What does the selection of LaDavia Drane as Hillary’s Black Outreach Chief mean? It means the end of the eyes-down-to-the-carpet way the Black Agenda was dealt with by Team Obama. It means a strategic connection between the Black Caucus and Team Clinton. Most importantly: It likely means more of an emphasis on policy that disproportionately effects African Americans and those policies being strongly communicated to black voters. In 2012, Black voters turned out at a higher rate than whites for the first time and black women had the highest turnout percentage of any voting demographic.
Drane’s hire is also a sign that Team Hillary wants to have an actual relationship with members of the Black Caucus — now the largest in American history at 46. Despite the fact that several CBC members endorsed Sen. Obama in late 2007 (Reps. Cummings, Lee, Jackson, Davis, Fattah, Cleaver, Scott-VA, Ellison, Ford, Rush…) there was a cold relationship and the “know-it-all/we-got-this” style of Obama’s campaign when it came to their Black ground game is likely now a thing of the past. As it would turn out, President Obama’s cold relationship would later extend past the CBC and to the entire Congress during his presidency.
It’s not a secret that camp Obama assumed that Black voters would support the President in 2008 and 2012 on the theory of “who else are they going to vote for…” In 2012, the theme used on Black voters from team Obama was, “vote for President Obama or else.” That’s a pretty easy theme to cultivate when your opponent is Mitt Romney.
But now, with Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) running to the left of Hillary Clinton on justice reform and Jeb Bush and John Kasich likely to come off as far more moderate than Romney or McCain could ever dream of, Clinton will need to have an even tougher time winning as high of a percentage of the Black vote as President Obama. And if a GOP candidate can get to over 10% of the Black vote they can at least dream of making up for the likely loss of Hispanic voters.
Of course it would be a herculean task for Hillary Clinton to receive as much support from Black voters as Barack Obama — a candidate Black voters would stand in line for hours for. But if Clinton actually takes the advice of her new Director of African American Outreach, we’re likely to see an extensive and exaustive ground game with members of the Black Caucus and their operatives involved.
Several Black Caucus members expressed absolute delight at Drane’s hiring and were focused on the likely improvement in policy related to African Americans.
“LaDavia was instrumental to the work and successes of the CBC during her time with us, and her hire guarantees that Hillary Clinton’s campaign is committed to working to earn every vote in our community. Whether it’s criminal justice, education, or healthcare. LaDavia understands the issues and how they impact our community,” said former CBC Chair Marcia Fudge (D-OH) whose tenure as Black Caucus Chair was one of the most productive in years.