About the cabinet of newly elected President Barack Obama, the Los Angeles Times gushed in 2008: "Seldom has a presidential Cabinet included so many intellectual and political heavyweights. Obama's other achievement is to have assembled such an impressive team with due deference to the need for an administration that 'looks like America' — Bill Clinton's shorthand for ethnic and gender diversity."
Sounding the same "diversity" theme, former Vice President Joe Biden recently told NPR: "I have the most diverse staff of anybody running. I've always done that. ... The country has to look like, the administration should look like, the American public."
But after Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., dropped out, Democratic president candidate Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., complained about the prospect of the next Democratic debate stage with "no diversity whatsoever."
Booker said on MSNBC: "I'm a little angry. I have to say that we started with one of the most diverse fields in our history, giving people pride, and it's a damn shame now that the only African American woman in this race, who has been speaking to issues that need to be brought up, is now no longer in it, and we're spiraling towards a debate stage that potentially ... could have six people with no diversity whatsoever. The way this is shaping up, especially with the rules of the DNC, it is preferencing millionaires and billionaires and a lot of other things that don't ever translate into viability in Iowa."
"Giving people pride"?
If Booker is referring to blacks, lack of self-esteem is hardly the problem. As conservative columnist Dinesh D'Souza points out, "Several studies have shown that, within the U.S., black males have the highest self-esteem of any group." In an article called "Black Women Are More Confident Than Any Other Group of Females," Glamour Magazine quoted San Diego State University psychology professor Jean Twenge, who says, "Research shows black women score higher on self-esteem than women of other races and ethnicities, which may seem surprising, given the long history of prejudice and discrimination they have faced."
As for Booker's "no diversity whatsoever" complaint, he is effectively accusing the Democratic caucus and primary voters, responsible for choosing their nominee, of both racism and sexism for their rejection of Harris. Shortly before her withdrawal, she attributed her falling poll numbers to a lack of "electability" due to sexism and racism. "Why is that?" a reporter asked her. Harris responded: "Electability. You know, essentially, is America ready for a woman and a woman of color to be president of the United States?"
At the time of Booker's complaint, the six Democrats likely to make the next debate were Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Amy Klobuchar, Pete Buttigieg, Elizabeth Warren and Tom Steyer. Let's examine their alleged lack of diversity:
Joe Biden would become only the second Catholic president, after John F. Kennedy, who was elected almost 60 years ago.
Bernie Sanders' father was an immigrant from what is now Poland. His maternal grandparents are from Russia and Poland. If nominated and elected, Sanders would become the first Jewish president.
Amy Klobuchar's maternal grandparents immigrated from Switzerland, and her father's grandparents immigrated from Slovenia. Winning the presidency would, of course, make Klobuchar the first female president.
Pete Buttigieg is an openly gay Episcopalian man married to a man. His father immigrated from Malta. Buttigieg would become the first gay president and, at age 39 by the time he would take office, the youngest president ever elected.
Elizabeth Warren, a Methodist, no longer calls herself a Native American. So that box cannot be checked off. But she remains a female in a country that has never elected a female president or vice president.
Tom Steyer was the last-hour billionaire entrant into the race. His father was a nonpracticing Jew, and his mother was a Episcopalian, as is Tom. "My parents' house was not particularly religious," Steyer said. "They had different religions. My father was brought up Jewish; he was quite irreligious. ... My mother was quite religious."
That's not enough diversity? And, since Booker's complaint about the lack of diversity, former tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang, a Chinese-American, has qualified for the next debate. But no blacks. This means these seven debaters, despite having diverse religions, income levels, backgrounds, upbringings and heritage, flat-out flunk the party's diversity test.
"Woke" Democrats like Booker have either forgotten or no longer embrace the words of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., who in 1963 delivered one of the most famous speeches in American history in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., before an estimated crowd of 250,000. King said, "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."
Larry Elder is a bestselling author and nationally syndicated radio talk show host. To find out more about Larry Elder, or become an "Elderado," visit www.LarryElder.com. Follow Larry on Twitter @LarryElder. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.