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Black women voters are predicted to be crucial in deciding the winner of this year’s presidential election.

Both Republicans and Democrats are counting on Black women to turn out and vote in large numbers. According to the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organization (AFL-CIO):

  • In Florida, African-American women voters were seven percent of the vote for Obama in a tight race where he won by just one percent.
  • In Ohio, African-American women voters were eight percent of the vote for Obama in a tight race where he won by just three percent.
  • In Pennsylvania, African-American women voters were six percent of the vote for Obama in a tight race where he won by just five percent.

The AFL-CIO has launched a new initiative to drive more Black women to the polls. Polling data also shows us there seems to be a split between older African-American women and millennials when it comes to who they are supporting in this year’s presidential race.

On NewsOne Now, Roland Martin pointed out that older Black women are more engaged in this year’s election than younger Black women, which is contributing to the intensity gap that Hillary Clinton is experiencing in the polls.

Carmen Berkley, the Civil, Human & Women’s Rights Director for AFL-CIO, spoke with Roland Martin about this apparent split and discussed the power and importance of the Black women’s vote.

Berkley explained the intensity gap within African-American women voters could be a byproduct of the right’s smear campaign against Hillary Clinton: “Let’s not act like she’s been a total saint, but when we’ve looked at issues like criminal justice reform where people have looked at the ’94 crime bill, Secretary Clinton has said, ‘Yes, there were mistakes that happened with the ’94 Crime bill, but we’re going to reform them.'”

Referencing the Democratic presidential nominee’s plan for education, child care platform, and platform for raising wages, “Clinton has said, ‘I’m going to be with you,'” said Berkley.

She continued, “We know that you have to push politicians to the left, we have to push them to where we want and as Black women – since we are the most powerful voters in the electorate – we have to be willing to throw our weight in and make sure we get the candidates that we need.”

According to AFLCIO.org, “The AFL-CIO plans to do large-scale outreach to all women union members across the country this election cycle in the key states of Florida, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Many of these states are where black women made the difference in the past presidential election.”

In speaking about the power of the Black women’s vote, Berkley said, “We know that President Obama could not have won in 2008 or 2012 if Black women didn’t turn out.”

AFLCIO.org also stated: “Black women turn out to vote in higher numbers than other women and, just as they helped President Barack Obama win in 2008 and 2012, can secure the presidency for Hillary Clinton.”

Watch Roland Martin, Carmen Berkley, and the NewsOne Now panel discuss the importance and power of Black women voters in the video clip above.


Watch NewsOne Now with Roland Martin, in its new time slot on TV One.


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