Are N.C. Dems Taking Black Women for Granted? | News

Are N.C. Dems Taking Black Women for Granted?

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This post is excerpted from the INDY’s morning newsletter, Primer. To read this morning’s edition in full, click here. To get all the day’s local and national headlines and insights delivered straight to your inbox, sign up here.

In 2016, something like 96 percent of black women voted for Hillary Clinton, proving that, as a cohort, they are probably the sanest among us. Since then, black women have become a force within the Democratic Party that has powered the resistance and helped engineer special election victories. If the Democrats ride a wave to power this fall, they’ll be doing so in no small part because of black women. And yet, some black women leaders feel like the party’s taking them for granted.
  • From McClatchy: “‘The blue wave is because of the black women,’ said DD Adams, a Winston-Salem councilwoman who is running for the Democratic nomination in the 5th District. But the party is still not doing enough to support black women candidates and is taking their votes for granted, according to Adams and Michelle Laws of Chapel Hill, a former executive director of the NAACP’s state chapter and a Democratic primary challenger to longtime Rep. David Price. ‘There are many black women around this country who are no longer willing to be the mules of the party, doing the hard work on the ground, and receiving very little in return in terms of support and endorsement of the party to serve in key leadership positions,’ Laws said in a campaign statement.”
  • “Despite their voting prowess, black women lag far behind in terms of elected officials. Black women account for 3.6 percent of members of Congress and 3.7 percent of state lawmakers across the country, according to the Center for American Women and Politics. Just two black women hold statewide executive offices and no black woman has ever been governor of a state. Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles is one of five black women mayors out of the nation’s most 100 populated cities.”
  • “Wayne Goodwin, executive director of the North Carolina Democratic Party, said his party ‘has made tremendous gains recruiting African-American women.’ According to the party, 29 black women are running for the General Assembly in 170 districts. In the last session, there were 12 black women lawmakers, all Democrats. At least four black women—Adams, Laws, Linda Coleman of Wake County and Rep. Alma Adams, who represents the 12th District in Charlotte—are running for the U.S. House as Democrats in North Carolina. Alma Adams is the second black woman to represent the state in Congress. Eva Clayton, who served from 1991 to 2003, was the first.”

WHAT IT MEANS: It’s difficult to envision Laws defeating Price in a primary challenge this year; the man is an institution, almost custom-made for a district of highly educated white liberals. But she raises valid points—and not just about black women. In most elections, Democrats can bank on at least nine in ten African-American votes. And while this can sometimes lead to white politicians staking out positions favorable to black voters, it can also breed complacency, as if white Democrats are entitled to black votes just because they’re not Republicans. Indeed, some analyses chalk up Clinton’s loss to Trump to low black turnout; whereas they were energized by Barack Obama, the Clinton campaign didn’t inspire them to get to the polls in critical states.

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