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Why race and gender don't matter in politics

Updated on November 17, 2015

goverment

Why race and gender don't matter in politics

Hilary Clinton is the odds on favorite to capture the Democratic nomination for president and become the first woman to top the ticket for either party. At the moment of this writing, the leader for the Republican nomination is Dr. Ben Carson, making the second time, after Herman Cain’s run in the 2012 race, that the top choice among Republicans has been an African American man. All of this, of course, follows the historic election of Barack Obama in 2008. All of this would have been unthinkable just a generation ago, which begs the question, “Do race and gender continue to matter in modern American politics?”

The short answer is no. Ben Carson isn’t leading the field because of some great desire amongst Republicans that their nominee be a person of color. And, though there may be exceptions to this, I don’t think most support him despite his race, metaphorically holding their noses as they plan their trip to the polls. Instead, his race, though an interesting footnote, is much less important to Republicans than his Conservative Christian beliefs. Similarly, Carly Fiorina’s rise to the top tier of Republican contenders wasn’t due to voters’ sudden realization that she was the only one of their candidates who is a female, but instead due to her standout performance in the first “kids table” debate.

How social media has helped

And, if a candidate’s race or their gender isn’t an issue in modern American politics any more, why is that the case? Thanks to our modern social media obsessed society, we have an electorate that is, somehow at the very same time, much more in tune with politics and much less knowledgeable than they’ve ever been before.

Thanks to the dual constant feeds of Twitter and Facebook, the average connected American is fed a constant stream of information about U.S. politics, months and years before any election is scheduled to take place. From conspiracy rants to the sharing of a speech that someone’s friend found to be particularly inspiring, we’re all faced with a constant debate about the issues of the day, leading to far greater awareness. If a huge percentage of what is shared is misleading or, worse, completely inaccurate, resulting in an actual decreasing of our overall factual knowledge, we still feel more connected to the process.

And it’s this connection that’s taken race and gender out of the equation, making them no longer election issues. Whether one thinks Hilary Clinton is going to fight for the everyday American or bring about the downfall of the republic, there’s more than enough information out there to validate your opinion. Love her or hate her, we all have (at least what we think to be) facts to support our conclusions or to help us reach them. The fact of her gender pales in comparative importance to the issues that we care about.

Making progress on the issue

Before the glut of information, race and gender were almost the only thing that some knew about a candidate. Voting for or against the black man, the Hispanic, or the woman was easy when that’s the only information one had. But today’s glut of information, as well as the more common existence of minority candidates, allows for a more balanced consideration of the candidates. Or it would, anyway, if it wasn’t so easy today to only listen to opinions with which one already agrees, depending on which cable news network you choose.

But progress is clearly being made. The idea that two southern states would have Governors of Indian American descent, let alone that they would both be Republicans (Bobby Jindal in Louisiana and Nikki Haley in South Carolina), would have seemed outlandish only a short time ago. But with neither state having a particularly large Indian population, both were elected, and then reelected, based on voters’ perceptions of them, not of their shared race or Haley’s gender. And there’s every reason to expect that trend to continue.

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    • profile image

      wanted 

      2 years ago

      very good

    • profile image

      Jeff 

      2 years ago

      post contains very good information

    • profile image

      Jeff 

      2 years ago

      Race and gender

    • profile image

      Dan Berzer 

      2 years ago

      I think that it's all about money to be honest

    • K Monee profile image

      K Monee 

      2 years ago

      Because any serious politician would have to involve at the top level so much that any wise and thinking individual, irrespective of any other distinctions, can be a successful leader. He or she has to be thick skinned though.

    • profile image

      madhu 

      2 years ago

      this article is very good , i read this article very interested. this article is age is not a matter for gender in politics it is good.

    • profile image

      Raj 

      2 years ago

      Good article. The author has clearly told the difference between what the people before the advent of social media knew or thought about Presidential candidates. Nowadays race does not seem to matter in politics.

    • profile image

      Dineshan 

      2 years ago

      Here in India, Caste and Race is getting more prominence in Politics.

    • profile image

      puna 

      2 years ago

      it is nice political topic it is good for thinking gender difference, i support these activity, nice article.

    • profile image

      surendar C 

      2 years ago

      Hi this post contains very good information...

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