A week later, we’re still in shock.
Polls leading up to the election favored Clinton and yet, as state after state declared for Trump, her path to victory narrowed and disappeared. In several states, the race was tight as thousands voted for third-party candidates Jill Stein and Gary Johnson. When it was all said and done, Trump emerged as the clear victor.
America elected a man who insulted just about every minority group, blamed immigrants for the problems of poor and middle class Whites, expressed misogynist views against women, fostered an environment of hatred and violence, never held public office, has not articulated any concrete plans on how to fix America’s problems, shown disdain for constitutionally protected rights, and is endorsed by the Ku Klux Klan.
America chose this man over Hillary Clinton, a woman. Clinton, an admittedly flawed candidate, articulated plans on how to fix America’s problems, was overly qualified, experienced, and had expressed a vision of an inclusive America with justice and liberty for all.
Trump’s win is remarkable in that despite his misogynist statements about women, boasts of sexual assault, and polarizing rhetoric, exit polls show that 53 percent of White women voted for him, while 43 percent voted for Clinton. Trump did best among voters without a college degree by a margin of 72 percent to 23 percent. He also won among White, non-college educated women 62 percent to 34 percent and White college educated men 54 percent to 39 percent. Clinton won among women with a college degree by a 51 percent to 45 percent margin. Clinton won the Black vote 88 percent to 8 percent. Black women voted 93 percent for Clinton and 4 percent for Trump. It is noteworthy that President Obama won 93 percent of Black voters four years ago.
The power of the Black female vote is not to be missed here.
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Black women had the strongest turnout in the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections – higher than any other group. This turnout was again demonstrated in the 2013 Virginia gubernatorial win of Terry McAuliffe, in which he captured 91 percent of Black women’s votes.
This fact should encourage politicians to court Black women voters with a progressive agenda that speaks to issues that matter most to them, as well as embolden Black women to run for office. One silver lining from that night is the election of Kamala Harris of California to the Senate. A rising star in the Democratic Party, she is the first Black woman elected to the Senate in over twenty years.
Despite Clinton being the most qualified and prepared person to ever run, America was not ready for a woman president. The glass ceiling – or concrete ceiling if you are a woman of color – remains intact for now. In her concession speech, Clinton was gracious and hopeful. She hoped that Trump would be successful and called for her followers to continue working to dismantle the barriers that keep Americans from achieving their dreams. She thanked President Obama and his family for their commitment to the country, as well as her family, campaign staff and volunteers for their hard work.
During Trump’s victory speech, he called for unity. Given his polarizing rhetoric of the past year and a half, it is uncertain what vision of America he wants us to unite behind.
He has work to do.