Newswise — EVANSTON, Ill. --- Historic wins by minorities and women in Democratic Party primaries across the country could signal a seismic shift within the party — depending on how old guard party leaders respond, Northwestern University professor Alvin Tillery says. While the party remains mostly white and centrist, recent primary results reflect a diversifying nation, Tillery says.

Tillery is an associate professor of political science and director of the Center for the Study of Diversity and Democracy at Northwestern. His research and teaching interests are in the fields of American politics and political theory. His research in American politics focuses on American political development, racial and ethnic politics and media and politics. He can be reached at (mobile) 574-514-5758 or atillery2@gmail.com.

Quote from Professor Tillery

“We have been aware of the rising political power of minority voters in the Democratic Party since President Obama’s ascent to the presidency in 2008. This power has also been demonstrated in the recent special elections in states like Virginia and Alabama. What's new in 2018 is the rise of so many minority and women candidates rising up and challenging party stalwarts in primary elections.

“The success that candidates like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in New York and Jahana Hayes in Connecticut are having against these stalwarts shows that there is a sea change occurring in the Democratic Party. There is no doubt that these candidates will draw new voters to the polls in the short run, but the real question about this changing of the guard is how will the leadership of the Democratic Party — still mostly white and centrist — respond to these newcomers.

“If the leadership can somehow harness all of this energy and acquiesce to the newcomers' demands for power-sharing, then the entry of these minority politicians will only bolster the party's electoral chances in our diversifying nation.”

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