Skip to Content

Abrams’ Georgia Primary Win Signals a Shift for Black Women in the Democratic Party

Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez tweeted after Doug Jones’ victory in December that “black women are the backbone of the Democratic party.” Now, Stacey Abrams, Georgia’s first black woman nominee for governor, aims to be a decision-maker for the party, too.

For many years, black women have been a loyal constituency voting for the Democratic party across the nation, with 94% voting for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election, while 52% of white women voted for Trump, according to CNN exit polls. Despite the deciding power of black women’s votes, they remain extremely underrepresented in politics.

Melanie Campbell, president and CEO of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation and the Black Women’s Roundtable, said in a statement on Tuesday that black women are “sick and tired” of being thanked for voting and not receiving nominations.

“Black women are demanding that the progressive movement show us they respect our leadership and the power of our vote by investing more in black women running for office,” she said.

Before the midterm elections, black women hold only three statewide offices, and there are 19 black women in Congress. Black women make up 7.3% of the U.S. population, but less than 5% of politicians, according to a new report by Higher Heights Leadership Fund and the Center for American Women and Politics.

Abrams is just one of several black women who have run and won their primary elections this midterm cycle so far. D.D. Adams, Alma Adams and Linda Coleman of North Carolina all became their district’s Democratic nominee for House representative on Tuesday. That means half of the House nominees in North Carolina are black women.

Senator Kamala Harris, California’s first black senator, said in a statement on Tuesday that black women’s nominations in these elections are a sign of progress in America.

“It challenges peoples’ notions of who can do what, as compared to who has done what.”