PHILADELPHIA ― Democrats are making more of an effort to reach out to non-white voters than Republicans, judging by the people the party has chosen as convention speakers.
Eleven of 24 speakers Monday evening at the Democratic National Convention’s opening night were people of color. Last week’s entire four-day Republican National Convention appears to have featured a dozen speakers of color.
Of the 71 speakers who spoke during evening slots at the RNC in Cleveland, more than 80 percent were white, according to an analysis by Politico, including seven black speakers and three Latinos. The Huffington Post counted a slightly higher number of people of color speaking at the RNC, with seven African-Americans, four Latinos and one Asian-American. RNC speakers with the last name “Trump” outnumbered Hispanic speakers, six to four.
Several DNC speakers on Monday highlighted their recent immigrant heritage and criticized Donald Trump’s hard-line stance on immigration and his broad characterization of Mexicans as criminals.
Karla Ortiz, 11, whose mother is undocumented, spoke of her fear that her parents could be deported.
“I’m scared that at any moment my mom and my dad will be forced to leave,” Karla said. “And I wonder, ‘What if I come home and find it empty?’”
In another highlight, first lady Michelle Obama gave an emotional speech that touched several times on the subject of race, mentioning an encounter with a young black boy “who looked up at my husband with eyes wide, and he wondered, ‘Is my hair like yours?’”
“I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves,” Obama later said. “And I watch my daughters ― two beautiful, intelligent black young women ― play with the dog on the White House lawn.”
The diversity on display at the first night of the DNC highlighted the Democratic Party’s greater success in attracting people of color compared with the GOP.
Some 6,084 Hispanics served in elected office as of the 2014 election, according to data compiled by the National Association of Latino Elected Officials. Of those who declared a party affiliation, 1,514 were Democrats ― far outnumbering the 199 Republicans. Forty-seven members of the U.S. Congress are black. All but three of them are Democrats.