In 2016, after Hillary’s electoral college defeat, one number stood out to a lot of us on the left: 90% of Black women voted for Hillary. One of the most important population segments in America looked at Donald Trump, and as a whole, said “Nope. No way.”
They were right. But we knew that already.
In the aftermath of all this, a lot of us progressives adopted a mantra of “vote like a Black woman.” On its surface, that sounds a little shallow and like we’re pandering to a purely political ideal of welcoming Black women simply for the sake of their votes. But if you go even just a touch deeper, the reasons to vote like a Black woman are solid.
When I used to work in cancer advocacy, we always said: “If there is a flaw in the healthcare system a cancer patient will find it.” In the case of American politics and policy, if there is a flaw in the system a Black woman will find it. I don’t need to tell you all the ways in which Black women – or any women of color – are marginalized by society. If you’re reading this essay, you probably already know that and, if you don’t, there are whole Ph.D. theses on the subject. Go look those up. Anyway, the corollary to a group of people being experientially aware of problems is that they probably know who and what can fix those self-same problems.
Black women are uniquely placed to guide us to the ideas that will best serve those on the not-billionaire side of the inequality equation. And if we address the concerns of one group of marginalized people, the results will help pretty much everyone else in America as well.
Maybe not Mike Bloomberg. But honestly, that old rich guy can take care of himself. I’m not losing any sleep over him.
Anyway, voting like a Black woman is a good idea and I know I should do it. I might still do it even though the latest polling on Black voter preferences in the Democratic primary is breaking my Elizabeth Warren-loving heart. Right now, depending on the poll you read, Joe Biden enjoys anywhere from 44% to 51% of Black support. That’s…a big number.
I haven’t seen a break-out along gender lines in those polls but if Black people trust Joe Biden more than Elizabeth Warren, it’s incumbent on me to trust their judgment. I need to go back to the research phase and learn what it is about No Malarkey Joe that is drawing support among people who I respect. I need to take off my own bias-colored glasses and look at what they say he brings to the table and what deficiencies they see in Warren.
If Black women believe he is the one who can do the most to serve them, I feel honor-bound to support their conclusion because I truly believe that what is good for Black women is good for America.