I recently learned that, for the first time, one party in the House of Representatives will have a minority of white men. (The Democrats, duh.) So we thought we’d look at the Illinois General Assembly, to see if it’s becoming equally diverse.
The House and the Senate are both run by white male Democrats: Speaker Michael Madigan and John Cullerton. But white men have become a minority in that caucus.
In the House, only 24 of the 71 Democrats elected this year are white guys. There are 31 women, 18 African-Americans and six Latinos. (Some of these categories overlap, obviously.) Of the 47 Republicans, 36 are white guys, and 11 are white women.
In the Senate, white guys do a lot better. They make up half the 40 Democratic senators elected this year. The Democrats have 10 African-Americans, four Latinos and 11 women.
Of the 19 Republican senators, 15 are white men and four are white women.
So overall, white men make up 39.6 percent of the Democratic legislators in Springfield -- almost exactly their proportion in the state as a whole -- and 77.2 percent of the Republicans.
David Wasserman, House editor for the Cook Political Report, told CNN that the racial and gender polarization in Washington means that “both parties are distilling to their core, and they are living in parallel universes.”
That seems to be true in Springfield as well, except than in Illinois, the Democrats’ universe is a lot bigger.