had a lot of women in office, I think voters didn't know what to make of a woman candidate,” says Ms. Malcolm. “They were sort of stymied; they had no reference points. What would a woman running for the Senate be like, or sound like or look like? And when they weren't used to it, they would kind of fall back on a lot of gender stereotypes."

    Since then, Malcolm says voters have become much more comfortable with the idea of electing women to political office. EMILY's List is for the first time endorsing a woman -- Democratic Senator Hillary Clinton -- for president.

    "I think voters now are used to seeing women run and women win and do good job in office. And I hope that new confidence in women in politics is going to make Hillary Clinton the first woman president," Malcolm says.

    Public opinion polls show that Clinton is the Democratic frontrunner for president.

    "I'm in, I'm in to win, and that's what I intend to do," the senator said to a gathering recently.

    Viable candidates for president also include an African-American---Senator Barack Obama. He announced, "I'll be filing papers today to create a presidential exploratory committee."

    And a Hispanic -- New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson. "Our reputation in the world is diminished, our economy has languished, and civility and common decency in government have perished," said the governor in a prepared video.

    All three of these political leaders are legitimate candidates for president.

    Scott Keeter directs surveys for the Pew Research Center in Washington. "It's really a reflection of the growing diversity of the society,” says Keeter. “With the tremendous amount of immigration that's occurred in the last few decades in the United States and the growing diversity of our population, especially the younger population, people are much more comfortable with others who are not like them. And that has extended to politics as well."

    Keeter says many Americans are now able to look beyond the gender or race of political candidates when evaluating their skills and leadership potential.

    By the same token, observers say presidential candidates will be unable to win a general election by targeting minority voters alone.

    Take the Hispanic population -- the fastest growing minority group in the United States. Stephen Hess, an elections expert at the Brookings Institution research group in Washington, says this trend does not necessarily benefit Richardson's bid for the Democratic presidential nomination.

    "As opposed to some other communities, which are much more set in their ways politically, such as the African-American community, which overwhelmingly identifies with the Democratic Party, the Hispanic community is very much up for grabs."

    Similarly, Hess says there is no indication that Obama would win the African-American vote against Clinton. Opinion polls show she is popular among black communities.

    "Barack Obama did not come up through the ranks as an African-American leader, as Jesse Jackson had, or another politician, Al Sharpton, where there are very strong feelings because basically they've made their mark as a leader of their own community, trying to make demands on the rest of society as a minority group,” Hess told us. “That hasn't been his route at all."

    Hess says Obama has risen just as any other politician would, by representing the people of his state regardless of whether they are black or white.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora