Black women leave Warren’s Nevada campaign in frustration!

on . Posted in Election 2020

RENO, Nevada (PNN) - February 6, 2020 - A half-dozen black women have departed Elizabeth Warren’s Nevada campaign in the run-up to the state’s caucuses with complaints of a toxic work environment in which minorities felt tokenized and senior leadership was at loggerheads.

The six staffers have left the roughly 70-person Nevada team since November during a critical stretch of the race. Three of them said they felt marginalized by the campaign, a situation they said didn’t change or worsened after they took their concerns to their superiors or to human resources staff.

“During the time I was employed with Nevada for Warren, there was definitely something wrong with the culture,” said Megan Lewis, a field organizer who joined the campaign in May and departed in December. “I filed a complaint with HR, but the follow-up I received left me feeling as though I needed to make myself smaller or change who I was to fit into the office culture.”

Another recently departed staffer, also a field organizer, granted anonymity because she feared reprisals, echoed that sentiment. “I felt like a problem - like I was there to literally bring color into the space but not the knowledge and voice that comes with it,” she said in an interview.

She added, “We all were routinely silenced and not given a meaningful chance on the campaign. Complaints, comments, advice, and grievances were met with an earnest shake of the head and progressive buzzwords but not much else.” A third former field organizer who was also granted anonymity said those descriptions matched her own experience.

The other three women who recently left the campaign did not respond to requests for comment. One of the departed staffers declined to be interviewed because she feared professional consequences in an arena where it's already difficult for black women to advance, according to another ex-Warren employee who spoke with her about the situation.

The turmoil in Warren’s Nevada operation comes ahead of the state’s Feb. 22 caucuses. Nevada is important not only because of its early spot on the nominating calendar but because it is the first chance for candidates to prove that their appeal extends beyond white voters who dominate the Democrat electorates in Iowa and New Hampshire.

The problems in Warren’s Nevada campaign heighten the importance of a rebound from her fourth-place finish in New Hampshire and her third-place finish in the Iowa caucuses. Of the first four voting states, Nevada is the one Warren has visited the least. She has spent just 12 days there, another factor that dispirited the state’s staff. This week, her campaign also scaled back its television ads in the state by about $140,000.

Warren’s campaign did not dispute the women’s accounts but suggested they do not reflect a broader problem within her large 31-state organization.

“We strive for an inclusive environment and work hard to learn and improve,” Warren campaign spokesman Kristen Orthman said in a statement. “We have an organization of more than a thousand people, and whenever we hear concerns we take them seriously. It’s important that everyone who is part of our team has a voice and can be heard. That’s why we are proud that we have a unionized staff and clear processes for issues to be addressed.”

The women said the issues within the campaign hurt the larger effort to marshal votes, particularly in the state's large Latino communities. Spanish-language literature didn’t arrive until late in the fall despite repeated requests from many staffers. There were too few Spanish-speaking organizers, the former staffers said, despite asking the campaign to hire more. They felt it was a constant battle to set up events in Spanish.

These problems were exacerbated by conflicting leadership at the top. Warren campaign headquarters in Boston quietly dispatched Democrat operative Kevin Brown to Nevada in November. One of the former female staffers, as well as a separate former Warren official in the state who was not authorized to speak on the matter, said it was unclear who was in charge, Brown or state director Suzy Smith.

The tumult in Warren’s Nevada operation comes during a larger transition in Democrat campaigns, as a new generation of women and black people fill the ranks of organizers and campaign managers. For generations, campaigns have been dominated by white men, especially at the top. But this year’s Democrat field has seen record diversity among campaign managers, including Warren’s Roger Lau, who is the first Asian-American campaign manager for a major presidential candidate.

Some campaigns have struggled with these changes, including Pete Buttigieg’s, which has had some black staffers depart and faced internal complaints from minority staffers.

All three departed Warren staffers said they did not want to hurt the Massachusetts senator's candidacy but decided to talk to reporters because they believe their issues are not uncommon on campaigns and that will only change if the issues are aired. Two of them said they are unsure whether they will still support Warren after their experiences, but Lewis said she will be caucusing for her.

She said she felt compelled to speak out because she believed the campaign’s internal systems failed and needed to be fixed. Too often, Lewis said, such problems are ignored or swept under the rug because people fear damaging the larger cause.

“Every election will always be the most important election of our lifetimes,” Lewis said. “Organizing culture needs to change because the fact is our well-being is more important than any election. I hope this starts a conversation that helps facilitate personal reflection about ways we can change campaign culture.”

Eulogies

Eulogy for an Angel
1992-Dec. 20, 2005

Freedom
2003-2018

Freedom sm

My Father
1918-2010

brents dad

Dr. Stan Dale
1929-2007

stan dale

A. Solzhenitsyn
1918-2008

solzhenitsyn

Patrick McGoohan
1928-2009

mcgoohan

Joseph A. Stack
1956-2010

Bill Walsh
1931-2007

Walter Cronkite
1916-2009

Eustace Mullins
1923-2010

Paul Harvey
1918-2009

Don Harkins
1963-2009

Joan Veon
1949-2010

David Nolan
1943-2010

Derry Brownfield
1932-2011

Leroy Schweitzer
1938-2011

Vaclav Havel
1936-2011

Andrew Breitbart
1969-2012

Dick Clark
1929-2012

Bob Chapman
1935-2012

Ray Bradbury
1920-2012

Tommy Cryer
1949-2012

Andy Griffith
1926-2012

Phyllis Diller
1917-2012

Larry Dever
1926-2012

Brian J. Chapman
1975-2012

Annette Funnicello
1942-2012

Margaret Thatcher
1925-2012

Richie Havens
1941-2013

Jack McLamb
1944-2014

James Traficant
1941-2014

jim traficant

Dr. Stan Monteith
1929-2014

stan montieth

Leonard Nimoy
1931-2015

Leonard Nimoy

Stan Solomon
1944-2015

Stan Solomon

B. B. King
1926-2015

BB King

Irwin Schiff
1928-2015

Irwin Schiff

DAVID BOWIE
1947-2016

David Bowie

Muhammad Ali
1942-2016

Muhammed Ali

GENE WILDER
1933-2016

gene wilder

phyllis schlafly
1924-2016

phylis schafly

John Glenn
1921-2016

John Glenn

Charles Weisman
1954-2016

Charles Weisman

Carrie Fisher
1956-2016

Carrie Fisher

Debbie Reynolds
1932-2016

Debbie Reynolds

Roger Moore
1917-2017

Roger Moore

Adam West
1928-2017

Adam West

JERRY LEWIS
1926-2017

jerry lewis

HUGH HEFNER
1926-2017

Hugh Hefner

PROF. STEPHEN HAWKING
1942-2018

Hugh Hefner 

ART BELL
1945-2018

Art Bell

DWIGHT CLARK
1947-2018

dwight clark

CARL MILLER
1952-2017

Carl Miller

HARLAN ELLISON
1934-2018

Harlan Ellison

STAN LEE
1922-2018

stan lee

CARL REINER
1922-2020

Carl Reiner