Georgia as a swing state

Georgia was a fat disappointment for Democrats in 2014. Years of demographic transformation seemed to be opening new opportunities. A dominant bloc of aging white conservatives that had recently pivoted from the Democratic Party to the GOP appeared to be losing their stranglehold on the state’s politics. Having fielded solid, well-funded candidates for Governor and the Senate, they expected those races to at least run close.

Results from last year’s election raise a lot of interesting questions about the state of play in Georgia and the power of the Blue Wall. Determining whether the state will once again be competitive in Presidential elections, and more importantly – when – hinges on the answers to these four questions:

– Have Georgia’s Dixiecrats completed their flight to the Republican Party?

– Can the state’s aggressive campaign of vote suppression dampen minority engagement just enough to retain white dominance?

– When will Hispanics show up to the political process?

– Most importantly, will Republicans find a way to retain affluent whites in Atlanta’s close-in suburbs?

The first question is probably the easiest to answer. We have almost certainly witnessed the high-water mark of Republican power in Georgia in our era.

Looking at trends in state and federal elections across the past four decades it becomes clear that the flight of Georgia’s Dixiecrats petered out early in the Bush II years, probably about 2002. Democrats have been experiencing a long hangover, ticking back up by only 3-4 percentage points from their nadir. Now, demographic trends are all running strongly, though slowly, in the Democrats’ favor.

Gaining only 45% of the vote in 2014 was a disappointment for Democrats, but there are some other factors to consider. Democrats do poorly in low-turnout elections. Georgians cast a third-fewer votes in 2014 than in 2012, however their top of the ticket candidate retained the same percentage. That is a very significant number, suggesting that at the higher turnout levels of a Presidential election year that figure would be somewhere between 47-48% at least.

Current Republican power in Georgia is founded on white conservatives who migrated to the party over the past generation. They are aging and literally dying. Younger Georgians, even young people who otherwise match the demographic character of the Dixiecrats, are following in their footsteps by smaller and smaller margins. Rebranding Southern conservatism from Jim Crow to Jesus is losing its magic. Barring an historic transformation of the Republican agenda, the loss of Republican dominance in Georgia is just a question of attrition.

That said, attrition can be very slow. If you can delay the “inevitable” long enough then it is no longer so inevitable. That’s where Georgia’s particularly aggressive campaign of vote suppression becomes important.

Vote suppression in Georgia is far more comprehensive than the modest Voter ID campaigns Republicans have leveraged elsewhere. Georgia officials have mounted a sustained, targeted campaign that has limited voting hours, harassed community volunteers, and significantly raised the cost of minority political organization in the state. The effectiveness of this effort is hard to measure because its most potent effects are very subtle.

If black turnout is the stat that indicates success or failure, than vote suppression has backfired. The black community is more dedicated, resolved, engaged, and hostile to the GOP than it has ever been.

That is probably the wrong measure to use. Although the black population is growing, they are not Republicans’ most serious concern. Hispanics are the rising force in Georgia politics. In that community, vote suppression looks like a resounding success.

Two issues keep Hispanics under-represented in Georgia politics. First, despite their population numbers at almost 10% of the state’s residents and growing fast, they are very young. With a median age of only 25, a vast majority of the state’s nearly 900,000 Hispanics are under 40, a demographic swath that under-participates in politics across every demographic group. They are a large population, but only a modest electorate – for now.

Contributing to their under-representation is a history of systematic exclusion from Southern politics. Hispanics have never had a credible avenue to organize and express their political interests anywhere in the South. Under those conditions they have developed their own collection of institutions almost completely independent of organized electoral politics. Their experience has been different from the black community in some very important ways.

Connections to Mexico provided an avenue of flight when abuses from the majority community occasionally reached critical levels. Where the black community was pressed by their lack of alternatives to organize and participate actively in the system, Hispanics in the South developed a completely different template of responses to Jim Crow and its aftermath, largely bypassing elections.

It will take time for the new opportunity to inspire an evolution of the institutions that influence Hispanic communities in the South. Vote suppression has been fairly effective in delaying that evolution and continuing Hispanic alienation. That evolution might be slow, but it is likely to appear in election results very suddenly. In other words, Hispanic political power may or may not show up in a dramatic way in 2016 or 2020, but when it does show up it will surprise everyone. Vote suppression is working for now, but it is a brittle dam holding back an inevitable flood.

It is easy to find articles describing Republicans’ challenges with minority communities, but perhaps the largest factor in determining whether the state becomes competitive will be a topic neither party is taking very seriously. The fastest growing political force in Georgia is its urban population.

At the national level, Democrats take the cities for granted and Republicans dismiss them out of hand. Trapped in that dynamic, urban and suburban voters are becoming increasingly alienated.

Georgia’s countryside is emptying into Atlanta at a rapidly expanding pace. Young people who move to the city may bring with them a template of political alliances and assumptions that are very old, but that template evolves quickly under new urban demands. Democrats are the only figures that pretend an interest in urban concerns issues, but the long absence of competition is creating weakness.

Republicans count on support from suburban and exurban whites, but in metro Atlanta that support is in steep decline. Those declines are most pronounced, dropping by almost a quarter over the past decade, in the counties closest to the city, but they are universal across the area. For example, the rock-hard Republican enclave of Forsyth County gave a stunning 79% of its vote to Republican Senate candidate David Perdue in 2014. That big win masks a steady, continuing decline from the 85% that Bush won there in 2004. As Atlanta’s suburban counties grow, their Republican character is eroding.

Georgia’s future political direction will most likely be determined by the outcome of races in Atlanta and its near suburbs that are too local and obscure to draw the attention of outsiders. To an ever increasing extent, Georgia = Atlanta. Metro Atlanta already accounts for half of the state’s electorate. That figure is guaranteed to climb for the foreseeable future.

It is not yet clear whether those voters will come to see their interests aligned with the far suburbs or the urban core. So far all of Atlanta’s suburban counties are moving steadily closer to Atlanta politically. If Hilary Clinton does no more than continue the current trend in suburban drift toward the Democrats and maintain the usual pattern of higher Democratic turnout in Presidential election years, then Georgia will be too close to call.

Obama won well over 45% of the vote in Georgia in 2012. If Clinton doesn’t campaign there, she’s still likely to pick up nearly 47% just based on demographic trends. If she can add an additional 60,000 votes from Metro Atlanta over Obama’s 2012 numbers she might win Georgia.

Georgia’s future hinges on a factor separate from race and ethnicity – urbanization. Of the four questions that hang over Georgia’s political future, Republican’s ability to hold Atlanta’s suburbs is the most decisive. Democrats pretend to be the party of cities, but that’s purely a default position handed to them by a Republican capitulation. A party that can restore trust in public schools in Atlanta, obtain solid support for public transit infrastructure, and impose sound fiscal discipline, will control the state for the near future.

Chris Ladd is a Texan living in the Chicago area. He has been involved in grassroots Republican politics for most of his life. He was a Republican precinct committeeman in suburban Chicago until he resigned from the party and his position after the 2016 Republican Convention. He can be reached at gopliferchicago at gmail dot com.

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61 comments on “Georgia as a swing state
  1. Ken Ashe says:

    I haven’t heard much about the presidential race in Georgia recently. Is this still considered a swing state?

  2. […] Virginia and New Hampshire were now beyond reach for a Republican nominee. I also explained that Georgia was moving into play at the federal level. Also in 2014 I explained that Republicans had a 0% […]

  3. netdragon says:

    Don’t forget gerrymandering. One of the biggest tools the GOP uses in GA. From an independent (non-party) affluent white in Atlanta’s close-in suburbs who happens to vote mostly democrat because the republican agenda makes him sick.

    • 1mime says:

      I’ve been reading that the New Georgia Project is still around and that the Dems are training candidates for the 2016 elections. The courts and the GA Sec of State did everything they could to “lose” 40K newly registered Democratic voters conveniently to pull the Senate race out of the hat for the GOP. Hopefully, there are more people like yourself that are tired of ugly politics that will help make GA more purple, as demographics indicates it should be. Thanks for feedback and support the New GA project if you can. Good people.

  4. […] few months ago I described Georgia as a state in the GOP’s critical deep-red category that might become competitive soon at the national level. Here’s the factor I identified as critical to the state’s partisan […]

  5. 1mime says:

    This is a thoughtful look by Larry Sabato of the U of Va Center for Politics on the GOP presidential front runners.

  6. objv says:

    Challenging voter fraud helped this Georgia Dem win an election:

    “In 1962 a new district was added to the Georgia Senate and Jimmy Carter saw his opportunity to move his ideas forward at a state level. After losing the primary, Carter challenged the results in court. Gross mismanagement of the election returns was proven and a recount, after eliminating dead and imprisoned voters proved Jimmy Carter to be the nominee of the Democratic Party three days before the general election. Carter defeated his Republican opponent by less than 1,000 votes.”

    • objv says:

      Congratulations on your book, Lifer! I haven’t gotten to download and read it yet. I’m a little concerned after reading tthor’s comment. But as you said, ” I expect it will deliver page after page of irritation, but hopefully it’s the good kind, like a good spicy plate of enchiladas”

      • tuttabellamia says:

        OV, I have never found Lifer irritating. I disagree with him a lot of the time, but his tone and approach are sincere and earnest, non-confrontational, snark-free, and he seems willing to listen to opposing ideas.

      • goplifer says:

        Obj, I’ll say this about the book, as a sort of preview. The snark is dialed waaay down from the levels occasionally reached in the comfy confines of this blog.

        Also, with these ideas presented as an interlocking whole, in a kind of semi-logical sequence, you might find that the approach I’m taking makes more sense. Frankly, people who sit where you sit on the political spectrum are the folks I most hope to appeal to with this thing. It’s a reach, but it’s possible.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Lifer, I do have to wonder about the book’s title, though . . . It is a bit provocative, referring to people as “crazy.” Frankly, I think the subject of politics tends to make everyone a bit crazy, to say and do crazy things they would never do otherwise.

        Anyway, what I see in your book and blog is a general call to action, a general appeal to our civic duty, how to be more involved in the political process, to make our world a better place, regardless of party affiliation.

      • 1mime says:

        Dare I say, “common purpose”?

      • tuttabellamia says:

        LIfer, as for the confines of this blog, the snark doesn’t come from you, it usually comes from some of your esteemed participants.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Yes, Mime, more unifying than divisive. I remember a while back how Lifer tried to appeal to social conservatives to accept same-sex marriage by appealing to their belief in family values.

      • 1mime says:

        Exactly, Tutta. As important as I believe the ACA is, as an example, if the law can be improved even if it requires changes, why not do so in order to serve a greater number of people? The bigger picture, as it were. Extrapolate beyond this one issue to the environment, jobs, education and never lose sight of shared value of cooperation.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Mime, I also remember how on that occasion I referred to Lifer as “opportunistic,” because he seemed to be desperately grasping at straws, doing anything to bring people over to his side, what I thought was just a ploy to score political points, but I guess I was wrong.

        Actually, he does admit now to being opportunistic in using us to write his book. 🙂

      • 1mime says:

        Lots of people write books. Lifer has something to say that we all need to hear. He makes a real effort to “teach” vs preach about why things are and help us understand what could be. I asked Lifer once about what he gained from his readers. The time he spends researching and drafting his blogs is a great service for all of us. It takes “time” – that commodity people have so little of. If we as his followers have contributed in any way to this first book (I’m sure there will be more), that’s great, but the credit is all Lifer’s.

        There will always be “snark” – in fact, I’m guilty of it myself occasionally, but mostly, the group is respectful and thoughtful, as is Lifer.

      • objv says:

        Lifer, I got the book (Kindle Unlimited) and am looking forward to reading it.

        Tutt and Mime, I didn’t mean any disrespect when I used Chris’ quote. Strange but true: I like being slightly irritated. It gives me motivation to formulate an argument. Opposing views are more interesting. It would be boring if we all thought alike. 🙂

      • 1mime says:

        Nice icon, Ob, even though I liked your other one too. People who don’t like to be challenged don’t grow intellectually. We all benefit from differing viewpoints.

      • objv says:

        Yes, Mime. 🙂

        The avatar is a clue to my identity. Mime and Tracy might get it since they already know who I am. I don’t think anyone else will guess. After some of the hijinks on this blog, I prefer my anonymity.

      • objv says:

        Sorry, Mime. I meant Tuttabella and Tracy.

      • unarmedandunafraid says:

        objv – I see you point about voter ID. But another problem I have is that the requirements seem to be put in place very late in the election cycle so voters have to scramble to get accepted ID.

        I can imagine some having a problem with a photo ID. They are usually not free and for some that don’t have drivers license, it is an extra cost. We could work that out.

        I can even imagine some having a religious problem with picture ID. Not a common occurrence for sure. Maybe an allowance for that.

        So I could go along with ID requirements If enough time is allowed. I think that all occurrences of turning away of voters should be recorded also, so we can tell if we are failing our citizens.

        After all, I can imagine some Republicans get caught up in this, too.

        What are your thoughts on this?

    • unarmedandunafraid says:

      objv – Usually when actual voter fraud occurs its of the type you mentioned. In the case you point out, a Sheriff that didn’t care for Carter tried to fix the election. There are documented cases of persons voting illegally but they are very rare. Less rare than “losing” ballots or “miscounting” votes.

      Of course, this type of fraud will not be stopped by requiring identification of a certain type. And it will certainly not be stopped by limiting voting hours or making it more difficult to vote for poor people. Since fraud by election officials is more prevalent, why the impositions on the voter?

      • unarmedandunafraid says:

        Actually, let a Pennsylvania politician answer the question of why voter ID.

      • flypusher says:

        Also why bother with bringing in illegal voters (since you cannot control their actions once they get into the privacy of the voting booth) when there is now the potential to hack into the system?

      • johngalt says:

        And, it should be pointed out, that sheriff didn’t like Carter because Carter (for all his other faults) was a fundamentally decent human being who had been publicly opposed to the blatant racism and segregationism ubiquitous in south Georgia at the time.

      • unarmedandunafraid says:

        Let me change that to “Rarer that losing ballots or miscounting votes”.

      • objv says:

        Admittedly, the Carter story was a blast from the past. Believe or not, I read one of Carter’s books a long time ago when I picked it up from the library on a whim. Apparently, voting for the dead was a cherished Georgia tradition.

        We can disagree on the current prevalence of voter fraud. There’s no real way to know if someone is fishing in an unwatched lake. I’m more concerned about the future potential for voter fraud. Many parents decided to forgo measles vaccine for their kids. Big mistake. Just because some think that voter fraud, like measles, has been eradicated; doesn’t mean that there will be no future problems with voter fraud swinging an election.

        Personally, I think a long period of early voting is great. Also, doing more to get young people registered as soon as they can legally vote is a good idea. However, showing a photo ID is not an imposition. It’s part of modern life.

    • flypusher says:

      “Challenging voter fraud helped this Georgia Dem win an election:”

      Objv, this whole voter fraud issue is a perfect example of the gulf the can exist between theory and practice. In theory, one might make a case for testing literacy, checking for convicted felons, etc. In practice, it has never been applied fairly. Presenting ID also sounds reasonable. But I don’t blame people who have been victimized by all the past voter exclusion shenanigans if they aren’t taking this one at face value.

      And as unarmed pointed out, your example does nothing to make your case that illegal voters are such a big problem.

  7. GG says:

    Hmmm, pardon me if this has been addressed but I recently read that Atlanta has one of the largest concentrations of fairly wealthy, solidly middle class black populations living in McMansion neighborhoods in America. Will they vote GOP or Dem? The racists will claim they are all voting Democrat but could the fiscal stance of the GOP appeal to them?

    Sorry, I had a rare day off and started at noon with a 4 margarita lunch with my special male friend. 🙂 so if I sound ditzier than normal that’s why,

    • johngalt says:

      What fiscal stance of the GOP? That they want to cut taxes, cut services, cut schools, cut safety nets and use the proceeds to send poor kids to fight wars? That’s not a winning strategy in a middle class black community. Southern Dekalb county, just east of downtown Atlanta, has long been one of these places. A quick glance at electoral results says they voted for Obama at a better than 90% clip, while whiter places in the north of the county, including the areas surrounding my high school, went for Romney at a 70% pace. I don’t think Ted Cruz is going to find much traction in these communities.

  8. 1mime says:

    Lifer, if ever there was a model for voter registration abuse by the GOP, Georgia is it. The “in your face” move by Georgia’s Republican Voter Registrar to defeat the grassroots black voter registration effort, The New Georgia Project, is one of the most brazen GOP efforts to date.

    The ostensible, proclaimed justification by Republicans for all matters of voter harrassment (especially Blacks, but the main criteria is voting while Democrat) for voter fraud has been disproved time and again. The percentage of fraud nationwide is miniscule when viewed as a percentage of all votes cast. It is an abomination and Republicans should be ashamed.

    When the goal is to win elections by denying interested citizens OF WHATEVER COLOR OR RACE the right to register to vote, that is the lowest of the low. When people of color make a positive effort to register citizens, and their efforts meet the outright obstruction that the New Georgia Project demonstrated, it is terribly disheartening. Black organizers lack the money and organizational ability to compete but when they tried, they were slapped down. Eighty thousand new black voters registered and 40K of them went missing?!!!!

    Sorry, but I see nothing for the Republican fParty in Georgia to be anything but shamed over.

    “So this is how Republicans govern!”

    Read and weep for Democracy.

  9. johngalt says:

    Sorry, not buying it. As a childhood product of white flight out of Atlanta’s near suburbs to what was then the far reaches of the northern metro, there was a sense of the inevitability of black political power centered in Atlanta (there was even, it seemed, some pride in the matter, because at least Georgia was not comporting itself like Alabama and Mississippi). But there was no small effort to confine it there too. Atlanta, proper, is a shockingly small city: 420,000 people out of a metro area of 6+ million. Atlanta has for decades been legally barred from annexing the unincorporated areas that surround it (except in unlikely scenarios). Atlanta’s school district was divorced even from it’s surrounding counties to enforce a racial separation that largely still exists. All products of a conscious effort by conservative whites to mitigate the damage of black political power by compressing it into one small area. Today’s congressional map shows 4 democratic districts, three of which are in Atlanta and one in a large but lightly populated (and majority black) chunk of the southwest of the state.

    Georgia is not turning blue unless its minority populations finally, once and for all, decide they are going to make it to the polls for every election rather than once every four years. And there is very little historical reason to believe that will happen.

    • goplifer says:

      Georgia isn’t about to become a blue state, but it is on the way to being competitive in Presidential and Senate elections in much the same way as North Carolina and Florida. The numbers are relentless.

      You see it most starkly in the Atlanta white-flight suburbs you mention. They are still heavily Republican, but the trendline (and the demographics behind that trendline) mean that they can’t continue to deliver enough votes to defeat Democrats much longer. The flight of the Dixiecrats is over. Republicans have already gained all the votes they can grab via divisive racial politics.

      Now that pool of voters is literally dying. They are being replaced by a new demographic of more diverse affluent suburbanites with a very different issue template. Their fears of blacks and crime are less pronounced. Their fear of women’s power is weaker. They just aren’t reliably moved by the agenda that created the Dixiecrat migration. Without them, Republican power in election years isn’t enough to hold the state.

      If Clinton makes a serious push in Georgia there’s a chance should could eke out a very close win. At the very least, by making it a close race she could flip that Senate seat. Since she’s going into this race with a near-lock on the Electoral College it makes sense for her to pressure the GOP in places like Georgia and Arizona just for the future potential.

      • johngalt says:

        But those political persuasions are not dying with the older voters. They are bequeathing their views, couched in different ways to young, white conservative Christians, and the counties in which this demographic live are growing. Atlanta is mostly in Fulton county, which is bordered on an east-west axis by Douglas, Clayton, and Dekalb counties. These four went for Obama in 2012 by 30%, 4%, 70%, and 55% (margins of victory). Douglas county, the most even of those, is the only one growing faster than average. In contrast, Forsyth, the fastest growing in Georgia (in which riots ensued when the census found there were black people living there in 1980), voted for Romney by a 63% margin (81-18). In #2 Paulding, the margin was 44%, in #3, 58% in Cherokee (#5), 51% in Barrow (#6). The margins were 10-12% in Gwinnett and Cobb, nearby Atlanta counties that have been amongst the fastest growing in the country for decades. The fast-growing places are heavily Republican and I see no trends suggesting this is changing in a way that gives the Democratic candidate any chance at being competitive statewide.

      • goplifer says:

        All true, but go back and look at the trendline for those rock-ribbed suburban counties since 2004, when the Dixiecrat migration had finally settled out.

        Remember, Clinton doesn’t need to win Forsyth County, she just needs the Republican to get less than about 75%. Bush got 85. Romney got 81. Perdue got 79.

        Perdue’s 79 is a really interesting number in that trendline because of the changing demographics of that county and others like it. Forsyth is growing by more than 15% per decade, but the characteristics of the newcomers are changing. Almost 10% of them are now Asian.

        Clinton is in striking distance of that “Magic 75” in the Atlanta exurbs. Hitting that number equals a Democratic victory in Georgia. Just a few more people who don’t hear the audible voice of white suburban Jesus. Just a few more good, obedient, Christian southern housewives who express their stifled, passive-aggressive resentment by voting for an upstart Southern woman in the secrecy of a voting booth.The numbers are close. It doesn’t take much.

        Holding on to those voters is getting tougher for Republicans without the benefit of a saner policy template. Can’t hold out forever.

      • johngalt says:

        I hope you’re right, but I have an uncle who lives in one of those exurbs and still rants about that lying, dope-smoking, draft dodging POS Clinton. I don’t see him voting for his wife. His son posts lots of crap on Facebook about the “takers and the makers”. He places himself firmly in the “makers” category despite having been educated entirely at public expense, including ROTC at a public university, then spent 12 years in the employ of the government (the Navy, mostly stationed in war-torn Cambridgeshire), which trained him for his current job, which is to fly airplanes whose development was government subsidized from one government built airport to another all day, while other government employees help him avoid running into other “makers.”

        I’m pessimistic in the medium term.

      • fiftyohm says:

        JG – While not supporting the whole ‘makers and takers’ crap, if ROTC were such a bad deal for the military, they wouldn’t do it. And a 12 year job at what would be substandard pay in the civilian sector has to count for something. ATC is paid for by the aviation trust fund which is in turn funded by taxes on fuel and such and passed on to the ticket-buying public. And at the dawn of the aviation era, the government had exactly zero to do with the development of the airplane, and viewed them as toys. This is just for perspective.

      • Turtles Run says:

        Fifty – The government did not help the Wright brothers build their first airplane but no one can deny that government involvement helped speed development of technology and usage. It was government that trained most of those early pilots that went into the civilian market after the world wars. Jet technology was gub’mint funded, as was the financing new innovation of designs. I won’t even bother going into space flight.

        Lets keep the perspective focused.

      • johngalt says:

        The history behind why Atlanta has one of the largest airports in the world would belie that idea that government had little to do with the development of the aviation industry. Or a history of Boeing, McDonnell-Douglas, or Lockheed.

        ROTC may be a fine deal for all involved, but in this case it provided very good training for a lucrative job. The headline salary might not be great (but neither is it terrible), but when they throw in a sizable housing allowance, completely free health care (government-run, I might add), and overseas pay for living in a bucolic English village, it can be fairly generous. It would just be nice to see acknowledged the fact that such people did not entirely build it themselves as they criticize those who started with far fewer advantages.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Gentlemen: Firstly, you can’t play the war card. Clearly, the development of aviation technology has been driven substantially by government defense interests since the Wrights. Next, I worked for Lockheed during the early years of the shuttle program, and I don’t need schooling on that. I’ve been a pilot since the 70’s.

        Atlanta’s airport system has been a huge boon to the city and its surrounds. This has been driven pretty much exclusively by airline traffic. It is an excellent example of private/government synergy the likes of which we see less often these days, it seems.

        As I thought I made clear, I’m not in with the Makers and Takers argument, and it should come as no surprise to anyone that I fully support private/public cooperation in science and technology development. The comment was a response to a perception, (perhaps unjustified), that this ex-navy pilot owes it all to Uncle Sam. He doesn’t.

      • Stephen says:

        My wife is from Georgia. And grew up mainly in and around Atlanta. We have a niece and her husband living in Douglasville a bedroom community of Atlanta. .They are white and upper middle class. My wife has relatives all over Georgia. I could easily see my niece and her husband voting for Ms. Clinton. Educated well paid White descendants of Dixiecrats in that state are voting different than their parents or grandparents did and do. As usual you make sense Lifer. I could see Georgia in a presidential year when a more diverse voter demography turn out tip blue.

      • EJ says:

        Apologies for asking what’s probably a very simple question, but I couldn’t find the answers elsewhere: What’s the significance of the “magic 75” percent?

      • johngalt says:

        No, he owes some of it to Uncle Sam (and to the taxpayers) for providing an opportunity much harder to find in the private sector.

        Atlanta’s airport got its start as a major hub thanks to it’s assignment as a refueling point on the Boston-New York-Washington-Miami airmail route. At the time this was being designed, Atlanta did not, in fact, have an airport, but it’s mayor connived, lied, and bribed his way, ultimately successfully, for an opposed city council to buy and build an airfield. His name, of course, was Hartsfield, and this bit of government scheming allowed Atlanta to win the route instead of Birmingham which was, at the time, a city of similar size and wealth. One of the first airlines to fly both passengers and mail through this airport was a little outfit now called Delta.

        50, I know you need no persuading about the value of government investment, but this lesson – and the enormous ROI it can have – has been lost on a large segment of the population and politicians who call themselves conservatives.

      • goplifer says:

        ***What’s the significance of the Magic 75 percent***

        For Republicans to hold Georgia in a Presidential election year we need overwhelming support from the relatively populous and fast-growing exurbs around Georgia. It is very similar to the situation the Democrats face in Chicago where anything less than about 90% black support in south and west side neighborhoods means losing the whole state.

        Based on the numbers, once you get below roughly 75% in Forsyth County, extrapolating that erosion of support across the other suburban counties – you lose the state’s electoral votes.

  10. tuttabellamia says:

    Interesting, the idea of of Mexico as an escape route for Hispanics of Mexican descent. I know that was the case during the Vietnam War for some of my aunts considering sending their first generation American sons to avoid the draft.

    I could see voter apathy for some in that community as a result of living so geographically and culturally close to one’s original roots so as not to feel completely part of the American civic and voting process, to still have one foot in Mexico, even when one is a US citizen.

    More like Mexico as a home-away-from home.

    • objv says:

      Tutt, I’ve found other immigrant groups to be apathetic as well. Perhaps immigrants are so involved with adjusting to life in this country that politics is last on their list. Also, strong emotional ties to the country of origin might play a part in delaying citizenship and getting involved in the political process.

  11. tuttabellamia says:

    I’m still not totally convinced about either side of the argument — voter suppression or voter fraud.

    The main problem is apathy, plain and simple, and not just in minority communities.

    How can you suppress a vote that is barely there to begin with? How can voter fraud be rampant when so few people show up to vote?

    • goplifer says:

      Closing polling stations, shrinking voting hours, harassing groups that register voters in minority areas – there is no credible connection between these policies and a policy goal of stopping voter fraud.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Point well taken, and I will take it into consideration. I am just not overly impressed with voter turnout, even without all those tactics you mention.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Still, even though minority turnout is low, the suppression of even one solitary vote is cause for alarm.

      • Turtles Run says:

        Tutt – Separate the two issues. Low voter turnout is a issue but the point here is that some groups are actively seeking to deny others of their right to vote. This is evident by the creating laws to make voting more difficult to vote. Laws that target the poor, minorities, and students disproportionately.

    • 1mime says:

      Tutt, when voting hours are shortened so that working people have very limited opportunity to vote (given jobs and family), and when this forces people to stand in line up to 10 hours (not just in Georgia), or force college students to go home to vote, removing the opportunity for them to vote on their campuses WITH legitimate voter registration cards, it is the worst form of voter suppression.

      Now, those who can vote and don’t, get no sympathy from me, nor does anyone who commits voter fraud, but, this is not the game Republicans are playing. This is dirty tricks on steroids.

      I am not having any part of defending this deliberate effort to steal elections by whatever nefarious means can be devised and gotten away with – such as in Georgia.

      Read this exhaustive study of voter fraud statistics on the national level and it might help you decide if GOP manipulation is as bad as Republicans represent. It’s not.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        I have never fallen for the story about rampant voter fraud by illegal aliens. I don’t think illegals have much interest in voting to begin with, and even if they did, they’re too scared to risk being caught and deported.

      • 1mime says:

        Tutt, there is no argument from me on undocumented people trying to vote. These people are afraid to get anywhere close to a situation that might expose them. But, when documented people, U.S. citizens are chronic victims of many different forms of voter suppression, that is wrong.

        I’m in agreement with mandatory voter registration once someone turns 18. Make voting easier, not harder. Australia fines its voters if they fail to vote. This voter harassment has got to stop. The Republican Party knows it has to pull every trick they can to peel off every vote they can to be competitive in ’16. Why don’t they simply win it on the strength of their candidates and platform? Why do these kinds of things? The reason: they have worked effectively for them, and that’s a horrible aspect of conservative politics.

        And, let me say this: Democrats have just as much culpability and responsibility to have a clean voting process. No legitimate voter should be harassed like this.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Mime, but is it necessarily Democrats who are targeted? There are a lot of poor, working Republicans who would also miss out on voting. There was a recent story about a lady in her 90s who had to go to the Supreme Court in her state because she had only an inscription in a family Bible to prove she was a US citizen, and she was a Republican.

      • 1mime says:

        The facts are that is by far a problem foisted on Democrats by Republicans. I’m sure if Lifer wants to weigh in he will verify that. Shortened hours and voting duration make it difficult (if not impossible) for all voters – not just Dems. The shortened hours have been orchestrated and strategically scheduled in counties where there is a tight race for the GOP. This is not an accident; it is planned and deliberate. Bully for the 90 year old for her efforts to prove her citizenship; shame on a process which makes this effort necessary.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Mime, I am totally opposed to voter registration, or voting itself, being mandatory. Voting is a right, a freedom to be exercised if one so chooses. I do agree that voting should be made easier, but forcing and/or fining people is not the solution.

        I DO support increasing OPPORTUNITIES to vote as much as possible — lengthening the voting period, creating new polling places, etc.

      • 1mime says:

        THAT would be a great start, Tutta, but don’t expect it from Republicans, especially in 2016.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Mime, the last thing we need is another reason for people to face fines and/or jail time. I know I complain about voter apathy and low turnouts, but it should never be considered a crime or even a misdemeanor.

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