In 2017 America witnessed a mini-revelation – the impact of the black female vote.
A democratic Alabamian candidate, by the name of Doug Jones, won the senate race due to the high turnout of Black women that voted for him. Jones was the preferable candidate over Republican running mate Roy Moore whose reputation had been dragged through the mud during his campaign.
Moore was accused of gross allegations such as sexual misconduct to minors as well as making unsavory comments about the gay and Muslim community. One would think voting for Jones would be an easy decision to make, considering Moore’s inflammatory behavior, but it did not seem to be an easy decision for some of the voting population down there. Moore still received 48.38% of the overall vote, however, Jones took the seat by winning 49.92% of the overall vote. The choice of who to vote for, it seems, was easy for Black women. According to exit poll data, 98% of Black women voted for Jones in light of Moore’s crude allegations and comments. Since Jones’ win, the slogan Black women are trying to “save America” has been tossed around by political strategists and media outlets and they may have a point.
In 2008 Black women strongly influenced the election of Democratic candidate Barack Obama and helped secure his re-election in 2012. Black women also played a major role in supporting Hilary Clinton, when she ran against Donald Trump, by giving her 94% of their votes. Black women have been labeled as the newest voting bloc; they represent a large portion of the Rising American Electorate (RAE) and are among the emerging Vote Eligible Population (VEP), which has been climbing since 2000. Black women also represent 43 percent of women of color eligible to vote and 13.4 percent of all women eligible to vote.
Currently, Black women are voting at a higher rate than any other group. In 2008 and 2012 Black women had the highest turnout surpassing even white males. Their votes were also higher than any other race and gender for the first time in US history. What’s more, Black women are proving to be one of the most loyal voting blocs. Data reveals Black women have been voting primarily for progressive and democratic candidates and were responsible for turning New Jersey and Virginia from red states to blue. Until recently the Alabama Senate seat had been held for 25 years by a Republican Party member. The change in party was partly due to the repercussions of Roy Moore’s actions but largely due to female ran organizations like, who have been educating and bringing political awareness to the Black community for years.
As of now Black women are part of the wheels of change when it comes to politics. Black women are largely taking it upon themselves to back real causes that support the underrepresented and choosing the right candidates to address those issues. Moreover, Black women are not tolerating corrupt and poor behavior such as what Roy Moore had exemplified.
Evidently, this is a pivotal time for Black women voters. With the way the current Republican administration is running and the rising turnout of Black women voting for Democratic candidates, it is clear who will be coming out to vote. And who they will be voting for in the mid-term elections in 2018 and the election in 2020.
The implication that Black women will come out in higher numbers than ever in 2020 may also depend on whether Oprah Winfrey runs in the next presidential election, as she could be a real representation of struggling groups in a powerful position to make some serious changes. Black female voters tend to vote for candidates that will be more sensitive towards their concerns and agenda even though their needs are largely not being met. Despite this, Black women seem to be showing up when it matters the most and in high numbers. Black women are an important demographic to watch in the up and coming elections, whose voting choices are really making a difference.