National Politics

Lack of minority staffers threatens to hobble 2020 Democrats

Potential 2020 Democratic presidential candidates in the early stages of assembling campaign staffs are running into an uncomfortable truth: Among the already small pool of capable operatives, there’s an even smaller pool of nonwhite campaign managers and senior advisers.

The shortage could have serious repercussions given the large number of expected candidates and the diverse makeup of the Democratic electorate. The party’s base is increasingly young and diverse, and candidates, especially older ones, need staffers who understand how to stitch together coalitions across racial and economic lines.

The emerging campaigns of some would-be candidates have tried to get a jump on the problem, compiling spreadsheets of potential minority staffers and holding discussions with the candidates about the need to assemble diverse teams. Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Sherrod Brown and Kirsten Gillibrand have had African-Americans in senior-level positions in their past campaigns, putting them in position to reactivate them if they run for president.

But interviews with more than a dozen Democratic operatives — including aides to several likely 2020 contenders and veterans of past presidential campaigns — produced a consensus that there simply aren’t enough minority operatives to staff what’s expected to be a sprawling field of candidates.

Veterans of past Democratic campaigns say that a campaign that doesn’t have African-Americans or other minorities in its top leadership is going to hit a wall very quickly.

“Here’s what’s going to happen. If you don’t have any people of color on your national team or if you don’t have them in those early states … you’re going to be hamstrung,” said Jamal Simmons, who has served as an adviser for multiple Democratic presidential campaigns. A candidate campaigning in a largely white state like New Hampshire is likely to be asked about issues that voters in minority-rich states like South Carolina care about, Simmons said, and will have trouble responding if their team isn’t prepared.

Read the full story at:  Lack of minority staffers threatens to hobble 2020 Democrats

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