Why Georgia doesn’t swing like Virginia and North Carolina…

Because White people here don’t vote for Democrats

take it Aaron Gould Sheinin*!

Now, just weeks from the Nov. 6 general election, Virginia and North Carolina are again in play while Georgia has been little more than a drive-through bank for both sides. To understand why, Georgia Democrats need look no further than their inability to attract white voters.

In Obama’s first bid for the White House he received just 23 percent of the white vote here, compared to 39 percent in Virginia and 34 percent in North Carolina, according to exit polls. As of last week, Obama had the support of just 22 percent of Georgia’s likely white voters, according to a poll conducted for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and released Sunday.

And why are our white people different? Well, the dominant theory is that North Carolina and Virginia have more educated white people.

“I’m pretty sure, despite Atlanta, that Virginia’s educational level among whites is higher than Georgia,” said Larry Sabato, a national political expert at the University of Virginia. “It’s not income so much as it is education. The higher the education level, the more likely they are to vote Democratic.”

Though Ed Lindsey wants you to know that white people, at least the ones in his district, are well educated and elect him anyway, if I follow correctly:

Georgia state Rep. Edward Lindsey, R-Atlanta, might not have his post if college degrees translated neatly to Democratic proclivities. “Under that theory, Buckhead should be rock solid Democratic,” said Lindsey, the House majority whip who represents Buckhead.

The second reason given is that Georgia is more conservative, which is sort of a circular argument so I will ignore it in favor of the third one:

But [Political Science Professor Kerwin] Swint said a third factor also explains the GOP’s current lock on the state: the organizational weakness of the state Democratic Party.

“The Democratic Party [in Georgia] has somewhat collapsed,” he said.

DuBose Porter, a former Democratic leader in the state House, said Swint’s verdict is undeniable. When Gov. Roy Barnes, a Democrat, lost his re-election bid in 2002, Porter said, “there was no infrastructure left,” because the governor’s office traditionally ran the state party.

“That’s something other states didn’t let happen,” said Porter, now a member of the Democratic National Committee.

A shot across the bow of the DPG! That’s the pile-on trifecta! Well done AGS!




  1. fishtail says:

    Love him or hate him, Bobby Kahn made the Georgia Democratic Party a lot more fun than it is today…..today Kahn is making millions buying TV and radio time for all kinds of politicians and special interest groups….Chris Huttman is his partner and pretty soon they may both switch to the GOP when they get tired of sending big checks to the IRS…..

  2. Scott65 says:

    It is puzzling (seriously) why we are so different from NC…VA I get. Northern VA is quite liberal, but NC is comparable. Funny thing is (and its not a positive in NCs favor) they are becoming more like us…ruled by good ol republican ideologues… ideology first, science and facts second. I can name numerous examples of that from both states if it is required

  3. ricstewart says:

    “Georgia: Our White People Are Different.”

    Where can I make submissions for new state mottoes?

    • Andre says:

      The whole of this article can be summed up as Georgia Democrats saying they can’t win because Georgia’s whites are more dumb than North Carolina and Virginia whites.

  4. The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

    “Why Georgia doesn’t “swing” like Virginia and North Carolina?…”

    …Because Virginia and North Carolina have open marriages and like “meeting” new people, unlike Georgia which has a much more traditional (read: boring) view of marriage?

    …Or maybe because Virginia and North Carolina are just simply more “endowed” than Georgia?

    Whatever the case, I’m sure there’s a really good reason that Georgia doesn’t “swing” like Virginia and North Carolina.

      • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

        No, seriously, Virginia and North Carolina really are more endowed than Georgia as Virginia had a Gross State Product of $424 billion in 2010 and North Carolina had a Gross State Product of $424.9 billion in 2010 compared to Georgia’s Gross State Product of $403.1 billion in 2010 while the University of Virginia has an endowment of $5.24 billion and the University of North Carolina has an endowment of $2.22 billion while the University of Georgia only has an endowment of $575.2 million comparatively, soooo…(awkward silence)

  5. John Konop says:

    I am from a swing state Ohio. The biggest difference I see is social issues. Georgia like some other southern states have high percentage of 1 issue socially conservative voters. The church network has a much louder voice than in Ohio.

    The negative is office holders can play the socially conservative card are not being held accountable on many other issues. I do think the GOP will have tough job maintaing control in the long run with this strategy. The demographics do not play out well in the next 10 to 20 years unless the GOP times the break right. This will be hard in some southern states with social conservatives in control of the local party.

    • wicker says:

      @John Konop:

      For the millionth time, why criticize the right over social issues and not the left? If the Democrats would quit talking about gay marriage, unrestricted abortion, secularism, multiculturalism, gun control, affirmative action, feminism etc. and stick to issues that matter to most Georgians, you wouldn’t have to wait 10 to 20 years. The Democrats would be competitive in Georgia TODAY. In Georgia, most voters, even many Republican voters, don’t vote so much as for the social conservatism of the Republicans as they do against the social liberalism of the Democrats. If that weren’t the case, then the lottery, Sunday sales and R-rated movies wouldn’t be much more popular in this state than the Democratic Party is.

      • One at a time:
        Gay Marriage – what Georgia Democrats are talking about gay marriage?
        Unrestricted abortion – again?
        Gun Control? Barnes passed a tough law that prevented Atlanta from cracking down on guns and Baker defended it in court both had A+ from NRA.
        Affirmative Action – again I don’t see much on Ga Dems on this
        Feminism – again?

        Secularism, multiculturalism – Democrats that I know are constantly talking about their faith, in fact Georgia’s Democratic party which is heavily African American compared to Democratic parties in the rest of the country probably is more grounded in faith than most. Muticulturalism – that’s just part of what our party stands for and we’re not going to compromise on it.

        I’m sorry but looking at this list it seems more like a Republican portrait of who the Democrats are without much grounding in reality on what they’re actually out there talking about. Now Democrats are in a bit of a box because on a lot of these issues staying quiet is their only option because they aren’t going to go out-Republican the Republicans on issues like abortion or gay marriage and so they don’t really have much of an option.

        But this would be like if I complained that the Republican party needed to stop talking about tax cuts for corporations, being anti-gay, being crazy pro-life etc. Most voters have moderate positions on these issues and just don’t want to talk about it. Right now the way the politics breaks down in Georgia the Republicans have minor (but winning) advantages on some of these wedge issues but I think a lot of Democrats realize they don’t gain much by talking about the Republican’s wedge issues.

        Georgia politics works in the following way pretty much at every level – the decision process goes 1. Is the incumbent doing an adequate job if yes re-elect if no then they’ll look at someone new. For Republicans, they haven’t really gotten a no yet on question 1 so there hasn’t been too much the Democrats can do, to be honest, the same way there wasn’t much the Republicans could do for 30 years in the last 1900’s. When they answer no to #1, then we’ll move on to #2 – is the alternative acceptable? We could have an election cycle or two where the answer to #1 is no but the answer to #2 is also no – only then will the voters even really care about the Democratic alternative.

        In the meantime, we’ll be quietly building the multicultural coalition that will eventually come to power in this state – pro-choice, pro-gay marriage, agnostic on religion (great if you’ve got it, fine if you don’t), probably still pretty pro-gun, likely replacing a class based view for straight up affirmative action.

        • wicker says:

          “In the meantime, we’ll be quietly building the multicultural coalition that will eventually come to power in this state – pro-choice, pro-gay marriage, agnostic”

          Excuse me, but isn’t that the opposite of what you said earlier? You guys are still pushing the social left agenda, and calling people who disagree with you “anti-gay, crazy pro-life.” That is why you are going to have to wait 20 years from now instead of getting back into power today with candidates like Zell Miller, Sam Nunn and Joe Frank Harris. You guys want to push your own social issues while demanding social libertarianism from the other side. That may work in New York (actually it doesn’t, as the socially liberal GOPers get hammered in New York, California, Massachusetts, and everywhere else the GOP has been encouraged to “go moderate on social issues” all the time) but not in Georgia.

        • David1502 says:

          You just confirmed the view of Democrats being militantly and enthusiastically pro abortion and pro gay marriage when your final paragraph is “we’ll be quietly building the multicultural coalition that will eventually come to power in this state – pro-choice, pro-gay marriage, agnostic on religion” This completely contradicts your first paragraph:
          “One at a time:
          Gay Marriage – what Georgia Democrats are talking about gay marriage?
          Unrestricted abortion – again?”

          The problem that the GA Democratic Party has is that its core is still liberal whites in Morningside, Decatur, VA Highlands, and Kirkwood and blacks and hispanics. The liberal whites in these intown neighborhoods have an agenda to try and recreate the high tax states they have left as many of them have moved here from the Northeast and won’t GA to adopt the failed policies of their former states.

          Chris, be honest, you would prefer to GA to become like CA, a state that is totally dominated by Democrats. This will mean the folowing:
          1. GA will no longer be a Right to Work State. This will mean that unions will run the state as they do in CA where presently over 200,000 former state employees receive over $100K a year in pensions and can retire as early as age 50 and recieve 90% of their salary.
          2. GA which presently balances its state budget will run deficits like CA which presently has a $16 Billion Deficit.
          3. As a result, of running high deficits to pay for union benefits, CA is now voting on a proposition to raise state income taxes which are now 9% on high earners.

          No thanks, I would prefer GA with its balanced budget, Right to Work Laws whcih prevent union control and a pro growth economy. If I want CA, I will fly there for a vacation!

          • wicker says:


            Let’s not go too far here. There are plenty of Democratic states that are prosperous and well run … indeed better off than our own state. Washington and Oregon are examples, and so are several states in the midwest and northeast. I do agree that people who move here want to recreate what they left. But A) a lot of those people are helping drive our economy. They are highly educated professionals and/or business owners. Their opinions should not be totally discounted. And B) they want Georgia to be more like the places that they left and less like South Carolina, Mississippi and Louisiana. There is something to be said for that, especially when areas like education, health care and job growth are to be considered. A lot of us down south only look at the dysfunction in the northeast and far west while ignoring the success stories. The intown liberals aren’t trying to recreate the failures, but the successes that helped them become the very highly educated professionals that we had to import to this state in the first place because we aren’t producing enough of our own. Keep that in mind. Georgia companies had to go out and hire people from Boston, New York, Chicago, Philadelphia etc. to do the work that people from Macon, Columbus, Valdosta, Augusta etc. can’t do because their schools – or at least the schools that serve middle and upper class populations and in particular their top colleges and universities – are better than ours. Our importing people like that have as much to do with our pro-growth economy as our right to work laws do, and we need to create an environment where we either A) import even more of those people (which does include public transportation!) or B) produce more of our own. Neither A) or B) can be done with current Georgia Republican ideology.

            • David1502 says:

              First of all, not all of those who have moved here from outside the south are Democarts and many of the educated professionals moved to GA because they find GA to be a more business friendly environment and they prefer to keep more of their income by paying less in state income taxes. So, I am not saying that I have opposition to people moving here from other states. My opposition is to the efforts to “recreate Brooklyn and Chicago” political culture.

              Second, it is also obvious that no one will intentionally try to recreate the failure that is the modern state of California. However, it is inevitable if you have a combination of strong public sector unions who control the legislature and a heavy influx of poor immigrants demanding social services, the net result will be an increasing demand for tax revenue to support an increasing welfare state. This is the inevtiable result of today’s Demcoratic Party rule. Even with this deficit, CA is now beginning a multi billion $ high speed rail project in the middle of the Central Valley where estimates are it will never break even.

              Wicker, how do you explain the $16 Billion defict that CA now faces? Also, look at the state of Illinois which is in an even worse economic condition than CA. The states of Washington and Oregon which you mention, have completely different demographics – they are both probably 75% + white, so it is not a fair comparison. Also, Washington state has not been histroically liberal as it doesn’t have a state income tax. However, if it becomes like CA demographically, it too, will face the same challenges.

              The other states which you mention in the Northeast and Midwest as being preferable to GA, why are they loosing Congressional Districts to states in the south and Texas if they are such attractive places to live? New York state loses several Congressional Districts after each Census. PA lost two seats and MA lost one. Look at which states were the gainers: SC (1), FL (2) (and has no income tax), GA (1), UT (1) and TX (2) (and has no income tax).

              People vote with their feet. My concern is that we can see what other states have done, why do we need to recreate it here? If a child goes to a public school in the northern suburbs of Atlanta and applies themselves, they are not at a disadvantage compared to the other parts of the country. UGA has an average SAT that is nothing to be ashamed of.

              • wicker says:

                ” So, I am not saying that I have opposition to people moving here from other states.”

                Never said you did.

                “My opposition is to the efforts to “recreate Brooklyn and Chicago” political culture.”

                Yet Wall Street is in New York City and the main commodities exchange is in Chicago. Silicon Valley is in California, and there is a similar tech corridor in New Jersey. Boeing, Microsoft, Apple … all on the west coast. The big banks? The northeast. There is a reason why all the movers and shakers go there and mostly stay there, while the only ones that trickle down here are those looking to pay less taxes.

                “If a child goes to a public school in the northern suburbs of Atlanta and applies themselves, they are not at a disadvantage compared to the other parts of the country.”

                That just isn’t true. Look at the results of the National Merit test. Their scores blow ours out of the water.

                “UGA has an average SAT that is nothing to be ashamed of.”

                Yeah. Going to UGA will get you the same opportunities as going to UCLA, Cal, Syracuse, etc. The truth is that UGA is only the #5 school academically in the SEC (behind Vanderbilt, Florida, Texas A&M, Missouri) and the gap between it and #6 (Auburn) isn’t that big.

                You can be center-left without being California. (Not that I want Georgia to be center-left mind you. Instead, the northeasterners that are trying to work to change Georgia are.)

                You listed the states that have no income tax. Hmmm … we are getting the people who are avoiding taxes. Which means that we still need to import talent. We are not growing our own talent, and there is a reason for that. That’s why Georgia Tech admits so many out of state students. Not enough in state students, including those from north Atlanta and the suburbs, meet their academic requirements. So, kids who can’t get into MIT, Yale, Rutgers and places like that go to Georgia Tech for 4 years, get their degrees and leave. Or people who have used up their most productive years, their 20s and 30s, working on Wall Street or in Silicon Valley, decide to move here to save on taxes when they are close to retirement. They built companies and industries while up north or out west, and they move here when it is time to settle down. This helps us how?

                Another thing … yes, I support Boeing moving their operations from the left coast to South Carolina to avoid union nonsense. But … why can’t South Carolina produce companies like Boeing, Microsoft, IBM, etc. in the first place? Instead of needing companies to move here for lower taxes, why can’t we create companies like that here in the first place? And it isn’t as if it is because of the need of some natural resources. I am not asking why all the coal and steel companies are in Appalachia and the oil and natural gas ones are in the midwest. Silicon Valley didn’t happen in Georgia because Georgia didn’t produce the engineers and scientists. Wall Street didn’t happen in Georgia because Georgia doesn’t produce the banking and finance people. Other states do, and that Georgia can only benefit from the small percentage of the talent produced by other states that is trying to get out of the rat race is not to our benefit.

                We don’t need to become California or Detroit to start growing our own companies and talent. But we do need to be less like the Georgia that we are now.

                • David1502 says:

                  I agree with a good part of what you are saying. I went to Vanderbilt when it was 60% southern and 40% northerners and I have heard that the % of those outside of the south has gone up since I was there. So, I realize that universities in the south survive by attracting students from the north and west. However, because of my experience, I believe it is possible for students in the south to excel if they so choose. Many here just don’t apply themselves. When I see some students from public schools getting into prestigious schools, the others don’t have an excuse.

                  As far as Wall Street, that developed back in the 1800’s when the South was dominated by plantations and Wall Street came about by selling cotton futures. In fact, Lehman Brothers began in Montgomery, AL where the Lehmans sold to cotton famers and became cotton brokers. Silicon Valley actually should have been developed in Illinois as the silicon wafer was developed at the University of Illinois. However, if we fast forward, the high cost of living and doing business in CA is causing many companies there to look at growing their businesses elsewhere. In fact, John Cisco has said that Cisco will not hire another employee in CA. In the futue, we will see more of the electronics industry growing in places like Austin, TX and RTP, NC because they have the academic infrastructure and lower cost of living as well.

                  As far as the future of GA becoming like Washington state or MA, that isn’t likely because our history and our demographics are different and as result, we are more likely to become like CA where a large population of the poor demands increasing services from the state. The whole foundation for the hope that the Democratic Party will become dominant in this state again is based on an increase in the number of minorities – not that the party thinks they can persuade whites to vote for them. Also, those northern transplants who have had aspirations that a million more will move down from the NE to Atlanta in the next five years, that doesn’t seem likely as Atlanta is growing at half the rate it was before the stock market crash and with a higher unemployment rate than the national average, the area is not an attractive destination. With the recent failure of TSPLOST, it is unlikely we will see an increase in mass transit which would have been attractive to those from the NE.

                  The State of GA has not been aggressive enough in economic development as compared to neighboring states – look at AL which has Mercedes Benz, Honda, Hyundai, and Toyota with plants in the state or look at TN which is now the number one state for the automotive industry. The reason GA hasn’t been aggressive is because for so long, Atlanta was booming – remember when UPS and other companies were moving here with little in the way of incentives. Those days are over. GA and Metro Atlanta are going to have to take a realistic look at themselves and step up their game. Why doesn’t the state or metro Atlanta area have a Research Park like NC’s RTP or Huntsville, AL’s Research Park?

                  In a nutshell, my point is the reason GA hasn’t been as economically successful as it could be is not because it wasn’t ruled by northern liberal Democrats, rather it has rested on its laurels and now needs to try to compete with Austin and RTP, etc. The fastest growing areas in the country are in Texas , a state run by Republicans. The airport has taken us so far, but it’s not enough.

                  • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

                    Great points as the only thing that the State of Georgia has really been truly aggressive at over the last several years is being increasingly bewildered, dazed and confused.

                    “However, because of my experience, I believe it is possible for students in the south to excel if they so choose. Many here just don’t apply themselves.”

                    Exhibit A: The Georgia Legislature whose members’ brains throb with intense pain whenever the seemingly simple concept of applying basic human thought to problem solving is involved (and by “brains”, I mean the ones on their shoulders, not the ones in their pants that throb whenever female lobbyists and escorts are involved).

                    “With the recent failure of TSPLOST, it is unlikely we will see an increase in mass transit which would have been attractive to those from the NE.”

                    TSPLOST wasn’t to increase mass transit, TSPLOST was a blatant giveaway to cronies and a bad attempt to prop up what little remains of an almost dead MARTA extremely poorly disguised as a lazy and convoluted transportation plan.

        • Ken says:


          I would point out that there is evidence that some Democrats in Georgia are tone deaf on religion. Remember Roy Barnes’s first ad?

          The ad was shot in a church building, complete with pews. It made sense to Barnes; I suppose because he was asking “forgiveness”. But he didn’t.

          Instead of apologizing for being an arrogant pr*ck, Barnes “apologized” for Georgians failing to understand his brilliance. The real problem is that Barnes obviously didn’t understand that to be forgiven for one’s sins (I’m not the one who told him to shoot the ad in a church), first one has to confess those sins. He didn’t.

          Bottom line? Shooting that ad made Barnes appear even more arrogant and using a church to do so amplified the problem. Like I said, “tone deaf”.

          As an aside, the failure to confess one’s wrongs specifically is a problem a lot of politicians have, not just Democrats. If you want to see who’s sincere, see who freely and unambiguously admits his wrongs without euphemism or excuse. He is likely not taking political strategy into account.

  6. wicker says:


    Please end this “ideology first, science and facts second” nonsense. If liberalism was based on facts and not ideology, it would, you know, actually work. So, your side plays the “facts and science” card in order to compensate for the fact that “scientific factually based” liberal policies don’t work. Didn’t work in the Soviet Union. Doesn’t work in Cuba. Doesn’t work at the EU. Doesn’t work for the UN. Doesn’t work in urban America. Now don’t get me wrong, some individual liberal public policy items work. Child labor laws and worker safety laws … great idea. But liberalism as a whole? Doesn’t work. Never has. Want to see failed liberalism at work? Go to your typical inner city school. Lack of adequate funding isn’t the reason, because schools in Iowa get much less money per student than schools in Detroit, Baltimore etc. That is just one example. So, the typical way to avoid talking about the failure of liberalism is to instead shift the discussion to how anti-science, anti-fact etc. non-liberals are for refusing to believe in liberalism.

    About facts … take the abortion issue. Scientists have proven that fetuses dream, learn, develop personalities, and are affected by the the mental state of the mother (stressed out mother = bad) in ways that impact IQ. There was a study on this very topic by the Georgia State University psychology department a few years ago. Have we allowed this science to impact the abortion debate? Nope. Life begins at birth. Having any other position is anti-science and anti-woman. Based on what scientific facts? Those produced by women’s studies, of course. Certainly not medically proven science on when most fetuses can be viable apart from the mother (basically the third trimester, which is why third trimester abortions are basically illegal pretty much everywhere else in the world but America. You see, we only use internationalism on issues like environmentalism, economic policy and juvenile justice, not abortion. Because it is pro-science when we follow the international consensus on those issues, but anti-science when we do so on others).

    That is just one example. There are many, many others.

    • wicker says:

      No responses yet. Gee, wonder why? Must be the science. Boo Georgia State University psychology department for going off the reservation by pursuing actual science! Boo! (And boo Georgia Tech too for helping prove that global warming stopped 16 years ago. Don’t these people know that it isn’t science unless it conforms to our agenda?)

    • sunkawakan says:

      Oh, my. And wicker, at what point was the study showing that a fetus dreams? I seem to recall one study showed a fetus showed REM sleep at about 7 months, which is third trimester. Roe v. Wade…read what it says about viability and the state’s interest in protecting human life and regulating abortion.

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