Much of the credit for the historic election of Joe Biden has been readily given to Black women, a powerful voting bloc who Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris rightfully paid tribute to during her victory speech Saturday night.
One night later, though, actress and Democratic activist Eva Longoria provided a different narrative for who exactly pushed Team Biden across the electoral college finish line.
During an appearance on MSNBC with Ari Melber, Longoria described how relieved she’s felt since the election — “democracy won,” she said — and noted that Biden has a lot of people to thank for his victory. “Mostly people of color,” she said. “The Black and brown communities delivered for Biden.”
But Longoria said she took umbrage at the notion that Latinos “showed support for Trump” and insisted it isn’t true. “It’s not the narrative that needs to be out there,” she said. “Latinos delivered big for Biden,” she added. She said Democrats won Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan “because of Latinos.”
It was later in the conversation when Longoria implied that Latinas were more important to Biden’s win than Black women were.
“Of course you saw in Georgia what Black women have done, but Latina women are the real heroines here, beating men in turnout in every state and voting for Biden-Harris at an average rate close to 3 to 1,” she said.
Watch the exchange below.
As a result of her fateful words, Longoria was being called out on social media.
To be sure, describing the election’s racial voting demographics in terms of a contest is problematic for a number of reasons, not least of which is that it inevitably serves to divide people with a common cause instead of uniting them.
Longoria responded to the backlash early Monday morning with an official statement and multiple tweets apologizing for her comments that she said were “perceived as taking credit from Black women.”
At least one Black woman did not accept the apology and called Longoria “a disappointment.”
For the record, exit polling data conducted by Edison Research and widely published in mainstream media showed 70 percent of Latino women voted for Biden compared to 91 percent of Black women. And regarding Longoria’s comments about supporting Trump, it wasn’t only Latinos who overperformed with him; every demographic except white men gave the losing president more votes than they did in 2016.
But to ignore the way Black voters pushed Biden across the finish line is to ignore the facts of the matter. Black voters played an outsized role down the stretch because of absentee ballots cast in majority Black precincts voting districts in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Specifically, counties near Democratic strongholds of Atlanta, Detroit, Milwaukee and Philadelphia — cities with Black populations that are larger than the Latino communities there. And it’s been shown time and time again that Black women like Stacey Abrams disproportionately spearheaded and fueled those voting efforts.
Those are the facts.
The scrutiny here is because of Longoria’s choice of phrasing and tone of her words that came off as a comparison that downplayed the undeniable contributions from Black women both in this election as well as over the course of American history.
That doesn’t diminish the crucial voting roles Latinos played in the election by any measure. But it also shouldn’t preclude anyone from properly recognizing the decades of groundwork Black women have laid down on behalf of the Democratic Party.
That’s precisely why Kamala Harris said she felt the need to single out Black women voters while discussing all women voters during her speech Saturday night.
“Women who fought and sacrificed so much for equality, liberty, and justice for all, including the Black women, who are too often overlooked, but so often prove that they are the backbone of our democracy,” Harris said.
Watch the full interview below.