Back when Democrats were starting to announce for president, the conventional wisdom was that the ideal nominee would be either a woman or a member of a minority group.
The theory was that Donald Trump had soured many Americans on the idea of an old white guy in the Oval office and that many in the Democratic base really wanted someone else to be elected.
Part of the reason for this assessment was a hangover from the 2016 election.
Many liberals awoke on election day believing that they were about to elect the first woman president in the form of Hillary Clinton.
They went to bed very late traumatized that Trump had been elected instead, the pain of which many have yet to recover from.
Believing the conventional wisdom, several women, including Sen. Kamala Harris, D-California, (who also counts as a minority), Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass, and Sen Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn, announced and began their quests for the White House.
Harris was especially touted as a possible winner because of her status as a woman of color and a reputation of being tough on crime as a prosecutor. Other candidates such as Sen. Cory Booker, D-New Jersey and Julian Castro checked the minority box.
Fast forward several months and the commentary has had been confounded by the fact that the top three candidates in the polls have consistently been white guys.
The first two are old white guys, former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont. Early on, the number three was former Rep. Robert Francis ‘Beto’ O’Rourke, a man trying to identify as Hispanic though he is not.
Now Beto has been replaced in most polls by Mayor Peter Buttigieg, who at least has the saving grace of being openly gay.
Some analysts think that Democratic voters are shying away from female and minority candidates because they don’t think that they can win.
The reason that the white guys are leading in the polls is a little more complex than that.
Biden appears appeal to the more establishment wing of the Democratic Party.
He has a reputation of being a solid candidate who does not frighten people too much, who has been in elected politics since the Nixon presidency. He can appeal to blue collar voters and African Americans, the latter because his being Barack Obama’s vice president.
Biden is considered to be the candidate most likely to beat Trump.
Bernie Sanders appeals to the Bolshevik wing of the Democratic Party.
From “Medicare for all” to the Green New Deal, he has articulated a lot of policy positions that appeals to the far left.
Also, many Bernie supporters are still seething because they feel their guy was cheated out of the nomination by Hillary Clinton and her supporters in 2016.
They are spoiling for revenge.
The rest have not caught fire in the same way that Barack Obama did during the 2008 presidential campaign or, to some extent, Hillary Clinton in 2016.
It turns out that no one is going to vote for someone for president just because he or she is a woman or a minority. They have to have that combination of elect-ability and ideology that causes one to want to vote for them.
If the preferred candidate is a woman, a minority, or both, then so much the better, but an old white guy will do just as well.
Some Democrats think that a lot of men would not vote for a woman candidate, as a story on NPR suggests.
The attitude has not one iota of truth. A lot of men and women declined to vote for Hillary Clinton because they considered her a monster, someone willing to throw a 12-year-old rape victim under the bus as she did Kathy Shelton.
Most people will vote for a woman, as long as she is the right woman.
In the meantime, no doubt guilty about the cold shoulder their female candidates are getting, whomever gets the Democratic nomination, either Biden or Bernie, probably will choose a woman as his running mate.
Of course, the decision must be made with great care.
Otherwise, the old, white guy likely to be on the top of the ticket may find himself dragged down by a sub-par running mate.