Most Americans believe there’s a lot at stake in the 2016 presidential election—but none more than Black women. According to a new poll reported in the Washington Post, nearly three-quarters of African-American women are “strongly” afraid of the consequences of their candidate losing the election.
The Gallup poll found that 72 percent of Black women, who are by far Hillary Clinton supporters, fear a Donald Trump presidency. White women (at 56 percent) and Black men (at 55 percent) are a distant second and third, among those who strongly fear their candidate losing.
What explains the high level of anxiety for Black women? Avis Jones-DeWeever, a former executive director of the National Council of Negro Women, told the Post that she shares that fear, as the mother of two sons at a time of racial tension between the police and young Black men.
“Although a lot of us may not be super excited about our options at this point in the game, I honestly think what we’re seeing in those [Gallup] numbers are Black women saying we will do whatever is necessary to protect our children, and that’s probably the best weapon we have,” Jones-DeWeever told the Post.
Political consultant Rebekah Caruthers echoed Jones-DeWeever’s comments. She told the newspaper that many Black women have anxiety about “those aggressive and sometimes hateful words” from Trump’s camp.
“Black women are fearful for the future of our families and Donald Trump almost seems like an existential threat to that,” she added. “I think that’s going to drive Black women in droves to the polling place this year.”
The New York Times reports that the African-American voter turnout rate exceeded the rate of Whites for the first time in 2012. And Black women were the driving force behind the historic surge.
The Post said Black activists and consultants predict that Black women will again cast ballots in high numbers in 2016—this time out of concern over how a Trump presidency would raise racial tension to a level that could impact the well-being of their families.