In advance of the November 3, 2020 election, we discovered a remarkable shift in the race and gender demographics of general election candidates from 2012 to 2020. Across the electoral landscape, political power is shifting away from white men, and towards women and people of color.
Our Journalism Fellow, Judith Warner, shares some good news about reflective democracy in the Trump years: All around the country, a new generation of activists, advocates, and campaign professionals has been channeling its frustration and outrage into electoral change.
Against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic and social unrest over police violence, we studied the race and gender of elected leaders in America’s 100 largest cities. This report exposes the demographic tensions behind the public safety clashes between city mayors – many of them women of color – and white male governors and federal officials.
Elected prosecutors play a key role in a system biased against people of color, yet as our 2014 report revealed, 95% of them are white. In 2019, when we examined prosecutors again, nothing had changed on race, but in just five years, the gender balance had shifted.
Every election cycle seems to trigger a new round of chatter about “electability.” So-called experts often claim white men are the most electable demographic, but when we ran the numbers, the electability myth fell apart. Sure, white men monopolize politics, but that’s not because voters prefer them. Once women and people of color get on the ballot, they win just like white men do, or perform even better.
Following a presidential election that defeated the hopes of women and people of color across the country, we wanted to understand how voters would respond. Running the numbers on the 2018 midterm ballot, we found an extraordinary shift: Primary voters chose more women and people of color as their candidates than ever before.