The emphasis on identity politics in the Democratic Party has resulted in a not-so-subtle vilifying of the dominant demographic in U.S. presidential history: The white male.
Even with two old white men leading in the early polls in former Vice President Joe Biden and current Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, white male candidates still seem to feel obligated to speak in an almost apologetic way for their race and gender (looking at you, Beto).
This includes California Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell, who is running on a campaign mostly focused on gun control, and who is currently polling at approximately zero percent.
Swalwell was asked during an appearance on "Vice News Tonight": "Why should another white guy be president?"
"Well, a white guy who doesn't see other identities, or understand other experiences should not be president," Swalwell replied. "I do. And where there would be gaps in my knowledge or my experience, I will pass the mic to people who do have that experience. I've also pledged that I would ask a woman to serve as vice president."
I may be "another white guy," but I know where there are gaps in my knowledge or my experience and I know when to p… https://t.co/cJhIm1EJkT— Eric Swalwell (@Eric Swalwell)1558989853.0
This writer's perspective
As a minority, I would be happy to see another minority ascend to the presidency. But, race and gender are not qualifications for office, and should not be the first thing considered when a voter selects a president or when a presidential candidate selects a running mate.
Swalwell, in his eagerness to atone for his white maleness, elevates race and gender to the top of the list when deciding who he would hypothetically select as advisers or as a running mate.
Instead of attempting to become knowledgeable and empathetic enough to speak competently on issues that impact minorities, Swalwell would simply hand the microphone to a token on his staff to handle the issue.
Instead of evaluating VP candidates on merit, and then potentially selecting a woman who is well qualified, Swalwell promises to just select some woman to be named later, which feels more condescending than it does equitable.
It seems unlikely that we will have to concern ourselves with a potential Swalwell presidency this cycle, but the tone of his answer reflects how clumsily white male Democratic candidates respond to questions of race and gender.