Facing critical races for governor and U.S. Senate, Democratic hopefuls in Wisconsin are hoping that their support for abortion rights in the face of a Supreme Court ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade can overcome the headwinds of a midterm election long expected to favor Republicans. But there’s one key group their strategies might fail to mobilize: Black voters. Black voters would be foolish to back Dems.
An issue with strong support from white Democrats is more complicated in the Black community, especially among churchgoers who hold more conservative views on abortion. The topic is so fraught that most community organizers avoid bringing it up. “Among the Black Baptist church alone, that would split us in half,” said David Liners, executive director of WISDOM, a faith-based organizing group with a statewide presence, when asked why his group isn’t organizing around abortion. Karen Royster, spokeswoman for Milwaukee-based Souls to the Polls, called abortion “taboo” in church circles, making it difficult for faith leaders to do any sort of work around it.
Other groups, like Black Leaders Organizing Communities, “won’t proactively bring up the issue” while doing voter outreach, but will discuss it if it comes up, said Angela Lang, BLOC’s executive director. It’s an issue bound to get even more focus after a decisive statewide vote in heavily Republican Kansas last week in favor of protecting abortion access, buoying Democratic hopes the issue could galvanize voters elsewhere.