As Black women, we’ve seen and heard a lot from the Trump administration, from the president referring to our beloved “Auntie”, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, as “low IQ”, to the Squad being told to “go back to the broken and crime infested places from which they came.” In spite of these attacks, Black women are heralded as “the backbone of the Democratic party.” We are reliable, informed Democratic voters and Democrats know that they can’t win without the Black woman’s vote. To quote Aimee Allison, Founder of She The People, “If party leaders enter a campaign and they don’t already have established relationships with black women, they are not going to be successful.”
That is powerful!
We’re all Black women at Metrics Marketing, spanning the generations, and we wanted to understand that power. We’re passionate about politics and uplifting Black women through effective communications. We’ve watched the Democratic debates with some twenty candidates over the last few weeks. And, we see the major polls, but none seem to ask Black women what they are thinking about; what are their concerns; how do they feel about the 2020 candidates. Our candidates need to know what moves us as we are a vital constituency. Thus, was born “Black Women for America,” and we commissioned a study to hear from our sisters.
We talked with 600 African-American women, 18-73 years of age, in the Southern states of Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina, Mississippi and the battleground states of Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Florida. They were Generation X, Z, Millennials and Baby Boomers. We found that what Black women want from the 2020 White House race is to have the issues important to them recognized by the candidates.
Here’s some of what they told us:
Healthcare is their #1 concern, followed by gun rights/gun control and police brutality. Increasing the minimum wage and abortion rights round out the top five issues.
Former Vice President Joe Biden is still the #1 pick among African-American women. 48% of the respondents would vote for Joe Biden and 59% believe he can beat Trump.
42% of Black women feel the tragic killings of Mike Brown, Philando Castile and Sandra Bland have caused them trauma which affects their mental health.
What surprised us:
The female candidates are not resonating with Black women. In fact, our survey found that the six female candidates combined garnered just 20% support.
77% of Black women agree that their vote makes a difference, but 57% do not trust the government to make decisions for them, their families, their communities.
While 79% of the respondents voted in the 2018 midterm elections, the top five reasons for those who didn’t vote were: they didn’t like the candidates; they felt their vote didn’t matter; they had no way to get to the polls; or they had childcare or family obligations.
There is a real opportunity for the 2020 candidates to build or strengthen their relationship with us. Attention to policies that positively affect Black women, our families and our communities can result in even greater voter turnout and a new occupant in the White House. We will need everyone to turn out in 2020!
Sarah Lattimer Irvin is the President and CEO of Metrics Marketing in Atlanta, Georgia.
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