Political News

Impeachment debate offered another reminder GOP is old, white and male

Posted December 19, 2019 2:08 p.m. EST

— It's long been true, but this week it's been especially unmissable: that the GOP is the party of older white men. And the party of one such man, in particular: President Donald Trump.

The US House of Representatives on Wednesday impeached Trump, its members having engaged in fiery debate over the course of six hours ahead of the vote.

Predictably, the House, led by the Democrats, voted almost entirely along party lines: 230-197 on abuse of power, and 229-198 on obstruction of Congress.

Also unsurprising but still jarring were the dueling optics of the two parties, which spoke to the larger issue of diversity in the chamber.

Of the 233 House Democrats, just north of 50% are white, and almost 40% are women. While the Democrats still aren't representative, their numbers are more in line with the diversity of the country as a whole.

Of the 197 House Republicans, however, more than 90% are white, and about 8% are women. These data points are particularly damning given that, in 2012, after Mitt Romney lost the presidential election, the Republican National Committee declared in an "autopsy" of itself: "America is changing demographically, and unless Republicans are able to grow our appeal the way GOP governors have done, the changes tilt the playing field even more in the Democratic direction."

And yet, as a result of the Trump era, the GOP has contracted demographically.

There are, of course, aspects of diversity among Republican lawmakers -- for instance, the No. 3 House Republican is Rep. Liz Cheney, and Rep. Elise Stefanik, an up-and-comer from New York, made a splash during the impeachment committee hearings.

But that's what was so revealing about the GOP's image on Wednesday: It no longer needs to say, explicitly or obliquely, which people -- or rather, person -- it stands for.

That it's become the party of Trump -- whose platform centered racist anti-immigrant invective and crude remarks about women, whose presidency has been defined by much of the same -- is obvious from even a quick scan of who's among its ranks.

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