MSNBC host Al Sharpton said Tuesday that the Democratic Party is going to have some explaining to do to black voters when not a single black presidential candidate appears on the next debate stage.

Appearing on MSNBC’s “Deadline,” the National Action Network founder weighed in on Sen. Kamala Harris announcing Tuesday that she was dropping out of the Democratic presidential primary.

“I think that the real problem the Democrats are going to have is the next debate, you have no black [candidate] on that stage,” Mr. Sharpton said. “And the Democratic Party cannot have a stage where black voters do not see themselves reflected — where they don’t see themselves reflected and expect that we’ll come out and vote in big numbers.

“You must have had black turnout, but we don’t turn up in the debate? There is something that is wrong with that, and some of us are not going to be quiet about it,” he added.

Mr. Sharpton went on to argue that Ms. Harris was “taken apart” and “treated badly” by the press, in part because “black women especially are held to a different standard” than others.

“Yes, there were organizational problems,” he said, referring to Ms. Harris’ campaign. “Yes, there were financial problems. But you have people on that debate stage who have no organization at all, and the press is not writing about it.

“What are you going to say to black voters when they look at that stage, and nobody like them is there?” he added. “The Democratic Party’s going to have to look at that and deal with that because that is a problem.”

Sen. Cory Booker and former Gov. Deval Patrick, the two remaining black candidates in the Democratic presidential primary, have yet to qualify for the Dec. 19 debate. Mr. Booker on Tuesday called that fact “a damn shame.”

“I’m a little angry, I have to say, that we started with one of the most diverse fields in our history, giving people pride,” Mr. Booker told MSNBC’s Chris Hayes. “And it’s a damn shame now that the only African American woman in this race, who has been speaking to issues that need to be brought up, is now no longer in it.”

We started with one of the most diverse fields in our history. It’s a damn shame that the only African American woman in this race is no longer in it, and we’re spiraling toward a debate stage without a single person of color.
— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) December 4, 2019

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