A Single Photo Shows the Problem with Diversity in American Politics


They say a photo is worth more than a thousand words and in this case it just might be. Folks were shocked to see a recent photograph that placed the newly elected house members from the Democratic and Republican parties side by side. It seriously drove home the differences in the two parties and the fact that one side is sorely lacking in diversity, and we don’t just mean racial diversity, it’s gender too!

It’s no secret that election night was huge for women of color with Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, who became the first Muslim women elected to Congress, and Sharice Davids and Deb Haaland, who became the first Native American women to join Congress, as well as our very own Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez landing a spot in history as the youngest woman (and LATINA!) ever elected to Congress. But I guess the stark differences along party lines were not as obvious until it was put right there in a yearbook style photo comparison. Check it out:

Um, it’s kind of hard to think of what else to add to this image because it just speaks volumes without a lot of commentary needed. But it was noted that the percentage of white men elected to the Republican house actually INCREASED this year from and already skyhigh 86% to 90%.

Here I was thinking that was actually impossible. But seriously, this is not looking very good for the Republican party. As demographics shift and the country becomes more ethnically diverse, how do they plan on courting young voters if they have not a single candidate that looks like them? And I’m not even saying Democrats are doing an amazing job, because to be honest, 50% of Congress should be women and a solid 40% of Congress should be people of color if what we are looking for is a truly represenatative democracy. But I’ll take the baby steps for now.

The thing is, with so many retirements on the Republican side, they had a real chance to elevate exciting new candidates who broke the traditional mold of stodgy old white dudes that they’ve been come to be defined by. Perhaps there weren’t a lot of women or POC willing to carry the mantle of Republican policies, and that’s another issue that they are going to have to grapple with if they want any chance of coming out on top as millennials become the largest voting group and Generation Y ages into their voting rights here in the U.S. Each new generation being born here will be browner and likely more socially progressive than the ones that came before. And that’s something both parties are going to have to deal with. I couldn’t be more excited.

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