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Democratic Campaigns Are Recruiting Talent From Elite Schools and it Could be Hurting Them

Democratic Campaigns Are Recruiting Talent From Elite Schools and it Could be Hurting Them

“This matters because those Democrats working to elect presidents often have little in common with the electorate itself.”

Daniel Kreiss is an Associate Professor at the School of Media and Journalism at UNC at Chapel Hill.

He writes at Medium:

Ivy League Democrats and State School Republicans

Democrats have an Ivy League problem.

When compared with Republicans, Democratic presidential campaigns much more narrowly draw their top campaign talent in important areas from a handful of elite and mostly private universities. This matters because those Democrats working to elect presidents often have little in common with the electorate itself.

Over the past few years, we put together a dataset of 954 presidential primary and general election campaign staffers (746 Democrats and 208 Republicans) who worked in technology, digital media, data, and analytics from the 2004–2016 cycles. These areas of campaigning are historically recent but have grown tremendously since the 2004 presidential cycle. They are now at the center of how campaigns both know and communicate with the electorate and make strategy decisions. We also used public data sources to chart their careers, including their education backgrounds. We used earlier versions of this dataset previously to analyze the evolution of the field, innovation, and the representation of women in this industry in peer-reviewed publications.

The data are clear. Over the past decade Democrats have selected their own ‘best and brightest’ in the world of presidential campaigning — and that is not a good thing.

Taken together, an astonishing 20% of all hiring by Democratic campaigns comes from just seven schools: Harvard (5% of Democratic hiring), Stanford (3%), NYU (3%), UC Berkeley (3%), Georgetown (2%), Columbia (2%), and Yale (2%). In 2016, Hillary Clinton’s campaign hired 16% of its staffers from just four schools: Harvard (6%), Stanford (4%), NYU (3%), and Georgetown (3%).

In short, elite universities on the coasts dominate Democratic hiring.

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Comments

The premise of this sounds interesting, but it really falls apart when you break down the numbers.

“…an astonishing 20% of all hiring by Democratic campaigns comes from just seven schools.” And how many schools make up the other 80%? This doesn’t seem like such an extreme concentration to me.

Perhaps a map-based visualization showing the entirety of the D / R hiring and how it breaks down geographically would be a better way to look at the data?

    Paul in reply to Paul. | April 15, 2019 at 1:19 pm

    OK, just followed the original link and the network-analysis they present later in the article is even better than the geo-based approach I suggested.

healthguyfsu | April 15, 2019 at 5:59 pm

Yeah 20% sounds like there’s still a lot of room for other “non-elite” staffers. I’m not buying this argument as presented.

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