viii Introduction methods to understand these events. Experiments, longitudinal surveys, case studies, and close textual analysis illuminate essential features of this once-in-a-generation campaign. The first section of this book analyzes the role of diversity—especially regarding issues of race, gender, and sexuality as they affected the 2020 cam- paign. In one sense, 2020 signaled incredible (if astonishingly slow) prog- ress. Throughout the 59 presidential elections held over the 224-year history of the U.S. presidency, all 46 people selected by the Electoral College have been men—45 of whom were White, cisgender, and straight presenting. Only once before has one of the major parties nominated a woman for the presidency (Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016), and only one Black man (Democrat Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012) has ever been nominated. Representation in the vice presidency has scarcely been better. As a result of the 2020 presidential election, former U.S. Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) is the first woman, the first South Asian, and the first Black person to hold the office. Prior to Harris, an uninterrupted line of 48 White, cisgender, and straight-presenting men served as vice president. Indeed, of the more than 100 vice presidential candidates of the two major political parties, only three women (Democrat Geraldine Ferraro in 1984, Republican Sarah Palin in 2008, and Democrat Harris in 2020) have ever been nominated. Suffice it to say, the executive office has historically looked nothing like the diverse country it seeks to represent. The 2020 election was disruptive of this status quo not only because of the election of Harris but also due to the diversity of the pool of candidates vying for the presidency. When Obama won the presidency in 2008, he did so after emerging from a field of largely traditional candidates—defeating five White men, one White woman, and one Latino man, all straight-presenting. The 2016 election was the next to feature a competitive Democratic primary and, had either candidate seeking the nomination won the presidency, they would have represented a historical first. Former Secretary of State Clinton would have been the first woman president, and Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) would have been the first Jew- ish president. The 2020 Democratic primary presents a clear departure from even recent history. Of the 12 candidates that participated in at least three primary debates, four were women, four were candidates of color, and one was an out gay man (the first in U.S. history to seek the office). Two more women partici- pated in at least two primary debates. In total, straight-presenting White men were still overrepresented, comprising 13 of the 23 candidates who par- ticipated in at least one debate. Nevertheless, this set of candidates presents a stark contrast to preceding election years. The diversity of the Democratic primary illustrates both progress and constraint. Chapters in this volume consider the historical significance of these candidates while also document- ing the ways in which this progress was constrained by the intersecting
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