A few months ago, I compiled a long list of 1,000 prominent American politicians.
It was originally a tool to figure out who Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton would pick as their running mates, but it was useful in gauging the number of women and people of color Trump could put in his Cabinet.
It shows that the options are quite limited: When you filter the list of 1,000 down to Republican women, for example, it shrinks to 57 names. When you filter it for people of color, it shrinks to 29.
To be fair, people who aren’t in this political hierarchy are often tapped for Cabinet positions — and almost certainly will be in Trump’s Cabinet. But what this shows is that the upper echelon of the Republican Party is mostly white men.
This list was compiled before this election, and at the time it was every current and former member of Congress, every current and recent governor, and every Cabinet member from the past two administrations. Of the Republican names, only 10 percent were women and only 5 percent were people of color. (Scroll down to play with the tool yourself.)
We’ve had eight years of a black president, and we almost elected a woman to the Oval Office. Yet the next administration will almost certainly have fewer women and people of color than past administrations.
And, yes, some of it is Trump’s fault. He has surrounded himself largely with white male advisers, and he’s made comments about women and people of color that have alienated potential allies. But some of it is the state of the Republican Party: There are so few women and people of color in these prominent positions that this is undeniably a challenging task.
This is why people close to Trump’s campaign say that they’re worried about finding high-profile women for the Cabinet. Maybe this tool will make it a little easier — or at least show how hard the new administration needs to start working.