Republican Convention Too White and Too Male for NYT Reporter
Three days into the Republican National Convention, its differences from last week's Democratic conclave have grown apparent: overwhelmingly white delegates, a strongly unified hall, erratic energy levels and speeches that focus heavily on iconography.
Of all these differences, the contrast in racial and ethnic demographics is perhaps most visible to viewers of the conventions, being held this year on consecutive weeks. The Republican gathering has more white delegates than in 2004, and more men as well.
According to polls of delegates conducted by The New York Times and CBS News, 93 percent of the Republican delegates are white (compared with 85 percent in 2004 and 89 percent in 2000), while 5 percent are Hispanic and 2 percent are black. The Democratic delegate pool in Denver, according to the survey, was 65 percent white, 23 percent black and 11 percent Hispanic, roughly the same as at other recent Democratic conventions.
The poll also found that men accounted for 68 percent of Republican delegates (compared with 57 percent in 2004) and about half the Democratic delegates.
Nelson Warfield, a Republican consultant, pointed out that Democratic Party rules called for race- and gender-based numerical goals for state delegations, a factor that most likely contributed to the greater minority presence at the Denver event.
"The Republicans," Mr. Warfield said, "trust delegates to represent the interests of all people more than Democrats do with their quotas."
But Democrats warned of the pitfalls of ignoring minority voters.
"You might call this Republican convention, with its almost uninterrupted and conspicuously unrepresentative sea of white faces, the ghost of elections to come," said Dan Gerstein, a Democratic consultant who supports Mr. Obama but is not working for him. "Given the rapid and dramatic demographic changes this country is undergoing in this era, the Republicans will soon doom themselves to minority-party status if they don't find a way to broaden their appeal and their ranks to include more people of color."