The Daily Beast reports that a report by the New Organizing Institute reveals a racial pay gap in campaign politics: Asian, black and Latino staffers are paid less than their white counterparts.
Democratic campaigns paid black staffers 30 percent less than whites, and their Hispanic staffers 32 percent less. And a separate study by PowerPAC+ revealed that less than 2 percent of spending by Democratic campaign committees during the past two election cycles went to firms owned by minorities.
Political operative Michael Gomez Daly worked on two congressional campaigns in 2012 with similar budgets. On one campaign, Daly, who describes himself as “a very light-skinned Hispanic,” was brought in as a field director, primarily for his skills as a Latino operative who could reach out to the Hispanic community. On the second campaign, where they did not know he was Hispanic, “I just came in as ‘Michael Daly,’ instead of ‘that Latino operative,’” he said. “Right off the bat they offered me twice the amount for the same job.”
The Daily Beast reported that most of the operatives interviewed for the article said they had to make a decision early on in their careers to avoid being pigeonholed as a specialist in minority outreach. The conventional campaign wisdom is that voters best respond to pitches made by those who are similar to them. But this limits the roles that minority campaign staffers are able to play. As one Democratic political operative noted,
“Most minority staffers get hired in campaigns in field jobs, and field jobs pay less. The problem is: they don’t hire African Americans, Latinos in the parts of the campaigns where they spend the most money. The most money in campaigns is spent in communications, polling and data. In those parts of the campaign, it’s very much mostly white.
“There’s a presumption that minorities can’t manage ‘white’ issues. There’s a presumption that white voters won’t like to see a black press secretary, or that white voters won’t want to see an African-American or Latino political director. There’s just a general prejudice factor."
So even in campaigns targeting minority voters, the Democratic party isn't the all-inclusive party of diversity and economic and racial equality that it claims to be? Shocking.