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'Old, male, and pale': 2020 Democrats under pressure to hire minorities

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13.02.2019

Democratic hopefuls are hiring people of color to oversee their operations. Sen. Cory Booker has named 10 top staffers, four of whom are women and six are African-American. | Scott Olson/Getty Images

2020 Elections

Candidates are well aware that an all-white and male inner circle won’t be tolerated by the base anymore.

By LAURA BARRÓN-LÓPEZ and ALEX THOMPSON

02/13/2019 05:02 AM EST

The 2020 Democratic presidential field is the most diverse ever — and so is the class of advisers and staffers being hired to run their campaigns.

In a departure from past elections, Democratic hopefuls are methodically hiring people of color to oversee their operations. Julian Castro, Cory Booker and Kamala Harris have all brought on black or Latino campaign managers.

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Democratic candidates are well aware that an all-white and male inner circle won’t be tolerated by the base anymore. But there are also practical considerations at work: Black and Latino voters could sway primaries in critical early voting states like South Carolina, Nevada and California. And as the base of the party grows more diverse, Democratic operatives and pols say, 2020 candidates need advisers who can communicate effectively with key voting blocs.

“It's important that our staff looks like America,‘ said Harris‘ campaign manager, Juan Rodriguez, who is Latino. “[Harris is] ensuring that her campaign not only employs people from diverse backgrounds but makes them key decision-makers.“

Prominent black and Latino lawmakers in Congress, including members of the Congressional Black Caucus, are paying close attention. Top of mind is the fact that President Barack Obama surrounded himself primarily with white staffers in the White House. Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders did much the same when hiring the high-level advisers who made up their 2016 campaign brain trusts.

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“The CBC has for some time now become extremely nosey as it relates to the staff........

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