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We Told You the Electoral College Is An HBCU

…. over a year ago. But, a lot of folks didn’t want to hear it – well, someone finally listened 

Few people love the Electoral College. For good reason: it is a relic of Union governance acquiescing to Confederate demands and originally designed to squash any hint of Black electoral influence. 

However, in this recent 2020 election, it was the Black vote that dominated the Electoral College and served as the decisive edge in winning it for now President-elect Joe Biden. Of course, that’s not reason to exonerate the inherently anti-democratic scheme that is the Electoral College – but, it is reason to understand that if the Black electorate, especially when it’s collaborating with other non-White voting blocs, plays an effective game of chess, it can turn the tables and work the College to its advantage. 

In short, Black voters can transform the Electoral College into a metaphorical Historically Black College and University (HBCU). They just did. B|E Note Contributing Editor Dr. G.S. Potter predicted they would … over a year ago

United States of Black Votes

Look at the Electoral College map from 2016 (per ElectoralVoteMap) …

The earlier-call states which initially opened up the Electoral College vote floodgates for Biden (and begin smashing through the anticipated Tuesday-night “red mirage”) were Michigan and Wisconsin, floating on heavy Black turnout in major cities such as Detroit and Milwaukee – two cities with either majority or near-majority Black populations. These essentially helped flip once 2016 states won by Trump into 2020 states now won by Biden. 

The remaining Rust Belt “blue wall” that fell into place to complete Biden’s winning Electoral College puzzle was Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania flip was caused by large turnout in Philadelphia, due in large part to untapped Black voters from 2016 being activated in 2020. Philadelphia is a majority Black city. 

Biden managed to flip all 3 states that went for Trump in 2016, thanks to Black voter strength in those states. That cemented his projected win (as votes are still undergoing counts in AZ, GA, NV and NC). If Biden manages to flip Georgia and North Carolina after vote counts are completed, we’ll see two more states – which contain massive Black statewide populations and majority Black cities – in which the Black Electorate flexed muscle to deliver a decisive EC vote win to Biden. Keep in mind that GA, MI, NC, PA and WI are 5 out of the 6 key states with large Black population concentrations that underperformed or were untapped/dismissed by Democrats in 2016 …

As Dr. G.S. Potter wrote in 2019 … 

Black voting blocks can also take claim of Electoral College votes in states where their populations outnumbered the gap between Republicans and Democrats in 2016

For example, Donald Trump only won Pennsylvania’s 20 Electoral College votes by approximately 68,000 votes. Black folks made up 11% of the potential electorate in that election with 1.1 million eligible voters in the state. Turnout hovered around 63 percent though, leaving an upwards of 400,000 voters that could completely up-end Trump’s hopes to retake Pennsylvania in 2020.

In addition to Pennsylvania (20), there are six other states that similarly have Black voting blocs large enough to overtake the Republicans in 2020 should they sufficiently mobilize …

  • Ohio (18)
  • Michigan (16)
  • Tennessee (11)
  • Missouri (10)
  • Wisconsin (10)
  • Arkansas (6)

These 7 states are worth 91 Electoral College votes.

Someone must have been listening.


  • CHARLES D. ELLISON is an award-winning thought leader, political strategist, commentator and advocacy expert with nearly two decades of applied expertise in the arena of politics, public policy, campaigns and elections, crisis management and emerging/digital media strategy. Ellison is the Executive Producer & Host of Reality Check, a daily public affairs program on WURD (96.1FM / 900AM / in Philadelphia). He is also Contributing Editor for The Philadelphia Citizen, weekly Wednesday co-host on the nationally syndicated Keeping it Real w/ Rev. Al Sharpton, and Managing Editor for, a publication covering the intersection of the environment, race and income. His writings have been frequently featured in major publications such as The Philadelphia Tribune,, The Forward, Politico, Pacific Standard, The Daily Beast, The Washington Post and others. He is a regular analyst for numerous major metropolitan media outlets including WVON-AM (Chicago), WHUR-FM (Washington, D.C.), KSRO-AM (California) and KDKA (Pittsburgh). He has appeared on MSNBC, CNN, NPR, FOX, CBS’ Face the Nation, SkyTV and elsewhere. More engagement @ellisonreport on Twitter. CHARLES WRITES FOR – – – – –

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