2+2=5: Women Of Color Had Their Votes Erased In Texas

Posted: Nov 07, 2014 6:45 PM

OK, let’s not mince words. It was abject slaughter in Texas. Republican Greg Abbott beat Democrat Wendy Davis by 21 points [59/38]. Then again, the pro-abortion Davis never really had a chance to win this election in the first place.

Yet, from the darkened lair that is Salon.com, comes a horrid story of the “erasure” of votes cast by women of color in Texas, or something.

Jenny Kutner, the editor who wrote about her plans to have an abortion, wrote this [emphasis mine]:

I am well aware that Wendy Davis lost the Texas governor’s race by a wide margin. It’s salt in a very personal wound.

The Tribune cited CNN exit polls to illustrate the landslide, saying Abbott “beat Davis by lopsided margins with white voters (72-27), men (65-34) and women (52-47). Davis beat Abbott among Latinos (57-42) and African-Americans (93-7).” Last time I checked, though, there were thousands upon thousands of women in Texas considered Latina and African-American — what about their votes?

As RH Reality Check’s Andrea Grimes reports, their votes were solidly in Davis’ favor: 94 percent of black women and 61 percent of Latinas voted for her. Only 32 percent of white women did. That’s certainly not enough women to say that Abbott won the whole gender (though that’s a ludicrous statement in the first place). It seems to be enough, though, to result in the erasure of votes from women of color, Grimes notes:

You’ll hear that Greg Abbott “carried” women voters in Texas. Anyone who says that is also saying this: that Black women and Latinas are not “women,” and that carrying white women is enough to make the blanket statement that Abbott carried all women. That women generally failed to vote for Wendy Davis. As if women of color are some separate entity, some mysterious other, some bizarre demographic of not-women.


Once more, with feeling: Greg Abbott and the Republican Party did not win women. They won white women. Time and time again, people of color have stood up for reproductive rights, for affordable health care, for immigrant communities while white folks vote a straight “I got mine” party ticket—even when they haven’t, really, gotten theirs.

Even liberals, like Jonathan Chait, weren’t really buying this voter erasure hypothesis, and the notion that Greg Abbott didn’t win women:

My admittedly crude method of answering the question “Did Greg Abbott or Wendy Davis win the female vote” would be to compare the number of women who voted for Abbott with the number of women who voted for Davis, and define the larger number as the winner.

No way, says Kutner, citing Andrea Grimes, who likewise argues that it is racist to credit Abbott with winning the women’s vote merely because more women voted for him than his opponent

Nobody is saying the votes of women of color don’t count. Everybody’s vote counts for one vote. I am comfortable stating that Barack Obama won the women’s vote in 2012, even though he lost white women.

Kutner calls this method “the erasure of votes from women of color.” Well, no. Being outvoted is not erasure. Until somebody develops a new, less racist way of comparing the value of two numbers, people are going to define the winner of a group as the candidate with more votes.

When you look at the exit polls, yes, Abbott won White women 66/31 over Davis. But he also got:

  1. Women independents 57/37
  2. High school graduates 54/45
  3. Texans with some college 58/40
  4. College graduates 64/34
  5. Postgraduates 58/40
  6. Texas voters 25-29 57/43
  7. Texans making $30k-50k 51/48
  8. $50k-$100k (the middle class) 60/39
  9. $100k-200k 63/34
  10. Over 200k 70/27
  11. Urban voters 55/42
  12. Suburbanites 62/36
  13. Rural voters 77/23

Wendy Davis; you’re an awful candidate that ran a horrible campaign.

Enjoy the wilderness.