I’ve been meaning to write this for a long time. Connect the dots, take data from Obama’s victories in 2008 and 2012 and break it down to white folks. My people. Liberal white people. Democrat-leaning white people. The kind of white people who show up to hear Bernie Sanders speak and then freak the hell out about “respectability” in protest. Like that’s a thing. Like, an affluent white guy/socialist firmly cemented within the power structure of American politics is a shrinking violet in need of protection from the Black woman brute.
Here’s the thing, though. Black women, the ones the white folks — my people–are so angry with for leading and disrupting political speeches in the name of Black Lives Matter are the ones who vote for candidates like Saunders. And they must, in their due diligence as voters within a democracy, hold politicians accountable when their overwhelming majority is taken for granted.
It Bears repeating: It is women of color who, election year-over-election year consistently vote white liberal politics into office. They did it in 2008 and they did it again in 2012. They even do it in midterm elections
Let’s go to the numbers.
In 2008, and through exit polling, McCain won the white vote of both genders by 55%.
That same election, Obama lost white women by 7% to McCain.
And only 41% of white men voted for Obama.
In 2012, Obama’s re-election was called “historic” for the amount of women who voted for him. But as we all know women are not a monolithic group no matter how much the media likes to group us all together. The key point here is white, married women en masse have never voted for Obama. Ever. There is a very specific subset of women who are liberal and vote that way in large numbers. They are:
Women of color
Single, white women (ALL ages)
As The Atlantic so keenly pointed out in 2012, race and ethnicity are, generally speaking, the easiest ways to determine how one voted for both genders. Here’s how they broke it down:
If you were to list gender and racial/ethnic groups by their Democratic vote on Tuesday, the list would go like this: black women (96 percent), black men (87 percent), Hispanic women (76 percent), Hispanic men (65 percent), white women (42 percent) and white men (35 percent).
However, I’d argue the quickest way to determine how a woman probably voted is through these two things:
Keep in mind white voters of both genders continues to shrink within the voting pool which is how Obama could win the women’s vote, yet still lose white women. It’s also how Romney could win the white vote of both genders and still lose the election.
But what does this mean for Bernie Sanders and Black Lives Matter disruption? It means EVERYTHING.
Black women are, by in large, the organizers of the movement. Ninety-six percent of them voted for Obama. When we talk about the standard bearers of Liberal politics moving forward, the reality is these voters are women and they are various shades of brown. If a voting bloc that wins elections was a cupcake, single white women are the sprinkles. White men are negligible as baking powder. The population of the United States leans 53% toward women.
The fact remains the people Saunders needs to vote for him look NOTHING like him. And, they don’t look like Hilary Clinton either. Clinton is a white, married woman. Her demographic as such consistently votes Republican. White, married people can’t quit the GOP. White, wealthy women, however, voted for Obama in key “monied suburbs” in Colorado, Virginia and Ohio. He won them by seven points (but lost the white guys), yet these numbers are not the kind of overwhelming voting bloc one can use to tamp down on Black Lives Matter protestors to sit down and wait their turn. In fact, Black Lives Matter organizers are doing exactly what they should be doing: withholding their vote and making politicians earn it.
No one sums up Black women as a voting group better than the Center For American Progress: As the 2008, 2012, and 2013 elections demonstrated, women of color are a key, emerging voting bloc with the potential to significantly affect electoral outcomes.
White liberals, my people, stand down.
Liz Henry was a BlogHer Voice of the Year in 2012 and 2013. Her writing has been featured in The New York Times, Washington Postand Brain, Child magazine. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter. She lives in Philadelphia.