By Richard Dickerson
Special to The Times
Of the $500 million spent on consultants by the national Democratic Party over a three-year period, 98 percent of those contracts were awarded to white consultants, according to an analysis of Democratic Party spending.
Of the $514 million spent by three national Democratic Party committees from 2009 to 2012, 98 percent went to white political consultants, according to figures released in 2014 by PowerPac+, a political fundraising group focused on multiracial and progressive donors and leaders.
Over 94% of blacks who vote in the Presidential election will vote for the democratic candidate.
That raises a question: Are democratic candidates respecting the black vote?
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will soon be traveling south for the Democratic primaries on March 1 including in Alabama.
What does this mean for black voters?
The suggestion by many of the pundits is that black voters will favor Clinton and will be the key to her winning the majority of the SEC primary states and thus the election. Sanders is trying to show that his record of service is worthy of black voter support.
Other questions need to be asked: Will there be discussions of the issues facing the black community and solutions offered, for example, increased hopelessness, generational poverty, failing schools, high unemployment rates, high drop-out rates and high incarceration rates? How much money will the democratic candidates and democratic organizations spend with blacks?
Should we also ask whether candidates will put a chicken box in every house or will there be opportunities to take photos with the candidates?
A vote is an investment and should not be traded for a chicken box or a photo opportunity.
Supreme Court appointments are very important, public policy positions are likewise enormously important, and money is important. Black consultants possess the talent, skills, and experience however they are rarely chosen.
Do white consultants have a unique talent or skill that their black counterparts are lacking?
Have the white consultants demonstrated a substantially high rate of success that would warrant their receipt of 98% of the contracts?
What is the message which the Democratic Party is sending to the black community and black consultants?
To be clear, the Democratic Party which relies on and receives overwhelming support from black voters awarded just 2 percent of its contracts during President Barack Obama’s first term to nonwhites, according to the analysis.
Steve Phillips co-founder of Power PAC, a social justice organization, who ran the independent voter turnout for President Obama in 2008 has said that for the party to hold onto and grow its multiracial voting bloc it needs to include political consultants who have the experience of living in minority communities and of sharing their culture.
Maybe it’s time African-Americans deliver a message to Democrats: Leave chicken boxes, bring contracts.