By Delmarie Cobb
Never have I been more proud to be a Black woman than after learning the demographic breakdown of last week’s presidential election. Black women without a college degree, voted for Hillary Clinton 91 percent. Black women with a college degree voted for the first woman presidential nominee, 96 percent. Traditionally, Black women are very independent thinking and don’t look to their fathers, husbands or boyfriends for how to think about their own self-interests.
White women’s support on Election Day for Republican nominee Donald Trump was 53 percent, compared with 63 percent of white men. Overwhelmingly, 72 percent of white men without a college degree voted for Trump. African American men voted for Clinton at 80 percent and 13 percent for Trump.
As one electoral analyst said, “These white men and women voted like a minority group, coalescing on a mission to put him in the White House.” Clearly, they took a page from us in 2008 and 2012.
Black women were just as focused about the country they want for future generations, as Trump’s supporters were about the America they remember, which is nothing new. It’s what Black women do—put family and country first.
We don’t posture and pretend to know everything. We don’t look to criticize every little thing to prove why someone doesn’t deserve our support. Believe me, Hillary Clinton’s campaign wasn’t perfect. I certainly had my complaints. It was data driven and light on grassroots. It was big donor reliant and light on small fundraisers. It was too stealth and not public enough. None of that was enough for me not to support Clinton.
Donald Trump’s campaign wasn’t perfect either. He called Mexicans “rapists” in his announcement speech. He said John McCain wasn’t a war hero because he was captured. He inferred a woman anchor was hormonal, because she asked him hard questions. He mocked a disabled reporter. He said veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder were weak. He said being a celebrity gave him permission to grab a woman’s pussy and shove his tongue down her throat. He didn’t release his tax returns. He told one bald face lie after another throughout the entire campaign. He’s currently awaiting trial in a class action lawsuit against Trump University. He can’t control his temper. He lost three presidential debates to a woman. One of his top advisors is considered a champion of white nationalism. It was revealed he mishandled monies donated to his foundation.
It didn’t matter. Trump’s voters were going to vote for him regardless. As the New York billionaire exclaimed in January, “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters.”
In an interview with a Wisconsin newspaper, a one small shop owner
in Menomonie, Wisconsin shared, “When Trump first ran, Shay Chamberlain thought to herself: “That’s the man everybody has been praying for.” And she now feels vindicated by his victory. “This is a movement,” she said. “This isn’t a candidate anymore. This is a movement.”
Meanwhile, Black people complained Clinton didn’t talk enough about our issues. White people believed she embraced Black people too much throughout the campaign. Ironically, Black people didn’t want presidential candidate Barack Obama to talk about any issues. I remember one well-respected minister, who has since died, telling me outside the Denver Convention Center in 2008, “Oh, Barack can’t talk about any issues or he won’t get elected.”
I never thought it was a foregone conclusion that Clinton would become our nation’s first woman president. I hoped that she would crush the reality star, but my fear was that it would be a close election. Her biggest flaw was being a woman. Had Clinton been a man, she could’ve gotten away with the same outrageous, boorish behavior as Trump.
Clinton wasn’t only running against Trump, she was running against centuries of sexism. She was running against the media who perceived her as arrogant and aloof. She was running against WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange. She was running against Russian President Vladimir Putin. In the end, she was running against FBI Director James Comey.
Although, Comey didn’t find the evidence to indict Clinton for use of a private email server while secretary of state, his behavior was unprecedented. From the July news conference he held to brandish Clinton’s handling of emails as “extremely careless” to the letter sent to Congress reopening the case against her 11 days before the election, Comey’s conduct was attention grabbing.
Despite a long-held tradition to refrain from doing anything that might influence the outcome of a presidential election, Comey inserted doubt into the final days of the campaign by inferring additional information might be in the 650,000 new emails found on a laptop belonging to Anthony Weiner, the estranged husband of Clinton’s close aide, Huma Abedin. Ultimately, two days before the election, Comey concluded the emails didn’t change his earlier decision. Why did Comey ignore his boss, Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who warned him against sending the letter to Congress? Obviously, his sense of superiority trumped Lynch’s standing. Although, Hillary Clinton didn’t shatter the highest glass ceiling, her candidacy and the support of Black women helped six other Democratic women of color make history: Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth of Illinois became the second Asian-American woman elected to the U.S. Senate. Nevada’s former Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto is the first Latina elected a U.S. Senator. California Attorney General Kamala Harris becomes the second African American woman to gain entry to the U.S. Senate. Activist Pramila Jayapal of Washington state is making history as the first Indian-American woman elected to the House of Representatives. The daughter of Vietnamese refugees, Stephanie Murphy of Florida, is the first Vietnamese-America woman elected to Congress. On a local level, the first Somali-American Muslim woman, Ilhan Omar, won a seat in the Minnesota state legislature. Black women seldom get the recognition and respect we deserve for our unwavering focus to put family and country first. On November 8, 2016, we did it again with very little fanfare and no regret.
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