There are 44 African American members of Congress. Next year, five more are expected to join them, bringing the total to 49. That will represent the highest number of Blacks in Congress in American history. But will it make a difference? Can they leverage their numbers?
Another record-breaking development in the record-breaking 114th Congress will be that all of the new Black members will be women. It is likely that as many as 20 Black women could take the oath of office on Capitol Hill, which is also a record.
That’s the good news. The bad news is that as we’ve seen in statehouses throughout the South, when Democrats become a minority in a legislative chamber, that means less clout for everyone in the party, including African Americans.
Depending on how many House Democrats there are in 2015 (there are now 199), the Black Caucus could become 25 percent of the House Democratic Caucus. As the Tea Party members in the House Republican Caucus have proven over and over, a voting bloc of just 25 members can leverage a great deal of power.
Read more: More Blacks Headed to Congress