Report: Democratic Presidential Hopefuls Could Stand to Diversify Their Staffs

By Kenrya Rankin Jul 23, 2015

A new report examines staff diversity for the top three Democratic presidential hopefuls and suggests that there is still much work to do.

The report, from diversity hiring initiative Inclusv, examined payroll expenses from the campaigns on July 1, 2015, Federal Election Commission filings and voter file info to create an estimated breakdown of staffers by ethnicity. The resulting estimates show that as of June 30, 2015, 32 percent of Hillary Clinton’s campaign staff is made up of people of color, while Martin O’Malley’s staff is 91 percent white, and Bernie Sanders’ staff is 90 percent white. In the 2012 election, 42 percent of the voters who chose President Obama were people of color.

A further breakout of the numbers shows that the Native American representation on all three campaigns is effectively zero, and while Clinton’s staff is 3 percent Arab American, her competitors both sit at zero percent. When it comes to black staffers, Clinton leads with 13 percent; O’Malley has 7 percent, and Sanders has 3 percent. According to Inclusv, Latinos are 8 percent, zero percent and 7 percent of the staff for Clintons, O’Malley and Sanders respectively—though O’Malley does have one Latina on board. Asian American Pacific Islanders make up 8 percent of Clinton’s staff, 2 percent of O’Malley’s and are not represented at all on Sanders’ team.

Quentin James, Inclusv co-founder, said in a statement that the candidates should hire staffs that reflect the diversity of the people who will put them in the White House:

If staffers of color are not at the forefront within every department of your campaign, it’s inauthentic to say you are ready to lead our nation on issues like immigration or criminal justice reform. We have to move beyond conversations about diversity and ensure we always reflect the true ideals of our democracy, even when it’s not convenient. If candidates want our support, people of color have to play prominent and vital roles within their campaigns.

Inclusv is calling on the campaigns to release quarterly reports on their staff diversity.