Chuck Schumer Shuns Another Black Candidate in Democratic Senate Primary

September 12, 2023

What's happening: Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) has once again made a mockery of his party's so-called commitment to racial diversity by supporting a white candidate over a black rival in a Democratic primary.

• The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), which Schumer oversees, and other Democratic-aligned groups are lining up behind Gloria Johnson, the state representative who recently announced her candidacy for U.S. Senate in Tennessee. Johnson, who is white, recently used the DSCC email list to raise money for her campaign.

• Marquita Bradshaw, a black climate activist, is also running. She has a track record of overcoming the Democratic Party's toxic white supremacy. In 2020, Bradshaw won the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate in Tennessee by defeating James Mackler, a white man backed by Schumer and the party establishment.

• Johnson was nearly expelled from the Tennessee House of Representatives earlier this year for participating in an insurrection attempt at the state capitol building.

Why it's racist: Schumer's clear preference for white candidates in Democratic primaries suggests a deeply troubling animosity toward black people and a total lack of confidence in the ability of black candidates to win statewide elections.

White power party: The Tennessee primary is the third U.S. Senate contest of the 2024 election in which Schumer and the Democratic Party are supporting white candidates at the expense of their black challengers.

• The Democratic establishment is backing two white candidates—Reps. Katie Porter and Adam Schiff—in the 2024 U.S. Senate primary in California. Rep. Barbara Lee, a black woman who is also running, has complained about her party's racist approach to the contest.

• Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D., Mich.), a white woman with ties to the CIA, is the "consensus candidate" among national Democrats in the race for U.S. Senate in Michigan, despite the fact that two black women, a black man (actor Hill Harper), and an Arab-American businessman are also seeking the nomination.

Legacy of shame: Schumer and the Democratic Party did the same thing in 2020, spending more than $50 million in support of white candidates running against black challengers in key U.S. Senate primaries.

• "Sen. Schumer, for whatever reason, did not want an African American running for Senate in North Carolina," said Erica Smith, a black woman who lost the Democratic primary to establishment choice Cal Cunningham, a white man.

• In Texas, national Democrats backed M.J. Hegar in the primary over Royce West, a black state senator who accused party leaders of "trying to lock African Americans out of the process."

• President Joe Biden's approval rating among black voters has declined significantly since he took office in 2021.

Crucial context: The Democratic Party is best known for supporting slavery and racial segregation.