POLITICS

Here’s How Diverse The Staffs Of Major Democratic Campaign Groups Are

Two major Democratic campaign committees have staffs that are less racially diverse than Joe Biden’s presidential campaign.
Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada is the first Latina to chair the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Her senior s
Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada is the first Latina to chair the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Her senior staff at the committee is roughly one-third people of color.

All four major Democratic campaign committees have staffs that are at least 30% people of color, according to staff diversity data provided to HuffPost, though there is a wide variance among the committees.

HuffPost asked for staff diversity data from both the Democratic and Republican national committees, along with the Senate, House and gubernatorial campaign committees for both parties. None of the Republican committees, with the exception of the Republican National Committee, responded.

Democrats, in particular, have faced increasing pressure to hire diverse staff members in recent years as the party has become more reliant on Black, Latino and Asian American voters to win key elections. Activists have pressured the committees and Democratic presidential campaigns to release data, and some members of Congress have gone public with complaints about staff diversity.

Advocates for hiring more staffers of color argue that’s it both the right thing to do for the Democratic Party, which claims to represent the interests of racial minorities in American politics, and that it helps the party because Black and Latino operatives are better at appealing to those voting blocs.

“It’s critically important that the party committees reflect the communities of voters that are putting Democrats into elected office, not only because it’s the right thing to do, but if you look at the world we live in right now, it’s communities of colors that are hardest hit by the pandemic and are going to be needing advocates at the table,” said Alida Garcia, the founder of Inclusv, which works to help people of color find jobs in politics. “When we don’t have staffers who are in the ears of these candidates advocating for the people who are the neediest, the whole country suffers.”

The presidential campaigns for both Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden released data on how diverse their staffs were earlier this month. Biden’s full-time staff was made up of 35% people of color and 53% women. (Garcia, who is working with the Biden campaign, said she expects the campaign to get more diverse as it continues to hire staffers.)

The Democratic committees are generally in a similar place, though some of the committees lag behind the benchmarks set by Biden and by Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in 2016.

  • The Democratic National Committee’s staff is 41% people of color and 56% women. Its senior staff is 42% people of color and 50% women.

  • The Democratic Gubernatorial Association is 32% people of color and 62% women. Its senior staff is 22% people of color and 55% women.

  • The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is 31% people of color and 60% women. Its senior staff is 32% people of color and 60% women.

  • The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is 44% people of color and 52% female. Its senior staff is 59% people of color and 53% women.

Garcia said the committees should, at a minimum, “be reflective of the electorate that puts Democratic presidents into office.”

“That benchmark should be around the mid-40s,” she said.

Both the DGA and the DCCC said they had worked aggressively to diversify their staffs in recent years. In 2018, the DGA said, the organization’s staff was just 46% women and 17% people of color. Its senior staff was even less diverse, with just 12.5% people of color and 25% women.

The DCCC, meanwhile, faced a major staff shakeup in 2019 when leading members of both the Congressional Black Caucus and Congressional Hispanic Caucus criticized the committee for a lack of diversity at the top of the organization. Since then, the committee has hired a chief diversity officer and conducted an anonymous climate survey to assess the organization’s culture.

The RNC said half of its senior-level officials are women and one-quarter are people of color. The committee did not reveal the demographics of its full staff. The National Republican Congressional Committee, the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the Republican Governors Association did not respond. 

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