An insider's look at blacks and Dukakis
Boston — In Dukakis campaign headquarters here, Donna Brazile, director of field operations and one of the top-ranking black professionals working for Mr. Dukakis's election, last week talked about blacks and the campaign. On the importance of recruiting more blacks into political campaigns.
It allows a greater pool out there to become candidates and to become campaign pollsters and analysts, so that every time black people do something in politics it doesn't look like a race riot. It is not. It's just politics.... I served with [the Rev. Jesse] Jackson in 1984 as a staffer. When you come out of Rev. Jackson's campaign, you understand that you are somewhat stigmatized. You are looked at as workers who can only do black politics.
I ran Dick Gephardt's field operations until we ran out of money.... [In Iowa] I was basically attracting workers and families and seniors - all of whom were white.
So the notion that your talent can only be used in the black community and your thoughts can only be used to put together a black message is ludicrous.
When I got on board Dick Gephardt's campaign I said, ``Lord, have mercy, white people are just like black people - they need direction and leadership as well.'' I used to think it was only blacks, because that's who I worked for. ... One of the reasons I wanted to work for Gephardt was to get the experience of organizing in the white community. [I found] it required the same type of information as black people, the same type of activity as black people, and the same amount of resources as blacks.
But when blacks ask for resources it's almost like people say, ``Why are they begging?'' Well, they're not begging, it's just the same thing they need to get their activity done, just like white folks. Now I'm in a position to say that to this campaign.
On bringing more people from the Jackson campaign into the Dukakis headquarters.
It is to my advantage to have Jackson people here. The more Jackson people are here the less radical I look like, the more reasonable I appear. Then I can do more of my own job as opposed to doing inclusion or Rev. Jackson politics.
On the importance of good relations between Dukakis and Jackson.
I'm black, and my mother is black and my father and brother and sisters are black. I work for Mike Dukakis. But when I call home, they want to know, ``What's Rev. Jackson doing?'' It's simple, isn't it? It does not take a lot of thought or a lot of politics and pondering to figure it out.