Black Democrats Say the Party Isn’t Helping Beasley and Demings Enough

Oct 27, 2022 · 91 comments
During the primary there was this insane fiction spread among old school NC Democrats and Democrats in DC that Cheri Beasley was the “establishment” candidate being forced upon them. They seemed to think that the typical NC Democratic candidate, a white male was somehow being discriminated against. Both were ridiculous durable fictions that speak for themselves. When Beasley became the nominee the same people in DC and beyond still hung onto to the fiction that this enormously capable candidate who many of us, including independents like me, could trust was somehow being pushed on them because of “wokeness.” Being awake to the fact that we’ve been let down over and over by the white men the party has been supporting and trusting this Black woman who has served with dignity and intelligence is reasonable, nothing more, nothing less.
Sweet Sue (Iowa)
The most cogent, articulate, energetic, and intelligent candidates I've heard in debates are Val Demings, Cheri Beasley, and Stacy Abrams. If the national Dems could sell a message like these 3 women, the party would be in much better shape. Demings smoked Rubio in the debate I saw. National party leadership should be doing everything they can to support candidates of this caliber, but fail to do so too often. My money goes to none of the so-called leadership orgs.
The headline says “Black Democrats say…” I’m an old white lady, independent, living in rural western North Carolina. You don’t have to be Black or a Democrat to see the problem is not with this stellar candidate to represent us. The Democratic Party has a problem at the state level in NC and in how the state parties do or do not work with the DNC. I have no idea why the party seems so determined to be represented by a white man in NC. …even if it’s a Republican white man. Blaming it on Beasley isn’t helping them address their own dysfunction.
Jose Pieste (OH)
Voters had no idea that things could get this bad this fast under the Democratic Party's “woke” political governance. So, the Democrats must channel their resources into the remaining few races that they could possibly win. North Carolina and Florida are not on that list.
thom (Fredericton)
I donated to Rep. Demings. And I'm a queer, American exile living in Canada. Think of what she could do in the Senate. Come on Florida! You've got this. What a thrilling, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! Go for it. #voteVal
BA (Montpelier)
I just contributed to both candidates. I delete all national Democratic party emails.
El (Geo)
Poor candidate choices for the subject electorate isn’t a DNC problem. If state parties can’t fund their trophy candidate, its their problem
RJB (North Carolina)
@El FYI Ms. Beasley was a prosecutor and sat on the NC Supreme Court. Poor choice? HARDLY. Perhaps she should have played football and thus become a household name.
didi hart (WDC)
Every white democrat I know, including me, has said Beasley has gotten nowhere near enough support. Shame on DNC, DSCC and all the rest of D world.
Martina Christie (Winterville, NC)
It is a crying shame that Beasley, Demmings, and even some others (Ryan, Kelly, etc) have gotten no help from the national Democratic groups. What is up with this? I have donated to more candidates than ever before, the Party needs to be more responsible, help ALL candidates! They cannot depend on multiple panicked text messages daily, emails that mislead, I and many are suffering from election fatigue and there no end in sight.
Here we go Democrats eating each other in the name of identity politics no wonder we can’t win
Judi (North Carolina)
Election denier Ted Budd had Trump to campaign with him. He has blanketed NC with media and mail ads. Cherie Beasley is the supervisor candidate, of course, and I wonder why the Democratic Party has not supported her. Neither have media. Very disappointing. Same for Val Demmings.
Judi (North Carolina)
@Judi Correction: Beasley is the superior candidate.
S maltophilia (Texas)
The worst shame is that voters are swayed by advertisements instead of making themselves aware of issues and where candidates stand on them, while the TV stations, radio stations advertising producers, and media buyers laugh all the way to the bank. Meanwhile, voters are confused and alienated by the constant barrage of useless disinformation delivered with creepy voiceovers.
Kitnkaboodle (Usa)
They’re 100% correct. This is first I’ve heard if either of them.
Brock Landers (Van Nuys, CA)
I can't help but wonder whether these candidates might be doing better - which would make DNC investments in their campaign more likely - if they and Democrats did not constantly try to inject race, gender and victimhood into everything all the time.
Mike Livingston (Philadelphia PA)
They’re not helping them because they are going to lose. That’s the way it is.
Anita Wilkerson (The Villages, FL)
After living in the South for 6 years, I have come to the conclusion that the DNC doesn't support candidates here, no matter how qualified. When I was in Mississippi, Mike Espy ran for office and the DNC was nowhere to be found. He was running against someone who thought public lynchings were acceptable. Now I'm in Florida and I'm seeing the very same lack of support for Stacy Abrams and Val Demings. If the DNC loses, it's on them; the quality candidates are there.
A.L.P. (Midwest)
Rubio is a master-opportunist. No matter the results of the election, the country (not just Florida) does need Ms. Demings in the Senate: she is the real deal.
Votebluenomatterwho (Windy city)
I’m a white female and I absolutely agree with this headline! Stacey Abrams should also be included with these highly qualified women. President Obama won North Carolina during his run for office in 2008. Why he is not in N. Carolina stumping for Cheri Beasley is a head scratcher and beyond frustrating.
ErikW65 (VT)
Thanks NYT for this article and analysis. The same conclusion can be reached if you look at the disparity in the amount of MEDIA ATTENTION and discussion after the Fetterman-Oz vs. the Demings-Rubio debates. I was ENERGIZED after Demings showed how to counter the Republican talking points so effectively, she seemed to have cracked a code and smacked down a pest, and I expected to see more post-debate analysis because of that, but was disappointed in the lack of, "See, THAT'S how you do it" commentary. Contrast THAT with the amount of media buzz & discussion after the debate between Fetterman and Oz, and also please notice the subtle BIAS in the degree to which the PA senate race is framed as PIVOTAL to deciding the fate of senate control, whereas the FL senate seat is not.
Jose Pieste (OH)
@ErikW65 The Florida election is not pivotal because Demmings has no chance of winning. The Pennsylvania election is pivotal because Fetterman does have a chance of winning - or had least he had a chance until last Tuesday.
Ron (Orlando, Florida)
Understood that Val Demings has raised a considerable war chest, but her TV ads are tame compared to Rubio's attack ads underscored by questionable accusations. Demings is an excellent candidate who deserves to serve in the Senate. If I can find a great deal to criticize Rubio's last term in office, then why isn't Demings getting more help from respected national figures? Florida is no longer a swing state and badly in need of a Democratic Senator.
Arrest Him Now (NYC)
@Ampleworth: FYI, Demings is a former cop and police chief. How exactly is she soft on crime?
Stewart (Michigan)
Power Democrats not doing the utmost to help candidates who have tight races could not be more typically power Democrat. I view Democratic leaders as wed to business as usual: never take a risk, never take a tough stand, never buck a powerful opponent, check with the big bucks first, etc. Solution: Every miracle worker elected should treat the Democrat leadership as enemies starting with loudly telling them to their faces their obligations flow to the winner. I am a fat old out-of-state white guy who has been contributing monthly to Stacey Abrams for a couple years. Do you think one Democratic leader has done as much?
James Rippy (Tennessee)
The Democrats are about to finally purge the old guard and move forward with a totally new progressive leadership class that will really come into its own six to eight years down the road after this infatuation with Trump has imploded. Any and everyone in Washington over 65 years needs to go home and let these younger people serve on both sides of the aisles. Gee Whiz...ENOUGH???!!!
Livonian (Los Angeles)
Since candidate Biden declared ahead of time that he was going to limit his running mate to a black female, why didn't he go with Val Demings? She is the kind of Democrat which needs to be the face of the party. Demings and Tim Ryan are the kinds of moderate, sensible, normal Democrats whose focus and persona perfectly counter the GOP's strengths. Demings-Ryan, or Ryan-Demings. What a great ticket that would make!
Patrick Borunda (Washington)
Our household s contributing money and writing letters for Democratic candidates across the country. Too bad the Party isn't reciprocating. Our first priority for contributions is the WA3 race between a level-headed, articulate Marie Perez against an election denying, anti-choice, quasi-fascist named Joe Kent. We can turn what has been a red seat blue this year. Where is the Democratic Party in this equation? For all intents and purposes, they seem to be MIA. With all the money flowing into the national Party coffers, why aren't we seeing it flowing into Perez's high probability campaign? The national party apparatus appears to be a waste of money. I'll support individual candidates, but the national Democratic Party looks like nothing but a corporate money sink...indistinguishable from the GOP. laundromat. Vote Blue!
Jack (St. Louis, MO)
Their political beliefs are un-important. What is important is that they are black and female. So, elect them. Not to do so would be misogynistic and racist. Really?
Susan (North Carolina)
She is a terrific candidate and I think her ads have been impactful. Gave her my vote on the first day of early voting in Wake County. I am very hopeful!!
R Woods (California)
The DNC appears to be a total failure at politics. Mr Harrison ran a failed campaign in South Carolina and was rewarded with the head of the DNC. I stopped giving any money because there didn't seem to be anything happening. The worst commercial was great till the end when it asked voters to "Thank President Biden". Not a good message when the president's popularity is not good. Otherwise, seems that every candidate is on their own. The DNC needs new and dynamic leadership that has the guts to take on the GOP. No 50 state strategy is seems - hardly any at all. No wonder we're in trouble come November 8th.
Max (Emerald)
Clearly, any decision not to use scare resources to support a candidate with no chance of winning is based on race and gender bias.
Michael (Ottawa)
It's my opinion that the country's minorities should start forming a coalition to form a third-Party that represents lower income and working class Americans. It's a shame to see so many people waste their time, resources, energy and hopes on either the Democratic or Republican Parties. What is it going to take to make it obvious that both these Parties prioritise the needs of corporations and the wealthy to the detriment of everyone else?
Twg (NV)
I greatly admire Val Demings and believe she would make an excellent senator for Florida and in fact, the nation. As chief of police in a major metropolitan area, she has seen the worst of humanity, and understands, I think, what pathways toward addressing police reform and circumstances which lead to crimes and prevention might work best. As a Congresswoman, and House Manager during Trump's first impeachment, Demings got a close-up view of the intricacies of constitutional law and what should be done to hold corrupt elected officials accountable. In my view, during that particular crisis, Demings represented American democracy and our American creed with grace, strength, and the principled analysis our country deserves. Demings is a political leader who cares about this country, who cares about the well being of her constituents and Americans at large, who cares about ethics and responsibility, who has character. I would voter for Demings in a heartbeat, and did send a few of my small donor dollars her way. (The others went to my senator/reps.) Rubio is an opportunistic politician who feels entitled to his seat, & sold out to Trump and the MAGA crowd. He would not vote to prevent a GOP trashing of Medicare, SS, affordable healthcare access, or any positive benefit from Biden administration policies. Rubio did not support the child tax credit or capping insulin costs. Unfortunately, American politics have been corrupted by money. Millions wasted on campaigns, ceaselessly.
Richard (College Park, MD)
The Democrats have a strong interest in winning Senate races. If some candidates aren't getting support from the Party, it's because the Party doesn't think its support will help. The candidates and their supporters can make their cases, but agitating about discrimination won't change the Party's calculus.
N. Smith (New York City)
It's a wonder that Val Demmings, a former Law Enforcment officer, isn't light years ahead of Marco Rubio, who can only boast of his ties to Donald Trump by way of the police-bashing insurrectionists who stormed the Capitol Jan 6th. It's also a wonder that the DNC hasn't picked up on this and made it front and center in their messaging. But then again, they're not exactly behind Cheri Beasley and Stacy Abrams either.
JFK (Chicago)
I like Demmings but would never vote for Abrams. Are you implying all black people think alike? Florida is not going to elect a Democrat.
Publicus (California)
Both of these women are great candidates with impressive skills and resumes. The problem is the electorates in the states they are running in. These states are Republican leaning. They will elect a less qualified Republican over a more qualified Democrat even if the Democrat is a centrist Democrat like these women are.
Vox Anima (VA)
Those are basically red states at this point. Dems are right to prioritize where to spend money. North Carolina and Florida were always long shots, especially during a mid-term election with in control of Congress and the Executive branch.. But there could still be a surprise. Polls are wack this cycle, so expect surprises.
Serena (Georgia)
Like Stacy Abrams, these candidates have been written off as losing the races so money isn’t going to be wasted in a virtue signaling exercise
Joan Watts (Newland, N. C.)
As an informed, concerned North Carolina voter, I know that Cheri Beasley is a good strong candidate for U. S. Senate in every way: intelligent, educated, experienced, politically informed, balanced, and honest. Democrats should put more financial, vocal, and physical support behind her.
Mb (Nc)
@Joan Watts as a NC voter I agree! I don't know why the DNC can't get behind these strong women.
Phil (Ponte Vedra)
It isn't just the money, but the weak ads. Val Demings did a lot to build name recognition outside of Orlando, but the ad campaign has not been aggressive enough on Rubio's failings. What is abundantly clear is that Democrats leadership is completely out of touch with voters. They lose here because they allow themselves to be branded as socialists, and ignorant of the average person's concerns.
Philip W (Boston)
Val Demmings is a great Candidate and we would love to see her kick little Marco out. I am surprised our unpopular Boston Rep didn't get into this action. She generally jumps into anything with publicity.
Dennis (NorCal)
These ladies are not getting the $$$ for the simple reason that they are already political roadkill and the funds are needed in races that were, until recently, slam dunks. It's the Biden Effect and it is real.
Money (US)
The money that big donors and PACs pour into elections is obscene. Professional campaign managers, polling, producing TV and media advertising, bringing in huge amounts from across the country to tip a local election. That money is not given freely. That money comes with strings attached. The elected officials are beholden to whoever or whatever gave them that money for that election. And the next election and the next. The donors expect power.
Cerebral Sponge (NY)
Which is why my only response to this article is big money needs to get out of politics It should not cost many many times over what the job pays to run for it That's some real power chasing I see no change in this big money big donor practice Bless America we all need it right now
In her ads, Demings does not identify herself as a Democrat. Little wonder that the Democrats are not rushing to help her, for this and other reasons.
Cerebral Sponge (NY)
I've seen many ads where the candidate doesn't mention or show party affiliation. It seems to be what they're doing.
Demmings is polling at least 8 points behind Rubio (a shame) but Democrats are going to save their money.
Stephen J (Florida)
@DVR It was way more than eight points, she is not even remotely likeable in Florida.
Chris (USA)
It's very obviously about investments in close races vs longshots. The less obvious question is: Why does the NYT insist on making every single thing about race or gender?
Nancy G (MA)
@Chris It's about the candidates
John Brown (Washington D.C.)
@Chris They're only longshots because they aren't investing enough money in them. If they actually practiced what they preached (equity and diversity) they'd throw everything they had at the longshot black congressmen and congresswomen. What's affirmative action? What are race and gender quotas in boardrooms, the military, and all other institutions for after all if not to see better representation for minorities? This is just proof Democrats dont actually care about diversity and just use those talking points because they need to pander to what they believe are their constituents.
Hector (New York)
Ugh it’s gotten bad lately. Everything comes down to that here. It’s just ammunition for the right…
VT1985 (Atlanta)
Folks, the DNC is not helping the vast majority of candidates enough, and is sure as hell isn't paying attention to messaging. NO one in, of or near their retirement years should be voting GOP. No females should be voting GOP. No minorities should be voting GOP. The GOP does nothing that benefits common people -- only the super wealthy. I don't know what on earth Jamie Harrison is doing, but the DNC is AWOL this election season.
dba (nyc)
@VT1985 Bring back Howard Dean. One of the few smart Democrats.
BeTheChange (FL)
Don't fool yourself - we all know why even the Dems can't support their own. It's about our country's racism that still remains a barrier to our unity. Black, brown and Latin people see through the wishy washy support and this makes it easier for the other side to peel away voters.
Stephen J (Florida)
@BeTheChange It is not racism, she is not a likeable person, she is no Cory Booker or Barrak Obama. Not racism, she is not like able by anyone
Barbara (Colorado)
We desperately need Val in the Senate!!!
G (Edison, NJ)
@Barbara Then she ought to move to another state, as she is not unseating Rubio this year.
Todd Stuart (Key West)
Accorind to the 538 blog Demings has a 7% chance and Beasley a 22% chance. Given that money is never unlimited both parties triage races. Deciding that these two races aren't the best place to spend money seems like a legitimate call for the Democratic to make. Not every decision that a black candidate is on the wrong side of is racist.
Ampleforth (Airstrip One)
My gosh, it is so easy for people to blame the wrong things. These candidates are not helping themselves, with their soft positions on crime, Southern border, affirmative action, rigor in education, and the like. Give us a break. As for the failure of the Democratic party to help them, the failure is their failed policies of the last several years, not the lack of advertising. Election night cannot come soon enough.
Brian (Green Bay, WI)
I’m betting authoritarianism can’t come soon enough either? That Democrats are weak on the issues you cite are due to Republican lies and their refusal to work on policy together. Then there’s the fact that Republicans actually have no policies themselves…
Stephen J (Florida)
@Brian You do not know Marco Rubio’s platform. He is best for Florida.
Counter Measures (Old Borough Park, NY)
I have a few friends in North Carolina! They plan to vote for Beasley because she comes across as pragmatic and sober! However, they find that she lacks enthusiasm and hasn't made a concerted effort to expand her support! Her Republican opponent, Ted Budd is an empty suit, who has done nothing for his constituents as a congressman, votes against programs that help people, and loves guns!
Paul Nolan (Jessup, MD)
The party is of no help as far as I can see. The old leaders are not leading. The only benefit of losing will be that the leaders get washed out and maybe newer feistier ones will emerge. Disappointed beyond words with Biden, Dem Senators, and the lack of a message on rights based reforms as opposed to pork spending.
Stephen J (Florida)
Val Demmings is unelectable, so there is no return on the investment to spend money on her campaign. Life is tough, get used to it, not every hope or dream comes true. Marco Rubio’s TV ads are and were effective.
Nancy G (MA)
Old White lady here couldn't agree more that the Dems aren't doing enough for Beasley and Demmings. With her resume, and the ever sour-faced dishonest Trumpy Rubio it is political malpractice on steroids.
Gary Cohe (Great Neck NY)
No surprise here as Democrats try to scare people of color with the alternative but fail to deliver enough legislation to attack income inequality. At least after this election the old clumsy and tired leadership of the Democrats will change. It is an outrage when so much of the population is below 50 that the democratic leadership is filled with 70 & 80 year olds.
alan brown (manhattan)
What's the issue? The DNCs priority is to retain a Democratic Senate majority. They can't spend money on lost causes.
Opus One (Austin, TX)
That specific race should’ve been competitive for Val Demings, but the democrats don’t know how to campaign or garner the support of the Latino community, which will determine the outcome of that contest. They don’t understand that the majority of those folks uprooted, left their land, families, friends, their way of life, to avoid the ills that plague most of our urban communities nowadays. They’re sick of it and believe that they can find refuge in a demagogue. As most believed in Venezuela. It’s not that they’re ungrateful to those that helped implement the policies that allowed them to come and remain in the US; the wet feet, dry feet policy, etc., but they’re terrified of the bedlam, the horrific images that are broadcast day and night on the daily newscasts and print media. It brings them back to that moment, that fateful decision. Those folks know all too well where authoritarianism, fascism or whatever you want to call it will lead, but that’s not a concern for them right now. Perhaps, they won’t understand those dynamics until they’re staring it straight in the face. At that point, it’ll be too late. The continuous loop of those they fled, their speeches, side by side with those that are flirting with their ideas, may have been beneficial to Mrs. Demings. Unfortunately, I think the time has lapsed.
Nancy G (MA)
@Opus One Well, with all due respect, they missed the chaos, lies, and budding Facism of the Trump Magas. Fox and election denying dishonest advertising designed to scare people is the oldest trick in the dictators' playbook. I don't honestly understand why anyone would vote for the Trump locksteppers.
globe (New York)
How many immigrants are eligible to vote, and among those. how many will actually get to the polls.
Todd Stuart (Key West)
@Nancy G Living in the liberal bubble in Mass of course you don’t understand it. And after the Red sweep in 10 days you will be even more confused. Maybe you should actually ask some Republicans or Independents why they are rejecting the Democrats candidates in some many races this year.
ls (Ohio)
I hate to say it, but democrats are not going to win in Florida and North Carolina. That's the way it is. And saying these candidates are being snubbed by their own party just makes its worse. This doesn't help.
Canceled Normalman (South Florida)
FiveThirtyEight gives Val Demings a 7% chance of defeating Marco Rubio. Money is better spent on PA, GA, AZ, and NV. And I say that as someone who just voted for Demings this week. Reality is a much more important consideration than identity when allocating campaign resources.
Q Frost (Boulder CO)
@Canceled Normalman Polling for 2016 had Clinton at 85%. Polls are no longer useful, they cannot sample a large enough sample, and people lie.
Todd Stuart (Key West)
@Q Frost The lying isn’t a two way street. Poll seems to underestimate Republican strength. One guess is Republican voters are tired of being demonized so they don’t tell the truth. I don’t know of any races in recent years where a Dems support was dramatically underestimated.
james (USA)
I didn't realize the DNC was supposed to prioritize the money they give to candidates based on their sex and race.
Max (New York , NY)
@James They do it based on likely wins. Demings is fantastic, but her chances again Rubio-the-Machine are low. We cannot afford to lose what we have - so the money has to go to this races. We do not have this one in FL. Makes me sad for us, but not upset about campaign support.
John Brown (Washington D.C.)
@james Why wouldn't they? That's what equity means after all. Hypocrites.
james (USA)
@Max Yes my comment was rather sarcastic because the most important thing is to always put money into races that are winnable regardless of the sex or race of the candidate.
Belinda (Tallahassee)
Wah. The have more important fish to watch lose in embarrassing fashion.
Sang Ze (Massachusetts)
The democrats are proving that they do not care fore anyone beyond their own wallets. While I could never support a toad like trump or any of his ignorant followers, the democrats have given me little if anything worthy of my vote.I am tired of voting for the lesser of two evils. Let them all, left or right, have their fun playing together in the cesspool they have created. I have better things to do than bother with them.
Max (New York , NY)
@Sang Ze OY! And if we do not "bother with them," we will suffer way more if the autocrats control our lives. democrats got us through the pandemic alive financially; we have a GROWING economy; lowest unemployment ever; reduction in deficits after years of massive deficit increases under Trump; health care protections and the protections of voting rights, reproductive rights....and so much more! How anyone can say the Dems have given "little worthy of my vote" is simply stunning. What WOULD be worthy of your vote, if these major accomplishments do not make a difference?
Patricia (NYC)
Republicans are counting on people like you to 'not be bothered' so they can win the majority.
Kitnkaboodle (Usa)
@Patricia So be it. Dems can’t get out of their own way.
They should be running non-stop commercials in FL on the Republican plan to cut Social Security and Medicare. Rick Scott, Ron Johnson, Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy are all on record with their wishes to slash SS. "Entitlement reform" is code for cutting SS and Medicare.
Wrigley (Los Angeles)
@ERV Marco has the majority of the large Cubano vote locked in and too many white seniors in that state just don’t believe white Republicans would destroy these lifelines. These things happen when one’s only source of news is Fox or worse.
A.L.P. (Midwest)
@ERV The country (not just Florida) does need Ms. Demings: she is the real deal. Marco Rubio has proven to be Mr. Opportunist; additionally, he had no backbone when confronted by high schoolers, victims of gun violence. And, of course, he never confronted Trump, even after the former guy insulted him personally.
See also