tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN October 8, 2014 6:00pm-7:01pm EDT
you who are excluded from a you political office. the reflective democracy campaign is focused on the political system itself. how might the systems of candidate recruitment and advancement, controlled by gatekeepers like political parties donors, contribute to these lopsided numbers? how does the composition of electoral districts advanced some demographics over others? what is the role of specific civic institutions that, when present, help develop candidates? who has access to the relationships, money, and networks needed to leverage a political career? it should be no surprise that our political system, like so many other systems in our society, reproduces and reinforces centuries old hierarchies. it is built on relationships and networks, on organizational clout, money, and gatekeepers.
much of its operation takes place out of public view and it is creating, as we have seen, a democracy that is far from reflective. there is good news, too. in this case, it comes from voters themselves. at the same time we are amassing a database of elected officials , we undertook a copper has a a look opinion research project. we wanted to understand whether and to what extent americans perceive this problem, how they think about it, and whether or not they care. as part of that multiphase research project, in august, we surveyed voters at home. -- by phone. there were key findings. first, americans understand there is a problem with the demographics of political leaders. a majority of the voters we polled are concerned about the lack of women and people of color in office there at perhaps even more to the point, most of them said the phrase that best
him describes our current representatives is "an old boys club." most of them think, however, that the best and the brightest is the phrase that best describes who our elected leaders should be. second, americans actually want to do something about the problem. a strong majority of voters, regardless of party identification, support policies that help elect more women and people of color. support is especially strong among younger voters, women, and people of color, but is not limited to those groups. even among white men, 66% support actions to help elect more people of color. the third finding them are public opinion research was perhaps most surprising. voters recognized the way the political system is itself is a significant cause of the problem. when asked to identify significant obstacles to elected office women and people of color
face, a majority of people cited three major epistemic barriers. systemic barriers. the political party's failure to recruit women and people of color. and three, a lack of access. over and above what other biases voters may bring to the voting booth, and whatever individual tendencies women and people of color may or may not make them decide to run against pursuing elected office, americans recognize our system of recruitment, support, and promotion of elected leaders is structured in a way that favors white men. we believe this is where we need to dedicate our efforts if we are to change these numbers and move toward a truly reflective democracy. that is the challenge in front of us and it is certainly not easy. we are proud of the act we have
brought a new level of trans transparency to the problem and that, for the first time, we now have a comprehensive is line, which means we can measure whether and how fast we are making progress. we are making the data publicly available on our website and later this month, we will be releasing a national representation index, which will rank states by the extent to which their elected leaders reflect their population. we look forward to researchers, advocates, and peoples of all kinds, digging into this data, making discoveries, and, we hope, using it to propel change. [applause]
>> that was great. thank you for that great presentation. thank you all for being here today. it is exciting to see a big and enthusiastic crowd. i know we have got great material to talk about and a lot to go over. i will introduce the panel and we will get on with it. brenda carter is the campaign director for the reflective democracy campaign at the donors network. in her many past lives, she worked and also led and organized -- when she was getting a doctorate at yale university. she is the communications director here at the union of hospitality workers. in addition to everything else she does, she teaches courses on the economy at brown university. and gloria is the president of a national, multi-issue organization dedicated to electing progressive champions at the state and local levels.
under her leadership, the organization has grown to have eight state offices. she has also worked to establish the racial justice campaign, a program to prioritize the election of candidates of color. prior to this, she was the political director from 1996 to 2001, where she fell out their developed their first nationwide pro-choice voter file. she has worked on campaigns at all levels of government, especially in her home state of minnesota. and william, an associate professor of history and director of the studies institute at the university of connecticut. he wanted me to be very short on his file but it is too interesting to do that so i will keep going. his articles and essays appeared in the new yorker, the daily beast, the washington post, and the root.com. he's the author of substance of hope and to the break of dawn, a
freestyle on the hip-hop aesthetic, a finalist for the national award for arts writing. he has a forthcoming book, "antidote to revolution: the struggle for civil rights." i have been asked to mention our twitter hashtag for the event. #wholeadsus. out a challenge for all of us, basically moving from critique and observation to change. i hope you could talk first about a little bit more observation and critique. why do the numbers look this way? they are so dramatic and start. -- stark. and then, concretely, what are the steps we have to take? >> centuries of oppression and disenfranchisement might be the
obvious reason for why the numbers look the way they do. in all seriousness, if you are a person of color and you cannot even vote, are you going to run for office? there is reality in the fact that there is a ripple effect of regressive policy reaction in this country that plays into this data. it all seriousness, that is a fact. i mean, you know, we have -- i have a list of reasons. let's start with pivoting off of what brenda talked about. the lack of access to political networks. politics is a business that you win by shutting other people out. to get my people to the polls to keep your people home and if i
am lucky, i even get to keep you off the ballot in the first place until i clear a path for my victory. that is the overall environment we are working in and how we succeed. we have got a system of democracy that is a winner take all system and it is ruthless in how it excludes people. changing that system, so you could look at some structural reform such as research that shows women do better in multimember districts because they tend to be more positive campaigning environments, it is easier to say we have one-man, one-woman, to put people on the ticket to create a balance. but then there is also evidence that shows people of color do not do as well in multimember districts, that white people tend to crowd the ballot and push people of color out. there is conflict when you look
at that as an alternative. there is some evidence to show proportional representation, cumulative voting, ranked voting. you see this in a lot of localities across the country. hundreds of localities use this to elect people and it has shown an increase in people of color getting elected very structurally, those are some of the things we can do. we need to change who is in these systems, so, where you have -- who is in the state party leadership, the caucuses are doing most of the recruitment. who is staffing those caucuses? you have got to have the right person at the top in these systems that are making this a priority. >> you wrote so beautifully this summer about what was going on
in ferguson, missouri, after the shooting death of michael brown. you talked about ferguson as a microcosm for what we are talking about today, for all of the trends we are talking about. you also said it was a precursor. talking about ferguson as a microcosm, how do we see this problem of unreflective democracy having played out? >> first, thank you for inviting me. i am happy to be here today. one of the things that became apparent since spending nine days in ferguson in august, and i'm going back on sunday, one of the things that became immediately apparent that what was going on there was about so much more than what happened to michael brown. it made that circumstance almost predictable, that everyone continued to talk about it. i would be remiss to say the protests from the playoff game last night, where people were talking about michael brown in
protesting about there not being a likelihood of justice, and people shouting, "go back to africa" from the baseball stadium. that is the context from which this happened. it is easy to think of ferguson as an outlier, a particularly retrograde place, a throwback to a different era of american life. the new york times did a piece last week, about the number of counties and towns and small cities in which there are black majorities, substantial communities in which there are communities of color, but are not reflected by the city council, we see this happening in a lot of other places. partly because of how the elections were stated, how they were organized, whether or not they are publicized, whether they are off your elections were
not, issues of transients and people not necessarily -- all of these things coming up in conversations in ferguson, the other is i think we struggle to be optimistic. we want things to be more reflective. the lived experience is that this is not necessarily the case. this did not happen accidentally. we look at protests in north carolina and the voter id laws and shelby versus alabama and decision, the decision that came from the supreme court last summer, these things are not accidentally that you're mental to the participation of people with color. it is simply the reality.
>> do we need to change attitudes first and then structures will change, or do we need to change structures and have attitudes change? i guess that is a question for all of you. >> i would go for changing structures. these things are hard to read. it is hard to say what you think they want you to hear. i would say, you know, culturally, we are there. you see a new american majority. the tolerance and the attitudes of the millennial's, we are so far behind. we have a saying in the offices, do not recruit people there you will have to lobby later. we need the structure to catch up. learnedf the things i
as a union organizer, in general, the law follows the organizing. it does not work the other way around. it points to the necessity of mobilization and public demand for change on this. as you said, this is not an accident. the people who control the structures will change the structures when they feel they have no other choice. >> what do we learn from examples of people close to oregon where the power structure is different? right nearby, the same demographic? >> right. both of these municipalities is on the cusp of st. louis. so close that you can enter st. louis into one of them without even knowing necessarily that you left this the of st. louis. while i was there, got into conversations of elected leaders
from small municipalities. they had a few years ago a police force entirely white. a black population was 80% black. it was the current mayor who told me, off the record, that she has had the experience of being roughed up by police. that is what led them to run for mayor and political office. so they, in a concerted way, set out to change the demographics of the police department. when i talked to the police chief there, he said he went to high school and encouraged high schoolers to go to the police academy. he went to the graduations and found people who were about to graduate and did not have a police department yet. he said, would you consider working for us? he also went to other municipalities and said, would you be interested -- we would be interested in having you, perhaps think about working here.
now, the police department is about half people of color and half white. both the mayor and the police chief talked about the way in which this has facilitated a better understanding in the community. that is the positive side of it. the other side of it is that i am a new yorker. i know a black officer involved in the shooting, we all remember, in 2006, the african-american man on the verge, the next before his wedding destiny before his wedding, 50 something bullets were shot. killed him, injured one of his friends gravely, and they were unarmed. there was an african american officer present. during this. there have been other high profile incidents where there have been other officers of color.
i do not think it is simply epidermal change that falls into place. you also have to have structural changes that say we believe there is a limit on police authorities. the police are not the law. they have the power to enforce the law. there are distinctions that we somehow lost track of. the last thing i will say is in ferguson, i did see, when people began tear gassing, before they began tear gassing, the first night, protesters, there were a smattering of black officers who were there and several of them had covered their faces with bandannas or scarves and some people said they did this because they actually live in the communities and they would have to face criticism for what they were doing. the other part was much more ominous, that these were people who would cover their faces as if they were about to do something they knew would be
beyond the bounds of what please -- police behavior would be. they were black men. >> that is really striking that you were able to be there and see that. in listening to you, we're talking about structural change, but at the same time, it happens on a personal level, through people changing institutions from within, sometimes in a one-on-one way, as you described. you said something into this, that you are willing to really get up close and personal and described what you had seen and practiced within institutions, even by ostensibly well-meaning people, they could end up keeping out women and people of color. >> in order to be perceived as a viable candidate, you have to have your own personal network, you have to either have or be part of or be accepted into a
broader political network, you have to have access to donors, there is all this work you have to do. i am a progressive. i run an organization called the progressive majority. we recruit people to run for office all across the country. candidates of color and women and women of color, obviously, and we started the race with this campaign to prioritize and not marginalize the recruitment of people of color and making it a priority within our organization, from the very beginning. progressives are often our first problem. i would say to the candidate often, if you are relatively new, you will have to get through our advisory council. then, the progressive community, then the democratic party. then we can start talking about
republicans, or the opponents, whoever they are. but you have got to get through these hurdles first. often, and our advisory councils in our states are comprised of some of the most counted and well-meaning political people across the nation. these are well-meaning folks. but the progressive movement, just like the broader political movement, is mostly led by white people. mostly white men. it probably looks a lot like that. we will bring someone in and the first thing will be, never heard of him. well, that is not surprising here that is why am introducing him to you. and we keep going from there. and it is not at all, if they are not, within this orbit, and we have had to do a lot of
convincing, even within our own organization, to get it across, it has gotten so far -- i have a favorite story i'd like to tell. the staff person, we had a fight that escalated very highly in one of our states and one of our staff people called me and said, gloria, i cannot do this. i am a white guy. i'm not used to fighting over race. i was like, that is your job. basically, what happened is we had recruited a native american woman to run here and she was very talented and had served in her state administration and was quite accomplished and had her own network. it was immediately, oh no, it will not work. then, the party decided the profile of this district, and that is the other thing we do that you do not know about, before we even start finding a candidate, we profile for what
the ideal candidate in this district should look like. so people like me get to decide that. which is sometimes a problem. and then, we have recruited this woman, and the party decided no, they needed a white man and a tough on crime white man and they found this white top and got him to run. we kept going and our candidate was outperforming on every metric, 5-1 on fundraising. by every measure. our job is to try to assert our candidate with all the powers that be. this escalated to the point where i had to fly out. party folks were going to cherry pick our donor list and going to our major donors and telling them that gloria is prioritizing race over viability.
i literally had to fly out and our state director was doing all the work you do on the google front, and i had to meet with our donors one by one and say, you know, you have to know me for 2.5 seconds to know that is not true. i have fired my mother and my best friend in my lifetime. i do not prioritize anything over viability. [laughter] >> that is tweetable. >> that is my story. >> what kind of changes do we need? do we have to take radical steps? >> a couple of things. one, it was a not so radical step we took care to we changed our criteria for who could be on our advisory council. we have the political directors.
you had to represent some clinical entity with the constituency behind you. we changed that to say individual leaders could be on as long as they had individual constituency behind them. so community leaders, urging gy leaders, people who could open it up to a more diverse pool of inferential people who could be on a committee. there were things you could do like that to open it up. yes. i think we need to call it out. i mean, people were shocked that i would fly across the country and go knock on their door and say, here's what i'm hearing. are you believing this? as a donor to our organization, and you have shown a commitment to our mission, do not let them bully you this way. that is what it ultimately was, in that case. you have to stand up to it. it cannot just be left for people of color and women to
stand up to it. it has to take all is very -- it has to take all of us. >> with your anecdote, i'm a white guy and i cannot do this very you said, politicians who are already in office who are white have to get beyond their comfort zone and talk about this . i wonder if you could say more about that and if the two of you could comment on this, how we make this a topic of conversation for everyone, when there is not that level of discomfort on the part of white people? >> unfortunately, i think circumstances will make this such that they think of a way of presenting themselves and forcing us to grapple with them. if we had not had current time -- the claris's comments --
clarence thomas situation, we would not have had to grapple with the reality of sexual harassment in the work is in the way that we do. going back to ferguson, my most recent frame of reference, i think what we're looking at there is reflective of a broader set of trends. talking historically for a minute, we saw in 1967 the commission report that said there were large scale riots in the country, disturbances, that where a product of the systematic exclusion of african-americans from opportunity. out of that we have kind of reform, people consider them to be superfluous, the supreme court effectively said the voting rights act was discriminatory against white southerners. so we have debates around things like affirmative action and whether or not people of color actually belonged in any position in which we are, which we found a niche. i see that in academia all the
time. but the kind of question that is implicit in that is, if you remove those circumstances and replicate the circumstances that existed, do you not have the same outcome? do you not produce the same kinds of problems that resulted in this cyclical situation? i think because we have a historical amnesia, we keep inng things that results negative outcomes. we say, if we do this, we put our hand on the fire and we get burned. five minutes later, we are going, it would be interesting to put her hands on the fire and see what happens. >> you have talked before about what people are not or are willing to talk about. one thing people often have trouble with america is talking about structural change. your research had good results, basically, but you also said it
is sometimes difficult to get people there and you saw it even in the course of doing the research. i wonder what you have seen about people's comfort level with these topics and what ways of approaching the topic of underrepresentation they are comfortable with or not. you touched on some of this in your remarks before as well. >> the conventional wisdom, i think is that the ordinary american cannot really grasp structures and systems in that it is too complicated and arcane and we cannot get into that. i think that really shortchanges most people. it is true most people do not want a two-hour policy briefing. but i think there is actually far more opportunity to move people in their thinking on this than we give them credit for. it sort of stands to reason, in a way, that if you just look at
the numbers, and you are not somebody familiar with the way politics works, which most people, why would they be familiar? it is a strange and arcane world. if you look at the numbers and leave it to your imagination why they are that way, you will come up with easy answers like, maybe women do not like politics or, i do not know. maybe people of color do not participate. of course, we do not need to get into a fight as to whether there is some truth at the edge of that. but our experience in our research we briefly described here is that people get it. it does not take a two-hour briefing. it does not take a dissertation on the topic. when you name specific structural barriers, people say, that makes sense to me. the difference in the level of understanding, are there some people who get it more than other people, between party affiliation or men and women, if
you are somebody who has not experienced structural barriers holding you back, are you less likely to see them? >> yes. it is definitely true women and people of color perceive the structural barriers more clearly and more readily than other groups. but not limited to those groups. i think this is not as complicated as we like to think makingt be in terms of people think about this differently. i think we have a lot of room for changing the way people think about it. >> you were sharing interesting thoughts in the green room right before has about what the parties are or are not doing right now. you had some interesting observations about what the republican party is doing on the state level, and i think that is worth sharing, what you are observing right now. >> the party apparatus on both sides of the aisle is the primary candidate recruitment
operation. they tend to have a narrow approach. you are the recruiter and you have got your database in front of you and you're looking at who in the party is the next one down, the next one down, the local party or whatever. they tend to not go to outside groups. that is something we need to change. our groups need to be more proactive in bringing people into consideration and parties need to be more mindful of reaching out beyond the structure. the second thing i think is important, from the party perspective, is money. what i shared in the green room is that on the republican side, the republican state leadership committee, like the state level committee for state legislative seats, like for congress. we have the equivalent on the democratic side, the democratic
leadership campaign committee. and so, since 2010 come you all -- you all know the story leading into 2010, the $40 million spent, the red map strategy, the massive investment in state legislative in order to pick up 700 seats and flip 21 chambers in 2010. that was a big deal. since then, they have spent in in 2012 cycle, $3 million just on candidate recruitment of women and people of color in this cycle, 2014 cycle, they spent $6 million. so $9 million just since 2010. exclusively on the recruitment of republican women and people of color. we know, whatever your party affiliation is, that this is not
the grand old party of yesteryear. these are going to be very conservative folk. and they have recruited, as a result of this investment, more than 150 people of color and more than 300 women, and they have increased the largest major increase, they have increased it by 27% since 2010, including 2010. there is major activity happening on that side and major investment. there is nothing equivalent to that on the democratic side. they do not regret money to state parties. there is no significant, ironically, they have a name for
the female program and not a name for the people of color program. women, rightright now is their program. there is also one at the congressional level called project growth. a similar investment is happening at the congressional level. there is just nothing on our side. donna just not get $3 million to recruit people of color. it just does not happen. we have got to try to figure out that in balance as well. democrats, traditionally, i think there is maybe 1200 state legislative seats held by women and republicans have 636. democratic women have always done better. but they will catch up yet i know from our business, we recruited 200 candidates a year and we do not have a $600 budget. -- $6 million budget.
it will not be that hard to catch up the kinds of investments they are making. >> is fascinating. we will probably have a lot of questions from the audience. all of you brought up new and interesting things today, which is great. i want to end with you. in your writing, looking at it all together, you present an interesting vision, looking back historically. you can read as glass half-empty or glass half full. we have all of these signs of progress in terms of having a black president, a black mayor, and you write since 1970, the number of black elected officials and the night is it -- in the united states has increased nearly tenfold. we have these signs of progress on the one hand. but the glass half-empty side is terrible. it is really, really bad in terms of the numbers and also in the shootings of michael brown,
everything that was not an isolated event, necessarily. how do you balance it in your mind? where do you land? >> recalcitrant optimism. but realistic optimism. that a person who looks at our contemporary state of affairs, who is a skeptical person, could say, well, there is all this organizing all of these candidates, far more black political elected, it does not look anything like it did in 1965. and it culminates in the election of this individual, barack obama, to the presidency, and how did that work out for you? that would be a significant question when we look at things like voter repression efforts.
we look at staggering incarceration. i do not think people thought the election of a black president would fix everything but i think it would presume the point at which a black person could be elected, it would signify that these other things had already been resolved. the fact that those two things were capable of coexisting, it makes it will go back to the drawing board and say, what else is there? there is some other additional ingredient we failed to recognize or common the most cynical or pessimistic view that , this is as good as this particular system is capable of getting, the people who represent political minorities, or, even if demographics change, possibly the political majority. we have seen this in other places. with that said, i simply believe my perspective as a historian is over the long-term, people who have been of conscience and have
been of sincere effort, have won more often than not, not necessarily undefeated, but a good enough record to make it to the playoffs, as i say. that is where i land. >> a great note to end on. pivoting to questions. i want to ask about voter suppression, but maybe someone in the audience can ask that question. >> [inaudible] >> i wanted to make sure i get on the mic. i originate from missouri. i know you say is the outskirts, but just like everybody just just so everyone knows, -- but just so everyone knows, there is no difference between st. louis pd and ferguson. i would never acknowledge ferguson, excluding the fact it is now on a map. first of all, i want to thank you all for bringing the information in a scientific manner to the forefront.
this is the only way to legitimize. since president obama has been in office, i have been calling for a race conversation because i do not know what to tell my children. i do not want to create elitist. all i can tell them is they are better than white people. i am sorry. i do not believe that, but i'm just saying, to combat these systemic barriers and institutions that keep us at odds, i currently welcome a conversation that is opened, on the table, and honest, so i can have good working tools. i just basically want to thank you all for having the conversation and i look forward to being any part of it. >> i think it is a really important point. in portland in march, there was an equity conference. as far as i can tell, it was one of the first of its kind.
four elected officials and government workers. it was all about how to create government that was equitable. more than 500 people attended from all over the country, including many mayors and elected officials. we can prompt our local governments and these conversations do not have to be had at the national level. we do not need congress to have this conversation. it is something that can happen wherever you left. -- you live. if you have a good mayor or anybody who wants to sponsor some like this, we encourage the proliferation of those kinds of gatherings. >> all the way in the back. >> how are you doing today? i am from national public radio. in 2012, there were 13600 and 25
registered voters in ferguson out of an eligible voter base of 1500. voter registration ends today and ferguson, incidentally. the election commissioner says there were 128 newly registered ferguson, missouri, while an 11% increase was possible, we could not have had more than 11%. what is the biggest difference between -- why do you think it was only 1% as opposed to 11? what is making the biggest difference? >> one thing we see very mindful of, is anything that comes out about the number of registered voters. anybody who has been in politics for five minutes, knows that those numbers have to be closely scrutinized. the initial report was that there were 3000 newly registered voters. that was revised to 128.
the office of elections there said they just made a clerical mistake. i am not prepared to accept the number is actually valid. that is first. the second is that when we talk about turnouts for previous election, a municipal election about two weeks prior to a very racially contentious municipal election two weeks prior to michael brown's death. was a 6%.turnout the white turnout was 12%. we have had a run with those numbers. they don't quite reflect the entirety. the election prior to that was the 2012 presidential elections. the black turnout was 71% of eligible voters and the waste turnout was 72%. this has everything to do with, or a great deal to do, with off year elections and whether or not people even know there is a primary coming up. given that this is
overwhelmingly democratic, those are the things we should keep in mind, but i certainly would not go anywhere near giving 128% numberto that until it has been more thoroughly scrutinized. >> on the ballot in ferguson, it is not indicated what party candidates are with. there seem to be a lot of structural elements that create a great deal of confusion one way or the other. yes? >> sorry, i am making you run all over. >> i am from the women donors network. gloria, i would like to ask you, specifically, this issue about getting women and people of color elected, some people have asked, is this just a matter of adding women and people of color and stir and we solve the problem?
or to your point about on the left and the right, recruiting and running candidates, women and people of color, what are the set of values we want to a address and speak about as well, so it is not really just about race or gender, but about a bigger conversation we need to have? >> a great question. absolutely, as brenda said, and somebody noted it earlier, women and people of color win at the same rate as men, as white men. when we run, we have a fair shot. as long as we have competitive districts, that is another structural issue, gerrymandering and creating legitimate competitive districts, that is another thing to address. we also notes where there are more women and people of color elected, in states that are generally more progressive, and
i do not mean liberal, but more forward thinking and progressive, they're in places where there is a broader conversation. there is generally some kind of role of government issue here, where there is a more positive role of government and it is a more positive influence in people's lives, that makes a change that helps people, women and people of color will help do better in that environment. whether from the legislature or the government or whatever, or whether that is the dialogue happening in that context. there are absolutely, you know, and it is a plethora of issues that are really central for us to deal with right now. that typical candidates tends to try to keep their heads down and avoid. as donna said earlier, it is
about the role of women family friendly policies, not just pro-choice. it is about the overall anything that benefits women. if you want to yet women voters, talk about leave. the number one thing women need is time. immigration, incarceration, all of these issues are issues that really matter for these communities. generally, older, white male candidates will not talk about these issues. >> i grew up in st. louis county. i would agree with her. ferguson, to me, is not a good example. when i grew up there, there were no blacks in ferguson. it progressed over the last 20 majority black. a different dynamic than the rest of st. louis county. i want to ask the question, none
of you talked about the behavior of majorities. in prince george's county, where i live now, where it is majority african-american, majority african-american electorate, i mean, people in office, i do not think there are any non-african-americans on the ballot where i live, except at the state level. so part of this is, you know, this generalization of people of color. we have to realize that as minorities, the expectation we will be able to overcome so many barriers when we are such a small percentage of the population, you know, the whole generalization of people of color is problematic. i want to ask another question. when you talk about recruitment, one of the things that troubles me is the money issue, which you
did not talk a lot about. a lot one young people to volunteer. a lot of african american kids are not in a position to volunteer for unpaid internships, to do any of those things. some of it is the policies of organizations that do not really consider the communities they're working with. if you could just comment. >> interesting questions. the idea of what is asked for people to get involved politically, is there any effort to change that, but i'm wondering, as well, what you're describing in prince george's county, are you aware of structural differences and how things are happening politically, let's say, in maryland, that could cast light both on the positive and the negative in other places? >> i am not sure. again, another structural
reform, because of financing, arizona is one of the most conservative states in the country. it has a high number of women in office. it is due in part because of the clean elections law. i think that could be another thing that can be considered and also address this issue of money and politics and whether or not people have the resources to run. on the question of how majorities act, we do know african-americans have a harder time getting elected in non-majority districts. but latinos actually do not. they perform pretty well in those districts. treating the people of color as a monolith is a problem, as you said. >> quickly, on the issue of majorities, there is a kirk
-- quirky little thing about american politics that is counterintuitive but when you think about it, it makes perfect sense. it is that, black candidates specifically tend to fare better majority white context with very few other black people. people were shocked when barack obama won iowa because iowa had so few black people. winning iowa was not nearly as hard as winning mississippi. which is 36% lack. voters would not come within a cotton field of a black candidate. i'm sorry. [laughter] it is straight. in 1998, jesse jackson won vermont, which has a smaller black population than iowa. there are these kinds of dynamics where people -- if people do not believe you are representative of a group whose interests are antithetical to their own, and if there is a
marginal number demographic a clique, but they do not feel threatened, you stand a chance of being taken beyond face value. >> brenda, did you have something you wanted to say? >> the last thing i would add. many of us are aware of this. this is not a moral question. although it is a moral question. one, toally a strategic my mind, which is that if candidates and parties and political actors want to succeed , we are going to have to reckon with this in a serious way. it is not simply that those who control the political system should change it because it is the right thing to do. to engage the electorate that needs to vote for you, we need to turn out a different crop of candidates.
hinted at this. if you want the policy outcomes that many of us want, more progressive policies on a range of topics, this is one clear path to getting it. all so much. you were wonderful. thank you for coming today. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2014] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] >> in about five minutes,
campaign 2014 coverage continues with the pennsylvania governors debate between tom corbett and tom wolfe. it is the last meaning between the candidates and recent polling listed it as leaning democrat. you can see it here on c-span at 7:00 eastern. spoke with a, we reporter who has been following the arkansas a race between mark pryor and tom cotton. well. another one in arkansas where the democrat there, mark pryor is up for re-election. andrew demillo is the correspondent for the ap, mark pryor taking some heat, we understand his response on ebola question after running ad earlier this year
criticizing opponent for not doing enough to protect americans from ebola. whether is this about? >> host: he had given a halting answer to msnbc about the president's response on ebola and you know, cotton's campaign seized on that. he hadden given the fact that pryor had run an ad that had invoked the ebay lap outbreak as a way to criticize cotton where pryor followed up later that to msnbc and said the fact is we've got to do everything possibly to prevent outbreak at home but still it was one of hopes to instances where cotton and republicans were eager to jump on. >> host: andrew demillo, president clinton was in
arkansas for two days rallying democratic voters, urging them to vote and not do a protest vote against the president. did it work? does bill clinton, former president, have the ability to sway voters in arkansas? >> clinton remains a beloved figure in arkansas. this election, yeah, he's gotten deep personal king shuns with many of the candidates on the ballot. pryor's father was his political mentor. mike ross, nominee for governor got start in politics driving clinton around the state. james lee with it. running for congress. and you know, the thinking is that this year, you've got some pretty tight races that, you know, clinton has the ability to mobilize democratic voters that could have impact and hoping he will be able to reframe the election, reframe the
debate. it moved away from anti-obama messaging that republicans were really able to use effectively in arkansas. >> representative tom cotton new to politics or elected to the house recently, up against some big names, some legacy names. how is he doing? >> guest: this has been a tight race. going for over a a year. remained a tight race. very, you know, very stark contrast from what we saw from last senate race four years ago where incumbent democrat was basically running from behind throughout the whole campaign by double digits. this has been tight, heated campaign. and so that is the big difference that we've seen here. >> host: all right. andrew demil
>> tomorrow morning, the discussion about military strikes against isis and the out,"all of the truth is looking at gary hart's alleged affair and how it changed his political ambitions and the nature of coverage of candidates. and later your phone calls and comments on national security concerns. facebook comments and tweets, live tomorrow morning on "washington journal" at 7:00 eastern. student cam competition is underway. this competition will award 150 totaling 100 thousand dollars. create a five minute documentary on the three branches and year.
videos need to include c-span programming, show varying points of view, and must be submitted by january 20, 2015. grab a camera and get started today. this weekend on the c-span networks, friday night at 9:00 p.m. eastern, a memorial service for president reagan's press secretary james brady. saturday night, colin powell talks about world affairs and sunday evening at 8:00 on q&a, robert talks about how as a marine in vietnam a landmine explosion nearly killed him and changes his life. an ralph nader calls for alliance between parties to take on the issues that plague america. saturday night at 10:00 on the afterwards, why medical science should be doing more for