The Democratic Party has worked tirelessly to gain support from the African-American community throughout this year’s campaign season. Black contractors aren’t feeling the love, however, as the party’s campaign committee failed to hire more minority-owned businesses to work the upcoming Democratic National Convention.
According to a 2014 report by Democratic minority advocacy firm PowerPAC+, minority vendors only received $8.7 million of the $514 million Democrats spent on consultants during the 2010 and 2012 election seasons. The analysis also reports that just 17 companies out of 287 backed consulting firms were minority-owned.
This lack of diversity has Black vendors feeling like they aren’t getting a fair share of the pie, Ebony reports.
This latest faux pas on the part of the DNC has African-Americans questioning whether Democrats really have their best interests at heart. Besides, this isn’t the first time the party has failed to do business with a decent number of Black vendors. The party relies heavily on African-American support yet continually fails to employ them.
According to Atlanta Black Star, 44 percent of the Democratic electorate in 2012 came from minority groups like Blacks, Latinos, Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders and Native Americans. The fact that the DNC pushed minority-owned contractors on their website, yet didn’t award any of them contracts made matters even worse.
“Democrats are wasting millions of dollars chasing after White swing voters instead of investing the money in engaging communities of color,” said founder and chairman of PowerPAC+ Steve Phillips.
According to Ebony, Vectour Transportation Group was one of the vendors who failed to secure a contract with the DNC this year. The Black-owned company was a 2012 convention contractor but didn’t get a bid to return.
“Things did not go exactly how we would have liked for them to go this year,” said Reggie Halsam, the company’s CEO.
According to the Internal Democratic National Committee, 2015 statistics show that women made up 48 percent of its staff while almost 36 percent of its employees were minorities. Also, 23 percent of contracts and 25 percent of total dollars spent in that campaign year went to minority-owned businesses, the report found. Twelve percent of those were Black-owned.
Per Ebony, two African-American-owned firms are among the five major contracts the Democrats’ convention committee awarded to minority businesses this year.
“As for vendors, we have an unprecedented goal of awarding 35 percent of our contracts to diverse companies,” said convention committee spokesman Lee Whack.
The DNC further upped its efforts to combat its diversity woes by creating a Chief Diversity Officer position in 2011. According to the Philadelphia Sun, the new role is responsible for developing a diverse pool of talent that will help the DNC and other party committees “identify talent across every relevant field in political campaign operations.”
“The Chief Diversity Officer has also fostered relationships and mechanisms to communicate with congressional caucuses, like the Hispanic, Black, and Asian Pacific American Caucuses, to better reach qualified candidates with job posting information and help them connect to the hiring process,” the publication states.