Democratic Candidates Lament Lack of Diversity After Kamala Harris’ Exit

What started off as the most diverse field of candidates in the Democratic Party’s history grew smaller this week when Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) announced the end of her presidential campaign.

“It has been the honor of my life to be your candidate,” Harris tweeted in a message to her supporters. “We will keep up the fight.” 

Reflecting on what she contributed to the field of candidates, Harris said her campaign “uniquely spoke to the experiences of black women and people of color, and their importance to the success and the future of this party.”

Harris began her bid for the presidency 11 months ago in front of more than 20,000 people at a campaign rally in Oakland, California. But over the following months, she was unable to translate moments of national spotlightincluding her confrontations with former Vice President Joe Biden and Hawaiian Rep. Tulsi Gabbard on the debate stageinto broad support. In the end, she had exhausted her resources to sustain her campaign. 

“I’m not a billionaire. I can’t fund my own campaign,” Harris told her supporters on Tuesday. “In good faith, I can’t tell you, my supporters and volunteers, that I have a path forward if I don’t believe I do.”

Harris’ abrupt departure stunned her Democratic rivals. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), expressed his disappointment in her exit from the race, telling MSNBC’s Chris Hayes that he was worried about how representative the field would be going forward.

“We started with one of the most diverse fields in history, giving people pride, and it’s a damn shame now that the only African American woman in this race… is now no longer in it,” Booker said. “And we’re spiraling towards a debate stage that potentially could have six people with no diversity whatsoever.”

Booker also criticized the Democratic National Committee’s debate qualification rules, saying that the low barriers of entry for millionaires and billionaires “don’t ever translate to viability in Iowa.”

In an interview with Buzzfeed, Julián Castro, who led the Department of Housing and Urban Development during the Obama administration, blamed the media’s coverage of Harris for her campaign’s demise.

“To me, [the media] held her to a different standard, a double standard,” he said. Castro, the only Latino candidate running, also criticized how certain outlets covered reports of internal division within Harris’ campaign.

“Just because somebody is willing to talk doesn’t mean that reflects a reality or that necessarily gives it front-page coverage in your publication,” Castro said.

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