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.
    Testing Bamboo as Building Materiali
    X
    June 27, 2016 9:06 PM
    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapides’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora