After the Tuesday night debate of five Democratic presidential candidates in the 2016 campaign, Jorge Ramos -- a Mexican-American journalist with the Fusion multi-platform media company -- interviewed Debbie Wasserman Schultz and in the process asked the the Democratic National Committee chairwoman why her party “lacked diversity” in the candidates on the stage.
“When I was watching the debate, what I was thinking was the Democratic Party lacked diversity,” Ramos said. “I didn’t see a Latino, or an African-American, or an Asian on that stage.”
Four of the participants were white males: former governors Martin O'Malley from Maryland and Lincoln Chafee from Rhode Island; as well as U.S. senator Bernie Schultz from Vermont and former senator James Webb from Virginia.
The most “diverse” participant was Hillary Clinton, the only female on the stage, a former U.S. senator from New York and secretary of state during Barack Obama's first term in the White House.
“Well, we have Latinos and African-Americans,” Wasserman Schultz responded, including “our president of the United States, who is a Democrat, is African-American, so certainly we have an absolute, demonstrated commitment to diversity” since Barack Obama was nominated by the party to move into the White House, “and then, Americans elected him, not once, but twice.”
If you look at our party, up and down the ballot, … there is overwhelmingly more diversity.
When it comes to Democrats, Hispanics, Asian-Pacific Islanders, African-Americans, women, the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) community. We are the party of diversity.
Of course, the Democratic official used the opportunity to slam her opponents in the Grand Old Party.
“The Republicans, you know, are essentially the party of a monolithic view that is narrow-minded and says: 'Let's take our country backwards,' and that's why, when it comes to the issues that are important to minority communities, they overwhelmingly support Democratic policies and will continue to.”
Ramos also told his guest that “one of the most interesting moments, I thought, of the debate was when senator Bernie Sanders said: ”Enough of those emails” regarding the thousands of missives Clinton received and sent on a personal computer. “Do you think those emails are not a legitimate issue in this debate?”
“I think that senator Sanders really underscored the opinion of so many voters that I've heard from as I've traveled the country,” the DNC chairwoman noted. “They want a debate and a discussion about the issues that matter to them when it comes to moving America forward.”
She then added that her party is dedicated to “creating more opportunities for them to succeed, whether it's access to an affordable education after high school, making sure that they can continue to have the health care that 17 million Americans got access to that the Republicans would take away, passing comprehensive immigration reform so we can keep families together.”
In addition, Ramos said he noticed that “Donald Trump was not a central figure in this debate, and my question is if this was done by design.”
“Well, I think the conversation focused rightly on the candidates' view on how best we can reach people of the middle class,” Wasserman Schultz replied, “and that stood in stark contrast to the entire Republican field, which basically had a reality TV show led by the P. T. Barnum of circus performers in the field, Donald Trump.”
The 45th president of the United States of America was standing on that stage tonight, Jorge, and that's because we've got 57 straight months of job growth in the private sector, 13 million jobs created.
We've come out of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, and any one of those candidates on that stage tonight demonstrated that they would continue to help us make more progress, compared to the Republicans that voters have seen who would take us backwards.
Finally, Ramos stated that there “was a controversy right before the debate with representative [and DNC vice chairwoman] Tulsi Gabbard. She thought that Democrats need more debates. After watching this debate, do you think that you need more than six?”
“Well, I think we have a variety of opportunities that are important for voters to be able to get a look at our candidates,” Wasserman Schultz replied. “Our six debates will be one of those.”
She asserted: “If you have the 25 or 26 debates we had in 2008, that pulls the whole operation of a candidate off the campaign trail.”
Unexpectedly, CNN anchor and debate moderator Anderson Cooper actually asked several difficult questions. Here's hoping the people at that cable channel learned their lesson from Jake Tapper's failed strategy of pitting candidates against one another in their earlier GOP debate.