The word for this week’s show is actually two words: Black women. Given our guests and what they said it is the only term that makes sense.
Black women vote in higher numbers for the Democratic Party than any other group. African-American women are that party’s most vital and strongest pillar. But as Ben Tarnoff of the Guardian told me Facebook was weaponized by the Trump campaign to “mobilize their supporters and demobilize their opponents.” Using Cambridge Analytica they obtained detailed information on 80 million Facebook users and, according to Christopher Wylie who testified before Congress last week, deployed it to suppress black voters from showing up at the polls. My question to Ben was whether the same thing could happen in 2018. His answer was, “Yes and social media is part of a broader political problem in how all of media is used.” The concern is that as black women are a key voting block information collected about them without their knowledge or consent can be used to undermine the political power of African-American women and weaken democracy in the process.
Black women are at the heart of Stacey Abrams’ bid to become Georgia’s next governor. The Democratic primary there is Tuesday, May 22. Should she win and go on to occupy the Governor’s Mansion next year, Abrams will be the first black woman to be the chief executive of any state in American history. An essential question I ask is whether her goal of mobilizing new voters to create a new coalition which can win in the Deep South is succeeding. That’s why I had on Jamilah King of Mother Jones and Darren Sands of Buzzfeed to discuss their reporting on her race. Abrams has raised a lot of outside money and has brought a lot of outside celebrity firepower into the state. But if that’s diminished her ability to travel Georgia, and do the hard work of building a new in-state political machine, then she could struggle in the primary and beyond.
But Stacey Abrams is part of an unprecedented wave of Black women candidates running at all levels of government in 2018. Two exciting examples are Lauren Underwood, Illinois Democratic congressional candidate and Aurora Martinez Jones, Democratic candidate for district judge in Texas. Both exemplify new energy that’s spread amongst Black women to move further into the heart of political life. Lauren said that the attempt to take away Obamacare, and the perceived unresponsiveness of her opponent to district needs, is what led her to run for office. Aurora cited the importance of helping families in need as the reason behind her bid for district court judge. These two Black women are bright, savvy operators who have a clear idea of what they want to do. If they are any indication Black women as the future of American politics is the crystal-clear way forward.
And a Black woman moved into the heart of the House of Windsor, one of the most enduring all-white institutions on the planet. Meghan Markle’s imprint was felt all throughout her nuptial service. From the Black pastor that went on to long, to the Kingdom Choir’s singing “Amen,” to the young black prodigy–Sheku Kanneh-Mason–playing Schubert’s “Ave Maria” the wedding could have been that in many Black churches across America. Charreah Jackson of Essence was on to dish the Royal Tea and help me unpack it all. Meghan’s marriage signals like the candidacy of so many Black women candidates the where the future is headed. The world we are living in is increasingly black and brown, and female. That is something which the oldest Royal House in Europe gets and has clearly embraced. The only question is when will everyone else?