Black Voters Can Completely Dominate The Electoral College and Choose the Next President

Racism is stupid.

The way that Presidents are elected in the United States is stupid — because it’s racist. And the stupidity of the Southern white slaveowners that designed our Presidential elections may have created an opportunity for the Black community to control the Electoral College, and thus the White House, in 2020. And for the foreseeable future.

Presidents weren’t always elected the way they are now in the United States. In fact, until 1804 the President and Vice President ran on separate tickets. The candidate with the most votes became President and the candidate with the second most votes became Vice President. In the case of a tie, the House of Representatives chose the winner. That system became problematic and a new one had to be put into place. (to learn more about that process, click HERE)

In other words, the game was about to change. And two of the most dramatic changes revolved around slavery.

The new rules for how the President and Vice President would be elected were written out in the 12th Amendment and they are the rules that, for the most part, are still used today. When the Amendment was passed in 1804, the electorate was entirely white. By that same year, all of the states in the north had abolished slavery. The nation was split between Slave States and Non-Slave States. The population was 5.3 million and of those 900,000 were enslaved black people and 100k were listed as free “other.”

At the time, there were only 17 states, 176 Electoral College votes, and the South was outnumbered 2 to 1.

Southern slaveowners knew they would never win a Presidential election again if the popular vote dictated who occupied the White House, so they came up with a two-step plan that would allow them to win the White House even if they lost the election.

The first step was to divide the nation in half and creating a two-party system. One party represented slaveowners and the other party represented abolitionists. They accomplished this division by legislating that both the President and the Vice President were to be placed on the same ticket. This pitted slaveowners and non-slaveowners directly against each other in competition for the White House.

The second step was implemented by the South to overcome the fact that they were outnumbered 2 to 1 electorally. If the South was going to maintain federal power, it was going to have to create a system by which the minority could occupy the Presidency and Vice-Presidency even if they lost the popular vote. This system was the Electoral College.

While enslaved Black people were not allowed to vote, they were counted as three-fifths of a person according to the Census. (to read more about how that happened, click HERE.) The Census would determine how many representatives each state would receive in the House of Representatives as well as how many electors they would have in the electoral college. In this way, the South was able to use Black people as a way to increase their numerical leverage in Congress and the Electoral College without giving them the power to alter the outcome of elections — i.e.. vote.

And that was a really stupid move by today’s standards.

The system for electing a President in the United States was designed by slaveowners that did not account for free and enfranchised black electorate. They also did not account for an American electorate that included millions of Latino voters. It also did not account for the migration patterns of black communities once slavery did end. Huge mistakes. And by splitting the nation into a two-party system, white supremacists split the white vote in half making it far easier for non-whites and their allies to outnumber them.

So stupid.

If we fast-forward through the 2 great migrations that spread Black communities North and West and locked them into urban voting blocks, the immigration of tens of millions of Latinos that would eventually become voting citizens, and the Civil Rights Movement that would push forward the Voting Rights Act — we see a much different America than the one that existed in 1804.

In 1804, 100% of the electorate was white. During the Civil Rights movement, 90% of the electorate was white. And in 2020, it is projected that only 67% of voters will identify as white. 13% will be Black. And 13% will be Latino.

Further, according to the former scholar Jacob Lawrence, “Between 1910 and 1970, more than 5 million blacks left the South for major cities in the North and West, including Pittsburgh, New York, Detroit, Chicago, St. Louis, and Los Angeles. Their departures were fueled in part by the availability of low skilled jobs in the burgeoning manufacturing industry after both World Wars. Other contributing factors included the drying up of southern agriculture jobs due to farm mechanization as well as the increasingly repressive social environment. In 1910 the nation’s largest black populations were in Georgia, Mississippi, and Alabama; in 1970 the largest black populations were in New York, Illinois, and California.”

With large black communities in states in the North, South, and West and a split white electorate, Black voters are now positioned to be the minority that can use the Electoral College to push past the majority and take over the white house. At least if you look at the numbers.

In the 2020 Presidential election, there will be 538 Electoral College votes up for grabs. These votes are tallied from the 50 states and Washington, D.C. Ten of these states plus DC have black electorates that outnumber the Republican voting bloc. [Illinois (20), Georgia (16), North Carolina (15), Virginia (13), Maryland (10), Alabama (9), South Carolina (9), Louisiana (8), Mississippi (6), Delaware (3), and Washington DC (3)] These states carry 112 Electoral College votes. Of these states, though, the black voting bloc has only mobilized to claim 49 of those votes. [Illinois (20), Virginia (13), Maryland (10), Delaware (3), and Washington DC (3)].

If the black voting bloc mobilized to take claim of 112 of the 538 votes to win the Presidential election, that would be a lot of leverage in an of itself. But that’s not all.

In addition to states where black voters themselves dominate white nationalists, black voting blocks can also take claim of Electoral College votes in states where their populations outnumber 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 elections with 1.1 million eligible voters in the state. Turnout hovered around 63% 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), and Arkansas (6)] These 7 states are worth 91 Electoral College votes. So far, the Black electorate has not mobilized to claim any of them.

These 91 Electoral College Votes combined with the 112 votes listed above gives the Black Electorate a total of 203 of the 538 Electoral College votes needed to win the 2020 election — should they mobilize to claim them. And we’re still not done.

There are 4 states where Black and Latino electorates combine to outnumber the Republican Party. They are New York (29), New Jersey (14), Texas (38), and Florida (29). New York and New Jersey are being held down by blue voters, but Texas and Florida are still controlled by white nationalists. They are both in danger of flipping in 2020, though, if the black voting bloc mobilizes in those states as well. If Texas and Florida are added to the tally, that brings the power of the black voting bloc to 270 Electoral College votes out of the 538 needed to win the White House.

In other words, the black voting bloc could completely dominate the race for the White House in 2020. The slaveowners that designed this rigged system of electing a President may have handed the keys of the White House over to descendants of the black men and women they were trying to deny freedom. All Black Americans need to do now is grab them from their stupid, racist hands.

SIIP is dedicated to designing strategies to counter political obstacles faced by the most brutally targeted communities in the United States

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