The road to 2016 is shaping up to be an exciting journey. This week, Carly Fiorina officially joined Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail for president. As America ponders if we are “ready” for a woman president, the road to 2016 and beyond provides a unique opportunity to harness women’s political and economic power to elevate women’s voices in important debates and impact this election in a significant way, including supporting and electing more women.
Clinton and Fiorina’s candidacies represent the possibilities that exist for women’s leadership as they seek to crack the ultimate glass ceiling. What remains to be seen, though, is whether or not their historic races will help to create the momentum needed to elect more women in down ballot races across the country. At Higher Heights for America, we will be paying particularly close attention to how Black women will fare in capitalizing upon, or further contributing to, this momentum.
Although still early in the 2016 cycle, there are already several women running for open U.S. Senate seats, including two Black women who would be the first women of color elected to the Senate from their states: Maryland Rep. Donna Edwards and California Attorney General Kamala Harris. Although the 114th Congress has the largest number of Black women serving ever in the U.S. House of Representatives, there are ZERO Black women in the U.S. Senate. Carol Moseley Braun made history in 1992 when she was elected the first and only Black woman to ever serve in the Senate until she left office in 1999.