Black Women Are the Ones Voting For Your Liberal Politics : A Guest Post

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:

Marital status

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.

Progressive America, you used to be beautiful

Guess you could say there is a theme this week here at BGIM land. That theme would be how Average Jane and Joe used to be able to go to their average job and be assured that if they put in 40 hours working for the boss, the boss paid them a decent wage, provided access to healthcare and even tucked a few bucks away so that when Jane and Joe got old, they didn’t have to live in a shoe and eat cat food. The boss used to understand that by treating Jane and Joe well they were loyal and worked hard and in the end happy workers meant the boss made money too! It was a good system until somewhere along the line the bosses got greedy decided to fuck Jane and Joe and I am not talking the kind of fucking that curls your toes and makes you smile.

Suddenly Jane and Joe worked longer and harder, realized their cash didn’t go as far, the boss started devising clever ruses that on the surface made Jane and Joe feel empowered but really didn’t. The boss told Jane and Joe rather than giving you that gold watch and a fixed monthly pension when you retire, I am going to take some money invest it in the stock market, you invest some money and well the stock market will go up and up and shit! You can be rich like me! Jane and Joe liked that, so that said great! The boss took away the health insurance instead telling Jane and Joe now you can have choices…oh, but those choices will cost you a little more money but soon, Jane and Joe couldn’t afford that coverage.

Right now in America it sucks to be an average worker! Whereas many of us used to live in the middle class or at least aspire to it, now we are too busy trying to pay that mortgage we can’t afford anymore and keep Visa from ganking a portion of our wages. Suddenly Jane and Joe realized the whole system is corrupt, the boss don’t give two squats, they see whiz kids creating items they can’t even figure out how to use making billions…hello, Mark Zuckerberg! They see their jobs at the plant being shipped overseas where the boss doesn’t have to pay $18 an hour, instead he pays $18 a day and gets his product manufactured and makes 600 times what his average worker makes. The boss is so rich, that bastard can wipe his ass on $20 bills and flush em down the toilet all the while Jane and Joe have to tell the kids it’s pasta again and no, don’t answer that phone! Just another bill collector calling.

Jane and Joe are fed the fuck up, everywhere they look people are either scrapping to get by just like them, or when they log on the computer or television, they see latte sippers talking about how desperately they want the new iPhone5…while Jane and Joe are still using Motorola Razrs from 6 years ago and barely able to keep the cell bill paid.
The gulf between the haves and have-nots is huge. Eventually Jane and Joe snap there has got to be some out there who stands up for the average folks…oh, but there is! Enter the Tea Party, where they use folksy sounding people who look just like Jane and Joe Average. The Tea Party tells Jane and Joe we want to take America back, support us, never mind that the Tea Party is bought and paid for by real rich folks…hello, the Koch brothers!

Jane and Joe used to be card carrying union members who always voted Democrats but lately they feel like the Dems have let them down. Now it seems when they see Democrats, they are well educated folks who earn way more than Jane and Joe ever will and frankly are disconnected from the real woes of working people. Oh, the Dems talk a good game but ultimately life is hard when you are trying to fit in your next yoga class and figure out your new iGadget. Today’s Dems in the eyes of Jane and Joe have abandoned them for folks who think well just go to school, never realizing that even if everyone in America had a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree that someone still has to do the shit work. Someone has to watch the kids, serve your food, and make the lattes. If you want organic cotton panties, someone has to sew that shit and shouldn’t the people who do all those tasks be well compensated? Yeah, today’s Democrats say they should, but they don’t really put their money where their mouth is. For them activism and involvement is signing an online petition, sending a few bucks to a good cause and maybe posting something on their Facebook page.

On the other hand those Tea Party folks take action, shit they demand that the Republicans listen to them no matter how insane they sound. Jane and Joe know the Tea Party is a tad nutty but shit they are so frustrated, they feel they have to do something.

Where are the Progressive Americans? Why aren’t they out doing something? This past weekend there was an Occupy Wall Street event organized that considering how bad Wall Street has screwed this nation over, you would have expected non-stop coverage; instead the coverage has been a blip. When did we become so damn passive? Or is that we are so scared to lose our little bit of the cheese that we are too fucking scared to speak up and do something? Seems to me those of us who consider ourselves progressive like to talk lofty talk but when it comes to doing something that creates change…well we are out to lunch. How many of us will put our money where our mouth is? Will you create change even if it means less money in your pocket? Or are we just like the greedy bosses, indirectly fucking others over. I admit I rarely get political in this space but I am just frustrated, real change and hope comes from taking action at the grassroots level.
I am sure I might lose some readers for such a post, but that’s okay, this is my reality and my truth.