Are There Too Many Black Non-Voters?

There is an alarmingly high rate of Black respondents in recent polling suggesting dangerously low Black voter turnout in 2020 - at a time when they're needed the most

Publisher’s Riff

Special insights heard daily at #RealityCheck on WURD every Mon - Thur, 10am - 1pm ET LIVE at or WATCH the 8.6.20 edition on WURD TV at or LISTEN each day by WURD app. Also: wear your B|E today!

Black millennials who don't vote are falling for political fraud ...

There are quite a few people out there who won’t want to hear this, but here goes: the outcome of the 2020 election, including the battle for the White House and the Senate, will greatly depend, once again, on the whims of White women (particularly those in the suburbs). They will be the decisive edge. A May 2020 Washington Post-ABC poll suggests some support among White women eroding, but still about half of non-college and college educated women approve of his handling of the economy, even while just 36 percent of college educated White women approve of his overall job as president.

That will seem like a scary prediction to many considering how a majority of White women voters inexplicably voted for Trump in the 2016 presidential election. But, it’s a proposition that is becoming more and more inevitable with each passing day we see signs of an increasingly agitated, frustrated and self-depressed Black voting electorate that is not showing signs it will flex optimal electoral strength by the time we reach November. While 80 percent of White women overall in that same Post-ABC poll, between non-college and college educated, signal that they are absolutely certain to vote in 2020, just 68 percent of Black voters say the same - with about 11 percent saying their chance of voting is either “50-50” (4 percent) or “less than that” (7 percent) or “not at all” (2 percent).

Black voters are in a position to be the most important and decisive voting bloc in 2020. They are in a position, if unified around a common strategic goal and around a not-so-attractive Democratic presidential candidate, to massively overcome expected voter suppression and help expand tight margins in key battleground states. They are, in addition, substantially clustered in the key battleground states holding the electoral college votes Joe Biden will need to convincingly crush Donald Trump in November. As Howard University professor Karthik Balasubramanian calculated in a February New York Times article, Black voters represent an untapped gold mine of votes for Democrats …

Look at how that breaks down in these six crucial battlegrounds …

Which is why pipe-dreaming talk of abolishing the Electoral College (which is just not going to happen anytime soon, if at all) could not have happened at a worse time than now, when Black voters need to understand that maximum turnout from their communities actually puts Black people in a position to own the Electoral College.

And yet, recent polling from a number of sources shows troubling hints of devastatingly low turnout from Black communities, with a high number of potential Black voters embracing the notion of “non-voting” or “holding their vote.” See American University’s latest Black Swing Voter Project

Overall, roughly 21 percent of the Black electorate is saying it’s either “not voting” or “not sure.” It gets worse with 33 percent of Black Gen Zers (with that demographic being the most likely, wait for it, to vote for Trump).

We see this trend in the latest Trendency report, as well …


And in the most recent YouGov/Economist poll, Black voters are the most likely to say - out of every racial demographic - that they are the least enthusiastic about voting for president …

There are multiple reasons for this development. The impact of the pandemic is taking a serious toll on Black communities, especially the impending economic depression. There is a feeling of disenchantment with the political and public policy making process. But if there is one group that stands to lose or gain the most from this election, it is the Black community. Voter suppression, of course, will play a major role in this election. But, maximum Black turnout can overwhelm or offset that. That there is so much doubt surrounding the value of an act as simple, free and transformative as a vote is a very urgent matter.

(REGISTER) Black Business: What's the Survival Plan?

A solutions-based microsummit on what Black businesses and their communities can and must do to effectively respond to the current crisis

a CSG-ERC feature


The Council of State Governments Eastern Regional Conference, Council on Communities of Color presents a new installment in its ongoing Equity Gap micro summit Series.

Our latest focus will be "Black Business: What's the Survival Plan?"


These micro-summits offer insights, analysis and solutions on numerous challenges communities and governments face as the pandemic, protests and a disruptive political climate continues. This next micro-summit will take place via Zoom on Friday, August 7th, 10am - 11am ET.

These micro-summits are being produced in partnership with the B|E Note. It is a unique convening of state and local policy makers, experts and thinkers concerned about the massive equity gaps exposed and worsened by the coronavirus pandemic.

Nearly half of all Black businesses in the United States are expected to shutter during this pandemic. "Black Business: What's the Survival Plan?" A panel of business owners, policymakers and influencers will lead a solutions-based discussion on what Black businesses and their communities must do and can do to effectively respond to the current crisis. What are the policy prescriptions for such a challenging environment? How can policymakers force the banking and financial services sector to meet Black business needs? What role can policy play in encouraging large investment in Black business, thereby encouraging greater Black employment? How do businesses collaborate with policymakers, community organizations, customers and other stakeholders to reverse current trends? What new approach should we be considering?


REGISTER TODAY and join us for a 1-hour panel on policy solution and action plan to keep black and brown people safe while occupying public and private spaces. Panelists will offer expert insights and guidance.

Registrants will receive a Zoom access link upon registration. Audience members will be able to ask questions by chat. Audience members are encouraged to discuss and share the panel on social media at #CSGEAST #CCC

The Council of State Governments Eastern Regional Conference, Council on Communities of Color , and partnered with the B|E Note.




Charles Ellison, CSG East Fellow | Host of "Reality Check" on WURD radio | Publisher,

LISTEN: Recent "Reality Checks," 8.3.20 ...

Black voters saving democracy; making #VoteByMail better; how Black men speak up; looking at the "Blaxit" option

Reality Check 11.27.19 - Bergen Cooper by WURD Radio on SoundCloud ...

Tiffany Cross talks about her new book Say It Louder! Black Voters, White Narratives & Saving Our Democracy

Scott Seeborg All Voting is Local, explains how to make #VoteByMail better …

Torraine Walker explores why high profile Black men can’t speak up - and how they should …

Crishan Wright on why Black folks should explore a “Blaxit” option, what that is and also the infodemic of social media

More special analysis at #RealityCheck on WURD every Mon - Thur, 10am - 1pm ET LIVE at or WATCH the 8.3.20 edition on WURD TV at or LISTEN each day by WURD app. Also: wear your B|E tee today!

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Food Insecurity Rising

The state of the nation’s food is an issue long discussed and seen in many versions throughout history.

Croix Ellison | BEnote Fellow

Special insights heard daily at #RealityCheck on WURD every Mon - Thur, 10am - 1pm ET LIVE at or WATCH the 7.30.20 edition on WURD TV at or LISTEN each day by WURD app. Also: wear your B|E today!

How the coronavirus crisis worsens food insecurity in Black ...

In 2019, there were an estimated 40 million Americans suffering from food insecurity. Many families had to choose between nutritious food and paying bills - and they still are. Additional research suggests that 3 out of every 10 individuals who are food insecure are unable to access federal nutrition programs.

The state of the nation’s food is an issue long discussed and seen in many versions throughout history. Recently, as the coronavirus pandemic rages on, it is being raised as a topic of major concern in the U.S. with more people and policymakers taking notice as a greater number of Americans go hungry.  

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, food insecurity is defined as ‘the lack of access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food’. To summarize, food insecurity is not just merely a case of a household’s hunger and a family’s lack of access to food, but it is also the prevailing issue of undernourishment throughout communities that is seen not only in developing countries, but in developed countries as well. 

In a study conducted by The Food Research and Action Center, we are able to see how food insecurity has taken hold globally. The effects of food insecurity are not only seen differently in every community, but it’s especially pronounced in communities of lower income and high unemployment. Taking into account that a much higher proportion of communities that suffer from being lower income are Black and Brown, the issue is devastating to the greater Black, Latino and Indigenous populations in the United States. 

For example, Jefferson County, Mississippi is a place where the population is 86 percent African American. Yet, roughly 1 in every 3 residents is facing some form of food insecurity, with 36 percent of children at risk of hunger. Or, take Greene County, Alabama where the racial demographics are 79.9% Black; there, about 1 in 5 food-insecure children live in households with incomes 185 percent above the federal poverty line, which means they may not have qualified for public nutrition assistance. 

Data from U.S. News and World Report show that 15.6 percent have diabetes and 32.8 percent of the residents lack access to large grocery stores. 

Over the period of the past 20 years, food insecurity rates have both risen and declined. However, one ratio that has sustained over these two decades is the gap in prevalence of food insecurity between people of color and Whites. A study conducted by the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health between 2001 and 2016 found that the rates of food insecurity for both Black and Latino households was at least twice that of White households. 

The relationship between food insecurity and race is complex and includes concerns of high rate poverty, unemployment, incarceration, and disability - issues that are due to the broader concern of the social and economic disadvantage that people of color have to deal with routinely as a result of systemic racism. Data provided by the Pew Research Center shows that White households hold 13 times the median wealth of Blacks and 10 times that of Hispanic households, respectively.

Areas that are poor and have problems finding affordable, healthy  food are also known as “food deserts”. This is because there are more supermarkets than there are farmers markets. It’s then easier to find a slurpee than a smoothie, and cheaper to get a Big Mac than to grab dinner at a salad bar.

When comparing communities with similar poverty rates, Black and Hispanic neighborhoods have a higher rate than their White counterparts of smaller grocery stores that are bursting with junk-food options. These are also called “stop and go,'“ that haven’t established healthy whole grain foods, dairy products, or fresh fruits and veggies.

Numerous studies have found that many of the high rate health disparities Black communities experience are due to differences in physical and social environments. This includes access to healthy food.

Feeding America is using data to explore how the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) will affect food insecurity rates and the people who face hunger. As they report ... 

Part of what makes food insecurity so difficult to solve is that the underlying causes — poverty, unemployment/under-employment and inconsistent access to enough healthy food — are often deeply interconnected. Moving in and out of food insecurity simply adds more stress to a household that may already be wrestling with instability and unpredictability.

While the spread of coronavirus extends throughout the country, the changes that come along with closures and social distancing are disrupting the lives of every area across the country. The uncertainty surrounding government food assistance programs like SNAP, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also makes current conditions much harder. As this recent report from the Center for American Progress shows, more than 12 million food insecure individuals have already been excluded from SNAP extensions …

… [T]he U.S. Department of Agriculture’s interpretation of the law excludes households who were receiving the maximum benefit before the passage of the relief package. This means that the more than 7 million households across the country who received the maximum in fiscal year 2018—those already deemed to be the poorest and most in need by SNAP eligibility guidelines—received no extra aid as the economy plummeted into a recession. Despite challenges to the interpretation, almost 40 percent of all SNAP households are left without a needed increase in federal food assistance even while facing an unprecedented rise in food insecurity.

Food insecure individuals and families, particularly children, are the hardest hit and affected. Many in this population set face the gravest societal challenges of anyone else in the nation. The number of people who are experiencing food insecurity is likely increasing with little hope that it will decrease anytime soon and that policymakers are any closer to finding a solution.

HR For A New World Order

Companies that adapt will thrive. Those who just try to go back to “how it was” are likely to struggle

a Trendency feature

Benefits, learning tools and other free resources to cope with the ...

The world is changing rapidly, as is the office, and the relationship we all have with the companies we work for. Companies that adapt will thrive. Those who just try to go back to “how it was” are likely to struggle, but at least one truth has endured through the pandemic: people are any company’s most valuable asset. It’s as critical now as it ever was to get meaningful feedback from your employees, really listen and understand them and what they need to continue enabling your company to thrive.

As the world around us and what’s required of you changes rapidly, ensure the feedback you’re getting is current.

Previously mundane activities like walking into a store, shaking hands at the beginning of a meeting (or having an in-person meeting!), hugging a friend, and going to the office have changed entirely over the past three months. Many of us haven’t stepped foot in our office since March, and many of us (who have the option) are not planning to anytime soon. Remote work is the norm and we all are wishing we had bought stock in Zoom six months ago.

These are challenging times for companies across the globe, but these rapid changes provide a rare opportunity to re-evaluate our trajectories and the way we run a business (“SOPs” or “standard operating procedures” for those who love the jargon). The protocols of office check-ins, semi-annual or annual reviews, and once-in-a-blue-moon employee satisfaction surveys are dinosaurs of a previous regime and expose companies and executives to their biggest threat: time.

What most workers are looking for these days is flexibility and the ability to have a life outside of the office. This starts with moving past the idea of being behind a desk from 9 to 5 (ok let’s be honest 9 to 6 or 7). In a recent study Trendency conducted, we found that 9 in 10 employees want the flexibility to work remotely at least one day in five, and 7 in 10 want to work mostly remotely (more than half their time). Individual company’s mileage and capacity to accommodate these preferences will vary, so it’s important to do the research and get feedback from your employees and engage them on how to best move forward. That said, companies that don’t proceed with an eye toward employees’ newfound love of flexibility will likely have a hard time retaining talent, while those who listen and adjust will have no problem attracting people to their organization.

Even as company executives are investing heavily in remote work technology like Zoom (really should have bought that stock), Microsoft Teams, G-Suite Hangouts, laptops, cameras, and better lighting for those ever-present video conference calls, they also need to invest in mechanisms to ensure they’re getting reliable and timely feedback from their employees on how things are going, are they happy with their work? Are there morale problems that are harder to pick up? Are the remote work investments you are making the right ones?

Like the move to remote work, the move away from the tedious annual survey had been happening before 2020 has been dramatically accelerated. The old-school approach to employee feedback was a survey once a year to “check-in.” But we all know these surveys were too often designed to give a few C-Suite managers some data to put in a presentation while they tried not to pull a muscle patting themselves on the back.

Even when the annual surveys were a genuine attempt to hear from employees, the idea that one point in time during the year can accurately reflect how an employee feels is laughable. This is true not only because of the pace of change (if your annual survey was in January 2020, you are unlikely to have very much usable information at this point,) but because your employees are probably … human. We haven’t done specific research on this so I can’t say for sure if I’m an outlier, but I tend to feel kind of upbeat after bonuses are announced (or pretty down if there isn’t one coming). Ask me how I am doing right before the big annual conference that everyone is putting 18 hour days on and I might ask you how many four-letter words am I allowed to use in any one answer?

Humans have ups, and we have downs. If we are feeling better about our jobs on more days than the negative, we are overall feeling pretty good about our job. In the traditional office setting, it was theoretically easier to pick up the more positive and negative moods around a building. Clearly a walk around an office is not a perfect barometer but it might help with directional clues. So now what happens when there is no office, or if employees are only going to be together in person sporadically?

For example: Our clients understand this challenge and that is why they have used Trendency tools to gather and analyze timely and actionable feedback from their most valuable assets: their employees.

Trendency provides a continuous stream of data, engaging employees over the course of the year through a short set of questions answered about once every week or two. Questions on company culture, the direction of the company, communication from management, new policies around remote work, etc. help our clients better understand the mood of their employees and most importantly give them a better understanding of where problems are likely to arise. Shifts in attitude or changes in intensity provide critical insights into a company’s culture and ultimately critical information on problems before they become a disruption.

These disruptions are not just based on the current pandemic. In the last two years alone there have been massive shifts in attitudes and opinions through movements such as #MeToo and Black Lives Matter. These changes are not just happening on the weekend, but in the office, and now in the hybrid of office and remote work that is likely to be the new norm. How employees felt three months ago is quickly irrelevant and companies that have the ability to get feedback from their employees within hours are going to be the companies that can adjust accordingly and position themselves better for the future.

What feels like decades ago, in 2018, as concerns reached a tipping point on the treatment of women at Nike, the company’s female employees took matters into their own hands. While we do not know for certain what Nike’s approach was for gaining feedback from their employees, whatever the method (whether an annual survey or suggestion-box), their failure to recognize meaningful feedback caused significant and avoidable upheaval. Better listening could have helped solve these issues if the company were willing to act on the feedback.

Contrast that debacle with the successes among our clients earlier this year. As millions of employees were forced to work from home to slow the spread of COVID-19, our clients were able to understand their employees’ concerns, before and during the weeks and months of office closures. Trendency clients were able to show greater responsiveness to their teams’ specific concerns and communicate to their team members measures they were putting in place to keep everyone safe. As concerns shifted towards economic and job security over time, our partners were able to stay ahead of the curve and provide reassurance where they could, and timely and relevant information where they could not. They could have the important conversations “in the family” rather than addressing them for the first time on Twitter.

As the Black Lives Matters movement reaches a new tipping point, Trendency clients are once again able to understand and address their teams’ concerns and needs, and meaningfully engage employees in external and internal responses. Whether it is an external force or internal disruption, we provide our partners with the data they need so they aren’t flying blind and can stay ahead of the curve.

As is the case with so many things these days, these challenges and changes are not new, but everything is being accelerated and amplified. Companies that adapt will be built for the long term, companies that do not … well, we all know what will happen to them.

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Trendency Research

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