Sens. Cory Booker and Kamala Harrisat the 50th NAACP Image Awards in Hollywood in March. Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Leading Democrats including presidential candidates Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and former HUD Secretary Julián Castro spoke out against an increasing lack of diversity in the 2020 race following the exit of Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) Tuesday.

Why it matters: The six candidates who've qualified for the upcoming debate are all white: former Vice President Joe Biden, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sens. Bernie Sanders, (I-Vt.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and billionaire Tom Steyer.

  • Booker noted on MSNBC that the Democratic race is "spiraling towards" a December debate that "could have six people with no diversity whatsoever."

The big picture: Harris had qualified for the next debate, but she bowed out after struggling in recent polls. The other candidates of color have yet to meet Democratic National Committee debate requirements. Candidates have until Dec. 12 to qualify.

  • Fox News notes businessman Andrew Yang and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) met the donor threshold qualification "but have yet to meet the polling requirement."
  • Neither Booker nor Castro have qualified met the requirements so far.

What they're saying: Several liberal activists and progressive groups have spoken out on the lack of diversity in the Democrats' race now.

  • Democratic strategist Michael Starr Hopkins told Fox News the DNC "thought it would help progressives" with its new requirements, "but it ended up hurting campaigns like Harris, Booker, and Castro. "Instead of focusing on building infrastructure, they had to spend insane amounts on donor lists to get on the debate stage," he said.
  • Castro told BuzzFeed the media had held Harris to a double standard because candidates of color are treated differently. He also addressed the DNC debate's diversity issue in a video posted to Twitter.

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