NOVIA MCDONALD-WHYTE, Lifestyle editor
Michelle D Bernard, a Jamaican American, is president and CEO of the Independent Women’s Forum and Independent Women’s Voice. She is an MSNBC political analyst and is married to CNN’s Joe Johns. NMW caught up with the busy woman on Election Day and asked the following questions.
NMW: Why are so many women supporting Obama when he opted not to choose Hillary as his running mate?
Michelle D Bernard: Women are not a monolithic voting bloc and support various candidates from many reasons. Although there are some women who supported Senator Clinton’s bid for the Democratic nomination simply because she is a woman, the vast majority of women support the individual who they feel is the best candidate. Thus, there was never any real reason to believe that American women who are registered Democrats would abandon the principles of the Democratic party simply because Barack Obama did not select Hillary Clinton as his vice presidential running mate. I would suspect that with a few exceptions, Democratic women support Senator Obama and Republican women support Senator McCain.
NMW: What are the expectations of women in particular The African American woman?
MB: At the Independent Women’s Forum and Independent Women’s Voice, we believe that all issues are women’s issues and that the concerns of women are no different than the concerns of men. That, being said, all women will be concerned with pocketbook issues related to the economic well-being of their families. Issues such as economic recovery, job creation, energy independence, education, health care, and entitlement reform will be at the forefront of the issues American women are concerned with. African American women also are concerned with all of these issues.
However, in addition to these issues, women of colour will look to an Obama administration to continue the dialogue on the importance of personal responsibility within all communities, with a particular emphasis on this issue as it relates to black America.
NMW: Is an Obama victory as big a deal for you – a successful woman with Jamaican roots – as it would be for the middle/upper-class American black woman?
MB: I am so proud of my Jamaican heritage and as a woman of colour and the mother of two young children, I would be disingenious if I didn’t remark how proud I would be if Senator Obama becomes the next president of the United States. Regardless of one’s socio-economic status, I suspect that the vast majority of black women in the United States would find an Obama victory monumental because if it happens, it will mean that our children can achieve anything in this country.