Campaign 2016: FED Plans Large Scale Outreach to Woman Unionists After Study Shows Black Women Voters Key to Presidential Vote

WASHINGTON—The AFL-CIO is planning large-scale outreach to female unionists to vote on Nov. 8, after a federation-sponsored study shows African-American woman voters are the key to whether Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton wins the White House.

Carmen Berkley, director of the federation’s civil, human and woman’s rights department, warns that “black women cannot afford to sit this election out” because “a loss for Secretary Clinton is a loss for the Black family, from the White House to the Supreme Court.

“We need to let our communities know what’s at stake if we let a divisive fear-monger like Donald Trump make decisions that affect everything from our families to our jobs.”

“We know what our families and communities need to thrive and we vote for candidates who can deliver,” added Petee Talley, the first African-American woman to be Ohio AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer. And it’s not just Clinton, she noted.

The federation plans to concentrate its outreach efforts in the swing states of Florida, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. The study shows African-American women’s votes swung the three largest – Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida — towards Democratic President Barack Obama in 2012. He also won Nevada and Wisconsin.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, known for his racist statements on the campaign trail, challenged African-American voters in an Aug. 22 rally in Ohio. “What have you got to lose?” by voting for him, Trump asked. He declared the Democratic Party has both patronized African-Americans and taken their votes for granted.

The study’s answer to Trump’s challenge is: Quite a lot. Especially for women.

“Despite black women’s exceptional electoral performance in 2012, without Obama at the top of the ticket, there is a risk that they will not turn out with the same force in 2016,” the study warns. “In low-enthusiasm elections such as 2014, black women performed lower than white female voters.

“The importance of black women as voters goes beyond electing Democrats at the top of the ticket. In all election years, black women are more likely than any other group to skip at least one race. By skipping down-ballot races, black women lose the potential to be a political force in local races, which arguably have a more direct impact on day-to-day lives” of blacks.

“This presents the progressive movement with a dual challenge: To both increase black women’s turnout and, through voter education, ensure they vote down-ballot. This election year is one signpost along the road to building sustainable political power for black communities. Black women can be the engine driving this movement, so long as they continue being a force to be reckoned with at the polls. Evidence shows that when black women turn out to vote, they bring their families with them,” the study says.

Source: PAI