What Black Women Want Out of the Midterms

Lakeya Cherry, Executive Director of The Network for Social Work Management, left, and Shakila Flentroy, PhD candidate at The Catholic University of America during the Black Women's Roundtable at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc. 44th Annual Legislative Conference at the Washington Convention Center Wednesday, September 24, 2014 in Washington, D.C.. NICOLE L. CVETNIC/THE ROOT
Lakeya Cherry, Executive Director of The Network for Social Work Management, left, and Shakila Flentroy, PhD candidate at The Catholic University of America during the Black Women’s Roundtable at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc. 44th Annual Legislative Conference at the Washington Convention Center Wednesday, September 24, 2014 in Washington, D.C..
NICOLE L. CVETNIC/THE ROOT

African American women outvoted their white counterparts by double digit percentages in 2012, so they are a powerful bloc to be courted and considered by candidates.

Making sense of high profile House, Senate and gubernatorial races this tight will mean breaking down every voting bloc into the microscopic bits of data to parse through in the post-mortem.  And of all the big mysteries that will be closely watched and dissected on Nov. 4th, few will be as anxiously anticipated as the exit polling for women voters – since they were 53 percent of the electorate in 2012. Commentators, strategists and campaign managers walking that last electoral mile will be looking for answers to one of the more vexing questions of the 2014 midterms: What do women voters care about?

Perhaps one of the more underestimated and overlooked voting segments is black women. Since black women outvoted their white counterparts by 11 percentage points in 2012, essentially quarterbacking a historically high black voting base that year, it’s safe to say they’ll turn out again. By how much we don’t know. But what we do know is that, as The Nation’s Dani McClain asserts, black women are “the voting bloc to watch.”

The Take looks what black women might be thinking as they head to the polls next Tuesday. A number of leading experts chimed in and offered some perspective,  including: Dr. Elsie Scott Founding Director of the Ronald Walters Leadership and Public Policy Center; Chanelle P. Hardy, Senior Vice President for Policy at the National Urban League; Ohio State University Professor of African American Literature Koritha Mitchell; Kristal Hartsfield, National Director of the RNC’s African American Strategic Initiatives; Jenifer Daniels, CEO of Good&Smart; and Danielle Adams, a member of the Durham, North Carolina Board of Supervisors Soil and Water Conservation District.

Danielle Adams (@DanielleAdamsNC): I wish I gave a damn about this election. I wish I was motivated and fired up and ready to go but I’m not. For the first time in my 10+ years of voting I’ve considered not voting in every race on the ballot. In this election I have no one to fight for because there are no candidates on my ballot fighting for me. Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC) broadcasts commercials featuring women of diverse backgrounds and talks about her fight against defunding Planned Parenthood, restricting reproductive rights, and intruding on the abilities of women to make personal choices with their health care providers. Reproductive health has become the single women’s issue of 2014. However, black female voters don’t have the luxury to be so single focused.

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Source: The Root | 

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