Consulting While Black
Its seems that The Politico has discovered that the overwhelming majority of consultants used by the Democratic Party are white. Big shock there. I mean seriously you didn’t need a Lois Lane to figure that out.
Matt has a good analysis of the story and the need for not only more consultants of color, but progressive operatives at all levels and of all colors to move the party forward.
I don’t want to get away from a simple point here. I mean, it’s pretty obvious that party elites should hire more black and Hispanic consultants. I just think there’s an added element of how the party structure needs to change to make sure that the new consulting class is both multi-racial and progressive. Both are critical. This is as true for the blogosphere as it is for the consulting world, though the constraints on the blogosphere are somewhat different and in all likelihood will correct itself over time as new power-savvy characters emerge to wield power online. There’s a long-standing debate in disempowered communities about a tangentially related dilemma going back centuries, the talented tenth and all that.
Its not like its all that hard to find smart aggressive operatives of color in D.C. I mean stand on any street corner, give a shout out and you will be trampled by people wanting to help move the party forward. And moving the party forward is something that I think is key to any sustained Democratic electoral success. Its not about just adding a little colored wine to the existing wineskin. We need to be thinking seriously about what’s next in reclaiming the American liberal tradition and remixing it for the 21st century.
With the Republican presidential candidates coming off as ten angry white men, with each trying hard to out neanderthal the guy to his right, we have an opportunity to recapture the White House and expand our congressional majorities. That’s not something that’s preordained by the electoral gods either. Its something that we will have to work hard and smart to attain.
A important part of that work includes strengthening the party at the grassroots and consultant levels by building strong multi-racial and progressive leadership. It means developing and pushing forward a strong liberal vision for the country and not backing down in the face of the Republican attack machine that we saw in all its hysterical nuttiness here and here in the fight to pass the federal hate crimes bill in the House.
As for where the Republican Party fits into this conversation, they don’t. Sure, it was wrong of The Politico not to include them as part of this story because it gives the impression that its Democrats who have a race problem and fits into the conservative meme of Democrats being a party of “special interests.” But, the GOP has virtually nothing to offer communities of color whether of the consultant class or not. They only see our color when we can be used as political punching bags to help them gain and maintain power.