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.
    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Processi
    X
    Katherine Gypson
    July 27, 2016 6:21 PM
    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora