The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

The 2016 Republican field might be the most diverse ever — for either party

The addition of Carly Fiorina (not a white man) and Ben Carson (not a white man) to a Republican 2016 field that already includes Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Rand Paul means that the 2016 Republican field will likely be the most diverse from either party since at least 1992. Given how the country has diversified -- and given how many non-white-men are already in the GOP field -- it's likely that the current class is the most diverse ever. With one caveat.

We pulled data on the major presidential contenders from each election since Bill Clinton first won the presidency. What constitutes a presidential contender is admittedly subjective, so we focused (but not exclusively) on those who actually made it onto ballots and those who won delegates. Giving us this:

For 2016, we included a number of people who aren't yet actual candidates, including Martin O'Malley on the Democratic side and Republicans Scott Walker, Rick Perry, Jeb Bush, John Kasich, Lindsey Graham, Rick Santorum and Bobby Jindal. (Why didn't we include Trump? Because: Who is that? Who is "Trump"? Also.) Those likely candidates are the faded icons on the chart below.

Even once we add in all of those mostly white-male Republican maybes, the party's 2016 field is the most diverse on either side. One more white male, though, and the balance tips to the 2008 Democrats, with Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and Bill Richardson in a smaller field. (In terms of the sheer number of non-white men, the giant 2016 GOP field will be hard to beat.) There's only one non-white woman on our chart: 2004 Democrat Carol Moseley Braun.

Since 1990, the percentage of the country that is white has dropped from more than 80 percent to just above 70 percent, according to Census Bureau data. That increased diversity is reflected in the candidates that the parties field. We'll note, though, that the percentage of women in America has always been a bit above 50 percent, but the percentage of women that have run for president since 1992 has been below 10 percent.

Which is something that at least one of this year's candidates will probably point out.