Democrats Should Utilize Their Strongest Voting Bloc: Black Women

Smiling african american woman with an "I voted" sticker on her thumb. /Photo: iStock
Smiling african american woman with an "I voted" sticker on her thumb. /Photo: iStock

The leadership of the Democratic Party, at the highest levels, has consisted of mostly white men and women and a handful of Latinos. What Democratic leadership in the United States Congress, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) doesn’t have — and has never had — is a representative from its most loyal voting bloc over the last three presidential elections: Black women. To say that all quarters of Democratic Party leadership is in need of change is a vast understatement.

The numbers don’t lie. The Democratic Party has lost a historic number of seats across the board from federal representatives to statehouse races. Part of that shift is due to a realignment caused by the appearance of the first black president. But another part of it is a lack of strategy and misallocation of millions of dollars in resources focused on the wrong voters. While Democrats roll out the same old leaders who employ the same old losing consultants and staff, they ignore members of their most consistently loyal voting group: Black women.

The 2016 election was, in some ways, a powerful statement on who remains loyal to the Democratic Party and who doesn’t. On that note, Latino voters shocked and confused everyone by giving Donald “build a wall” Trump nearly 30 percent of their votes.

In 2012, more than 70 percent of black women voted, while white women voted at 65.6 percent. Black women continue to make up a larger proportion of Democratic votes than any other subgroup. Given all the research, the Democratic Party continues to chase and reward other groups. One would think that ensuring that African-Americans get to the polls would become a number one priority at the DNC and DCCC or to anyone campaigning for the White House. Instead, the party continues to chase voters who seem to have less loyalty to the party than black women, spending millions, while losing elections.

More than half of white women (53 percent) voted for Donald Trump. Meanwhile, just 4 percent of African-American women and 26 percent of Hispanic women voted for the reality TV star.

Why shouldn’t Reps. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Marcia Fudge (D-OH), Joyce Beatty (D-OH), Alma Adams and Rep-elect Val Demings (D-Fla.) serve in leadership? They’re part of the most reliable voting bloc for the Democratic Party and Fudge, Beatty, Adams and Demings are from key swing states. Who better to figure out how to win voters in other sectors than the members of the sector who’ve already shown support? Who better to lead than a former college administrator, a former mayor in a swing state or a former police chief in a battleground state?

Instead it appears as if the Democrats are about to embark on yet another wild goose chase for voters who have either turned their back on them, vote against their interests or who are completely unpredictable. That’s where million of dollars will likely be wasted again in the future, just as it was by the DNC in 2016.

Lauren Victoria Burke is a political analyst who speaks on politics and African-American leadership. She can be contacted at LBurke007@gmail.com and on Twitter at @LVBurke.