As the nation still reels from the 2016 Presidential Election, data analysis and field reports were presented by National Coalition on Black Civic Participation (NCBCP) state affiliates and Black Women’s Roundtable Networks (BWR) at its BWR 2016 Post-Election Briefing on Wednesday, November 16, 2016. The speakers shared their analysis and field experiences that Black women turned out in large numbers and remained steadfast as a key voting bloc for candidates that supported the interests of Black women, their families and communities on a national, state and local level. The group also shared the adverse impact that voter suppression had on Black and millennial voters in key states across the country.
Further, speakers cited CNN Exit Poll data revealed a clear racial divide showing white voters of all demographics overwhelmingly voted for President-Elect Donald Trump and people of color voted more for Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton. Clinton would have been the first woman to serve as president of the United States of America. Clinton won the popular vote and was defeated by losing the electoral college. Trump, a businessman, is the first candidate in recent history to be elected with no political or government experience. Trump won the presidency by winning the electoral college.
According to Dr. Avis Jones-DeWeever, Senior Policy Advisor for BWR, “raced trumped gender” in the 2016 Election. Jones-DeWeever presented her analysis at the briefing utilizing exit polls sharing that while 94 % of black women voted for Clinton, white women voted 53 % for Trump. Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner, Executive Director & Co-Founder, Moms Rising, shared we have heard from our members their concern about “the racism, sexism, and xenophobia that came directly out of Trump’s campaign that has already been incredibly harmful to our children and has deepened the divide in our country.”
The BWR shared additional demographic breakdowns of the 2016 presidential election by gender and age at the briefing. The data showed that white men voted for Trump at 63%. White millennials (18 – 29 year olds) voted for Trump at a rate of 48%, Clinton at 43 % and 9% other. Black men voted 80%, compared to Latino men voting 62% for Clinton. Black millennials (18 – 29) voted 83% and Latino millennials voted 70% for Clinton. This data appears to also show that race played a significant factor in how men and young people voted. (See additional report details atwww.unitycampaign.org)
Women did score impressive victories in the U.S. Senate, statehouses and other local elections. Dr. Elsie Scott, Founding Director, Ronald W. Walters Leadership & Public Policy Center, Helen Butler, Executive Director, Georgia Coalition for the Peoples Agenda/GA BWR, Hon. Sheila Tyson, Birmingham AL City Councilwoman, AL BWR Convener and others shared some of those victories. Specifically, the second African-American woman was elected to the U.S. Senate, Kamala Harris and heroic wounded veteran Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth was elected to the U S. Senate. Lisa Blunt Rochester became the first African-American Congresswoman from Delaware, the election of a heroic wounded veteran.
Further, the first openly gay governor, Kate Brown was elected in Oregon, Ilhan Omar, first Somali-American was elected to Minnesota State Legislature. Black women were elected to several key local races including: nine Black women elected to judgeships in Jefferson County, Alabama; MD State Senator Katherine Pugh, is the third Black woman to be elected mayor of Baltimore; and two Black women were elected district attorneys including Kim Foxx, Cooke County, IL and Aramis Ayala, Orlando, FL—both support criminal justice and policing reform.
Salandra Benton, Convener, Florida Coalition on Black Civic Participation/FL BWR and State Community Organizer, FL AFL-CIO, stated “many of our young people faced voter suppression to stop them for voting and many were not even offered a provisional ballots.” Benton shared that despite the challenges young people stood their ground to vote. Dr. Barbara Williams Skinner, Co-Chair, National African American Clergy Network shared “the majority of the faith community voted along racial lines and shared that voter suppression had negative effect on the black vote. Also, she shared the Black church was very active in Election Protection efforts. Jessica Pierce, National Chair, BYP100, expressed there must continue to be resistance and radical systems change to keep young people engaged moving forward.
Tamika Mallory, Board Member, Justice League of NY, shared “while many young people are devastated by the results of the election, more young people understand what the voting process looks like and want to stay involved, especially local elections.”
Melanie L. Campbell, BWR Convener, President & CEO, NCBCP, shared that even with all the barriers, including extremely limited resources for many Black organizations and churches, “Black women led the way as we always do to ensure that the Black vote turned out vote in the 2016 elections. We must remember that no matter who gets elected to office, it is our responsibility as leaders to continue to fight for civil rights, economic and social justice moving forward.”
Additional speakers at the BWR briefing include: Alyssa Canty, State Coordinator, North Carolina Black Youth Vote, HBCU Coordinator, Common Cause, Holli Holliday, Esq., Unity ’16 National Campaign Manager, NCBCP; Tamicka Robinson, Director, Media Communications & Logistics, Mothering Justice/Detroit BWR Robin Williams, International Vice President, Director, Civil Rights & Communication Action Department, UFCW and Shireen Mitchell, Social Entrepreneur, Political, Digital & Social Strategist.