In her 2020 memoir, titled No, You Shut Up, Symone Sanders bared her soul to the world:
It’s like me saying, “One day I wanna be White House press secretary!” There. I said it. Everyone says don’t tell people your dreams because it’ll kill them. No! You have to express them—you have to give them oxygen in order to let them breathe and grow and become something real.
At the time the book was published, Sanders had been a senior adviser to Joe Biden’s presidential campaign for more than a year. She was with the campaign from the very beginning, when few pundits believed Biden had a prayer of winning the Democratic nomination.
Fast forward to today. President-elect Joe Biden is announcing his picks for key administration positions, including that of White House press secretary, while emphasizing the importance of diversity. Surely Sanders, a young black woman, would be the obvious choice, the historic choice.
Biden had other ideas. Over the weekend, the president-elect announced that Jen Psaki, a white person who only recently left her gig as a CNN commentator to work on Biden’s transition team, was his preferred choice for White House press secretary. Another white person, Kate Bedingfield, will serve as White House communications director.
Sanders’s lifelong dream will have to wait. She did, however, land a minor role in the incoming Biden administration. She was named senior adviser and chief spokesperson for Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. Doesn’t really have the same ring to it, though. No one dreams of having that job.
Crushing the lifelong dreams of qualified black candidates has been a running theme of the Democratic Party’s political efforts in 2020. Democrats spent millions, for example, to prevent black candidates from winning the party’s nomination in three key Senate races, all of which they ended up losing.
Erica Smith, a former Boeing engineer who sought the party’s nomination in North Carolina, had some harsh words for Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.), whose early support of Cal Cunningham helped him sail through the Democratic primary.
“Sen. Schumer, for whatever reason, did not want an African American running for Senate in North Carolina,” Smith said at a campaign event in January. Cunningham went on to lose a tight race against Sen. Thom Tillis (R., N.C.) after admitting to an extramarital affair with the wife of a combat veteran.
On Schumer’s watch, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee also spent millions in support of white candidates in Kentucky and Texas at the expense of qualified black politicians.
Royce West, who lost the Democratic primary in Texas to MJ Hegar, accused party leaders of “trying to lock African Americans out of the process.” Hegar lost to Sen. John Cornyn (R.) by 10 percentage points.
In Kentucky, state lawmaker Charles Booker fell to Amy McGrath, the DSCC-endorsed candidate who raised $88 million only to lose to Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell (R.) by almost 20 percentage points.