They call them the “Obama Coalition” – the youth and minorities – and it seems even with beating Trump in the physical number of registered voters’ votes, Hillary Clinton just wasn’t able to inflame those same people or states that nearly 4 years ago voted in their first Black president – Barack Obama (a la Iowa, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania).
Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump managed to disillusion nearly half of the eligible American public from voting, and with the current way the system is set up, those swing states mattered, those votes mattered, and despite a bigger popular vote, Hillary Clinton lost, those 1.7 million popular votes and counting just weren’t and aren’t enough. Many of those same voters that prescribed to the democratic party and candidates ideals, fled and either voted for Trump or just didn’t vote at all, begging the question. What about Clinton’s stances and rhetoric just didn’t catch these same potential voters?
The article, “What Do Black Women Really Think About Hillary Clinton’s Nomination” help to give just a slight glance at one of the many disconnects between Clinton and her supporters and potential supporters – those of the “Obama Coalition,” those registered as majority, Democrats. The article opens up with the tagline and question/response, “ Hillary Clinton’s Democratic presidential nomination a historic achievement for ALL women and girls? According to sisters on social, the answer isn’t so clear.” For many Black women, though a majority of them who did vote, seemed to vote unanimously for Clinton, it wasn’t an easy decision to make at all.
As a woman, her feminist rhetoric naturally tug at the hearts of a majority of women. When she said things like, “Tonight’s victory is not about one person. It belongs to generations of women and men who struggled and sacrificed and made this moment possible. In our country, it started right here in New York, a place called Seneca Falls, in 1848. When a small but determined group of women, and men, came together with the idea that women deserved equal rights,” it struck a chord with women of all ages and sizes who to understand the struggle for equality. However, her rhetoric for many Black women or women of color also coincidentally falls short of true inclusiveness. Women have sweeping issues that affect us all no matter the color or creed but women of color of unique issues that should alway but is not alway included in the conversation of women’s rights.
As the article mentions. During her speech after winning the primaries, Clinton spoke about her nods to the 19th amendment, which prohibited citizens from being denied the right to vote based on their sex, but also still kept Black women in the south, who were frequently and knowingly blocked from voting due to racist polling practices such as poll taxes and literacy tests. Black women themselves had to wait a whole 45 years after the amendment was passed to vote after the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was passed.
Race seems to always be ignored and with that ignorance, Black women are left to feel proud of the woman history moment but confused as they realize this moment in history may dismiss them again.
“I’m not excited. Clinton’s nomination is ‘historic’ but is offset by her race, class, and method in reaching her goal,” Jenn M. Jackson, managing editor of the Black Youth Project, said. “She used Black folks as a wrung in her political stepladder. It’s hard to feel a kinship with her just because of gender.”
Inclusion seems to not only be a problem for Black women but people of color in general, who seem to have fallen back from the democratic party/Clinton. They have gone election after election and watched candidate after candidate continually dismiss them and the issues of race relations and representation in America. They have failed to have their rhetoric truly reflect the diversity they have built their platforms around.
Though Clinton’s expectations to address these issues have been held a far greater standard than any of her opponents or past candidates (possibly even including President Barack Obama), I’m interested in looking at how we can not only be more fair to Clinton but to the voters, to the 46.1 percent and more who felt unaddressed. My questions are: How can we do a better job at upholding higher standards for all politicians’ rhetoric around race and inclusion? How can politicians do a better job at allowing their rhetoric to truly address the concerns of people of color? How can the media, pundits, and moderators do a better job at encouraging and addressing the missed rhetoric on race in America?