(THE NATION) – "Old wineskins must make room for new wine." During the Rainbow Coalition days of the 1980s, Jesse Jackson used that biblical reference to press the Democratic Party to make structural and strategic changes in order to seize the opportunities presented by the country's demographic revolution.
Today, this change is more imperative than ever, with an unprecedented number of Democratic gubernatorial nominees of color in the 2018 election cycle. These new candidates, propelled by large numbers of new and potential voters, create new opportunities for Democratic gains across the country. But to take advantage of these opportunities, Democrats will have to discard their old approaches.
Just two African Americans in U.S. history have been elected governor: Doug Wilder in Virginia in 1989 and Deval Patrick in Massachusetts in 2006. This year alone, there are three black gubernatorial nominees: Stacey Abrams in Georgia, Ben Jealous in Maryland, and Andrew Gillum in Florida. In addition to the black candidates, there are three Latino gubernatorial nominees—David Garcia in Arizona, Michelle Lujan Grisham in New Mexico, and Lupe Valdez in Texas. And if that weren't enough, the Democratic nominee in Idaho, Paulette Jordan, is bidding to become the first Native American governor in the country.
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