On March 25, Donald Trump posed with the new staff of summer interns at the White House. Almost immediately, social media users began to point out the nearly all white cast of future representatives depicted, and rightly so. The photo characterizes not only the white leanings of the Trump administration, but of the Republican party as a whole.
According to a study done by Brookings in 2015, 55.8 percent of millennials identify as white, and 30 percent identify as “new minorities,” meaning they identify as two or more races. The nation is becoming more racially diverse than ever, and it is imperative that those who are elected to serve this country as a whole are reflecting the people who actually make up those census numbers.
Currently, the Republican party as a whole does not represent the majority of minorities in the United States. According to a 2013 poll released by Gallup, 89 percent of Conservative voters identified as non-hispanic white.
Even more, the representatives for the Republican party are currently not a picture of a melting-pot America. Not only are there three times as many female Democrats to female Republicans in the House and Senate, but the racial gap is even higher.
Democratic representatives in the House and Senate have six times more minority representatives than their Republican counterparts, with 94 Democrats and 16 Republicans.
Representation is more important than people give credit to, especially within politics. While white representatives are perfectly capable of serving their country in office, they should not be the only ones who are allowed to do so. The people we elect should be a reflection of our nation as a whole, and our nation is a self proclaimed “melting pot” of different cultures, ethnicities and backgrounds.
Currently, the Republican party as a whole does not seem to be providing this representation. This is not due to inherent racism or sexism within the party, though there are elected Republicans who could be identified as being prejudiced. The same could be said for some elected Democrats. The issue lies with the inability of the majority of the party thus far to properly address all of their people, as made evident by the lack of voters and representatives who don’t identify as white.
To leave out many young and minority voices is to leave out the ability to fully understand how to help with the plethora of issues the nation is currently facing. The majority of Republican representatives stayed quiet during Black Lives Matter. This majority silently cast their votes to allow the Dakota Access Pipeline to destroy the sacred lands of thousands of native peoples. This is the party who famously called for the new administration to “build the wall.” It’s not that Republicans as a whole don’t care, it’s that these representatives as a whole are more interested in saving big business than standing for the people.
What the party needs is new, young voices who can represent their nation who are not more of the upper-class, white voices we continue to hear. The party needs an overhaul, and needs representation who is more enticed to talk about these issues, rather than summing their opinion up to irreconcilable differences. We are in a nation which desperately needs healing, not more representatives who will further the divide between both parties and people.
It is necessary that the people of this nation feel heard and understood by their representatives. It is imperative to the health of both parties that the people of America can look to their government and see people who they feel can represent them on both sides. If the future of this nation are the new summer interns, then it feels as if we are not really representing our nation as a whole.
We are currently existing in an extremely partisan United States. Moderates are becoming nearly extinct and tensions are higher than they have been for quite some time. If the Republican party does not change its ways, it is likely that they will lose even more voters who do not feel heard by their party. Representation is important, especially when it is absent from the places in which it matters most.