September 6, 2012


Obama's Scant Democratic Bench (Josh Kraushaar, September 4, 2012, National Journal)

The problem, as Davis explained to me, was that most of the Democrats' minority representation comes from House members who hail from overwhelmingly liberal, majority-minority districts. Most of these members of Congress don't have the broad political coalition to appeal to a wider swath of voters. Of the 13 nonwhite House Democrats speaking at the convention, only three have even an outside shot at future statewide office: Reps. Xavier Becerra and Judy Chu of California, and Donna Edwards of Maryland.

At the municipal level, Democrats have some up-and-comers, but all face uncertain paths to higher office--a recognition that it's a steep path from city hall to serving on a national ticket. 

The Democrats' keynote speaker on Tuesday night, San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, is touted as a rising Hispanic star. But the uncomfortable political truth is that Castro, if he seeks higher office in Texas, could be stymied in a state that is dominated by Republicans and that doesn't feature a single Democrat holding a statewide office. 

Newark Mayor Cory Booker is also a rising star in the party, but he burned bridges with the Obama campaign after taking it to task for its attack on Mitt Romney's tenure at Bain Capital. If he were to run for governor, he would face a tough race against Republican incumbent Chris Christie in 2013. He may wait until 2014 to run for the seat currently held by Sen. Frank Lautenberg.

Hometown Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx, another impressive up-and-comer, passed up a golden opportunity to run for governor of North Carolina after Bev Perdue decided not to seek reelection this year. There aren't many openings coming up for him: Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan is running for reelection in 2014, and the next gubernatorial and Senate race openings aren't until 2016.

For all the hype about the historic nature of President Obama's presidency, he has brought along with him precious few Democrats who present the same post-racial appeal he showcased in 2008. 

Posted by at September 6, 2012 5:20 AM

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