Thursday’s Democratic presidential debate had the smallest grouping of candidates, yet. And along with the thinning crowd of contenders who have either tapped out or failed to meet the DNC’s qualifying threshold came the notable absence of representation when it came to people of color.
Entrepreneur Andrew Yang was the sole candidate of color who made the cut for the sixth debate, which he noted as “both an honor and disappointment,” as he referenced the absence of Sens. Kamala Harris (Calif.) who dropped out of the race earlier this month and Cory Booker (NJ) who did not meet the qualifications.
“It’s both an honor and disappointment to be the lone candidate of color on this stage tonight. I miss Kamala, I miss Cory, though I think Cory will be back,” Yang said.
Also absent from the stage was former Health and Human Services Secretary Julian Castro, who also failed to make it to the December debate.
Yang, the son of immigrants from Taiwan, pointed at the income disparity between white, Black and Latinx households for the notable absence of candidates of color.
“The average net worth of a Black household is only 10% that of a white household. For Latinos it’s 12%,” he emphasized. “Fewer than 5% of Americans donate to political campaigns. You know what you need to donate to political campaigns? Disposable income.”
Yang then went on to once again pitch his signature “basic income” policy, through which he wants to guarantee every adult $1,000 monthly, noting, “I guarantee if we had a freedom dividend of $1,000 a month, I would not be the only candidate of color on this stage tonight.”