The job market is about to get even more crowded for Washington Democrats, as thousands of Obama appointees join the hundreds of Clinton campaign staffers looking for employment.
There’s rarely been less demand for their services, Politico reports.
The Trump tornado is tearing up post-election planning around the Beltway. It’s not just that those 4,000 administration jobs are no longer available to Hillary for America alumni, or that failed Senate candidates like Russ Feingold and Katie McGinty won’t be able to hire their staff on the Hill. There are also the lobbying firms, trade associations and corporate government affairs offices that are pitching senior Obama aides’ resumes into the round file while scrambling to hire operatives with Republican connections.
It’s insult to injury for a generation of young operatives who are still managing their shock and grief from Hillary Clinton’s loss. And for those who want to fight to keep President Barack Obama’s legacy from being erased, there aren’t a lot of places ready to pay them to do it.
“It feels like there are just thousands of us trying to find a job, and there are no jobs,” said Mira Patel, a longtime Clinton aide who went from her Senate office to the State Department and, starting last summer, her presidential campaign.
Wave elections that wipe out job prospects for one party’s loyalists are an occupational hazard in Washington – it happened to Republicans just eight years ago. But the shock of Trump’s win is what’s making it harder on everyone – both those currently (or about to be) unemployed, and potential employers.
“Clients are all pivoting, and they’re all frankly trying to figure it out just like we all are right now,” said Julian Ha, who heads up the government affairs and trade association practice at the executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles.
“My prediction is that there certainly will be a more robust demand for folks who are from the Republican side of the aisle, and especially [those] close to folks who are now being selected for key positions,” Ha said.
Some Obama staffers looking to parlay their White House pedigree into private sector gigs suffered their own Trump slump immediately after the election.
One administration official said he was deep into negotiations with two tech companies in early November, but after the election, “there was a pretty clear about-face.”
One of the tech companies’ offices got in touch the day after the election “stating that they needed to ‘re-scope the role in light of the results.’” The other company, the official said, was “far less euphemistic in saying we need Republicans, not Democrats.”
That official is, at this point, entertaining some formal job offers, and many others have had good luck finding new jobs, often in Silicon Valley, where many Obama alumni have landed over the past four years. Clinton aides appear to be having a harder time, both emotionally and practically.
“There’s anger, there’s frustration, there’s anxiety, there’s burnout,” said Russ Finkelstein, a managing director at Clearly Next and longtime progressive career guru (including as a founding team member at the lefty jobs board Idealist.org) who has been counseling Clinton alumni.