Are Republicans Helping Georgia Turn Blue?

February 25, 2014 11:00 am

by Tim Darnell · 64 comments

Rejecting an increase in the minimum wage. Abolishing the Department of Education. Killing Common Core … even though it was concocted by a group of their own governors.

All of these opinions were espoused Saturday night during the latest GOP Senate debate. But if Republicans plan on keeping Saxby Chambliss’ seat in the “red,” they will have trouble this fall with positions like those.

That’s because a recent demographic trend highlighted by TheHill.com shows Georgia is already “blue.”

Georgia’s population grew by 1.5 million between 2000 and 2010. Of those, 81 percent — 1.2 million — were nonwhite. That brought down Georgia’s percentage of whites from 63 percent in 2000 to 59.7 percent in 2010. And that number was down to 55.1 percent in 2012, according to new estimates.

The only thing that kept Barack Obama from winning Georgia in 2008 and 2012 is the fact that these Democratic core constituencies have very low voting rates. Metro Atlanta has about 600,000 unregistered African-Americans. Register and turn out half of those, and Obama would have won Georgia in both elections.

Throw in the number of Latinos (doubling over the past decade to about 9.2 percent of the state’s population), young voters, single women, Asians and other core Democratic groups, and the most bedrock Republican can see where this is heading.

Now, you can certainly make the claim that if a candidate like Barack Obama can’t get these groups registered and voting, then no one can. But in Georgia there have been no legitimate, big-name candidates, at the statewide level, around whom for Democrats to rally.

That has changed, with two of the biggest names in Georgia political history — Nunn and Carter — both on the ballot in November in statewide races.

Certainly, candidates must play to their base in the primary, which means positions like abolishing the Department of Education (that one, from Paul Broun) will play well among conservatives.

But Georgia GOP leaders and candidates must begin asking themselves: are hard-right stances, like continuing to oppose an increase in the minimum wage (is $7.25 to 10 bucks really a big deal?) worth losing Georgia … perhaps permanently?

{ 64 comments… read them below or add one }

Harry February 25, 2014 at 11:21 am

Charlie, don’t you feel you’ve gone a little too far in the direction of Democratic front pagers?

swaldo February 25, 2014 at 11:27 am

Leaders LEAD. Conservatives should stand by there principles and explain why these principles make sense for all Georgians/Americans. Raising minimum wage…why are conservatives opposed to it? Because they WANT to hurt people? Ridiculous. It’s economics. Clearly the motivation for a Democrat/Liberal to raise the minimum wage is BUY VOTES and FUND UNIONS. I’d rather lose on principle than win on a the day’s poll. The truth and principles will always win out. Obamacare demonstrates how a know-nothing, pie in the sky, liberal, running for 7th grade class president can destroy an economy– personally and nationally.

Posner February 25, 2014 at 11:47 am

“Clearly the motivation for a Democrat/Liberal to raise the minimum wage is BUY VOTES and FUND UNIONS.” – This actually made me laugh, audibly.

If you want to stick with economic arguments against the minimum wage, fine. But you clearly know nothing about unions if you think that raising the minimum wage would somehow “fund unions.” (hint: nobody in a union makes minimum wage)

Also, buying votes? I assume that’s a joke too.

BlueRidgeRick February 25, 2014 at 12:02 pm

Many union contracts are based on the minimum wage. If the minimum goes up so does their pay.

seenbetrdayz February 25, 2014 at 12:11 pm

I agree with you on the unions bit, ’cause they’re definitely making better than minimum wage, but if you think politicians don’t practice vote-buying then I’ve got some friends in Colorado who would love to sample whatever you’re smoking.

Raising the minimum wage goes over really well in the short term, and it would help a good many elected officials get re-elected, but a few years down the road you’ve got to start explaining to people why the price of milk doubled. By that time, the politicians who first voted for the wage increase are ready to retire and leave someone else to clean up the mess.

Posner February 25, 2014 at 1:22 pm

“if you think politicians don’t practice vote-buying [...]”

Raising the minimum wage is not “vote buying,” as the comment I was responding to implied.

Harry February 25, 2014 at 1:44 pm

Many union contracts are based on the minimum wage. If the minimum goes up so does their pay. This is absolutely true. Many if not most labor contracts are based off a multiple of minimum wage or a fixed number in excess of minimum wage.

The Last Democrat in Georgia February 25, 2014 at 11:35 am

A blue Georgia?

…Not as long as the national Democratic party keeps putting forth uber-liberal candidates like Barack Obama and Hillery Clinton (…and Michelle Nunn and Jason Carter).

…But Georgia Democrats can dream, though.

Dream on, Georgia Democrats, dream on…

notsplost February 25, 2014 at 11:37 am

Sigh. Well as someone who has gone on the record as hoping that the GOP as we know it ends, and is replaced with something more libertarian and freedom-oriented, I probably ought to bite my tongue here.

But I will say this, if the Republicans can’t make a coherent argument on how government mandating a higher minimum wage will hurt minorities and the poor the most (hint – it’s just going to be a net zero, with those who keep their jobs winning and those who don’t losing), then perhaps they don’t deserve to win elections.

And since when is it a bad thing to reserve the right to change your mind (wrt Common Core?)

Even NY State teachers (not exactly the type to hang out with Pat Buchanan) are having second thoughts about it.

Posner February 25, 2014 at 11:50 am

“And since when is it a bad thing to reserve the right to change your mind (wrt Common Core?)”

What if you “change your mind” because Common Core is a set of federal standards being forced down our throats by the Obama Administration?

It’s ok though, continue with the “Congress should repeal Common Core” line… Never let facts get in the way of a good narrative!!

griftdrift February 25, 2014 at 11:54 am

There’s politics. There’s governing. There’s reality. Those who fail to understand the differences in the three are doomed to failure on the first.

John Sanders February 25, 2014 at 12:03 pm

Georgia can only turn blue this year if the Republicans beat themselves. Meaning if the GOP nominates an evolution denying, legitimate rape supporting candidate for Senate and if the national Republicans are doing something as crazy as holding the financial markets hostage over the debt ceiling, Georgia can turn blue.

I see Kingston as unbeatable and Perdue–although inexperienced–as almost unbeatable. So if the GOP has a choice on Primary Day (and more than likely run-off day), do we want to win or not?

Jon Lester February 25, 2014 at 12:58 pm

If no one else forces the foreign policy issue in the Senate race, I will, to the extent that I can. Nunn has already shown, with regard to intervening in Syria, that she’ll go along with any dumb idea the DNC and SDCC leadership have. Consider also that recent events in Ukraine have shown that neocon influence at the State Department is alive and well, which would suggest that Hillary didn’t change a thing, and may well be PNAC’s preferred candidate in 2016. This means we could easily see party-line votes supporting an interventionist president in matters that will invite much worse disaster than we’ve experienced in the past decade.

This assumes, of course, that the GOP nominee will be smart enough to get with the times and stand against new adventurism, and I don’t know that any of them would be. Broun might be consistent about it, but he has a few other offsetting factors working against him, of course. Kingston might could pull it off, but with his wavering on Syria last summer, he didn’t exactly come across as principled.

notsplost February 25, 2014 at 1:08 pm

It’s kind of ironic that you deride in your caricature of a supposedly un-electable, out of the mainstream GOP candidate someone who refuses to support a scientific theory that has been generally accepted due to supporting factual evidence, yet also deride as “crazy” those refusing to raise the debt ceiling. This is despite the fact that basic middle school mathematics that teach the laws of exponents leads to the inevitable conclusion that our current debt trajectory is unsustainable.

So which is “crazier”: being skeptical of evolution, which is after all still just a theory albeit a widely accepted one, or refusing to accept settled mathematics discovered by a French mathematician in the 15th century?

Posner February 25, 2014 at 1:16 pm

You do realize that the “debt ceiling” and “our current debt” are two entirely different things right?

Also, our debt, while increasing, is not increasing “exponentially.”

In order for math to be useful, you have to start with the right numbers.

swaldo February 25, 2014 at 2:55 pm
Posner February 25, 2014 at 5:06 pm

I can post links too!!!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Federal_Debt_Held_by_the_Public_1790-2013.png

Wait, there look to be several “exponential curves” in that graph…

Also, interest on the debt isn’t compounding. But nice try…

(technically, U.S. savings bonds are compounding, but that’s not where our “national debt” comes from).

notsplost February 25, 2014 at 6:27 pm

Nice try, but if you took the time to read the legend in the CBO document that graph refers to, the units of the y-axis are denoted in percentage of GDP, not in absolute terms.

Since GDP is also rising that make your attempt a fail.

You either just experienced a Rick Perry “oops” moment, or are deliberately trying to mislead us.

Dave Bearse February 25, 2014 at 8:33 pm

Absolute debt is a better measure of the national debt than %GDP? Make your argument a rock-crusher by eliminating adjustment for inflation.

notsplost February 25, 2014 at 9:11 pm

That’s a different argument and you probably are smart enough to know better.

I was pointing out that using a graph with the y-axis scaled as a percentage of GDP doesn’t work to see exponential growth.

Look at it another way, if you plotted the national debt on a time series with a log scale, you would also not see the curve rising so dramatically. Yet the exponential growth is still there. It’s just hidden by the scaling.

Posner February 26, 2014 at 10:03 am

Numbers without context are meaningless. The number of the national debt, without appropriate context (such as %GDP) is absolutely meaningless. There is a reason economists don’t care about the absolute number, only the %GDP number.

Literally the only use for the absolute debt number (alone) is to be misleading.

notsplost February 26, 2014 at 10:20 am

But if you can’t even get the math right, you invalidate your arguments.

GDP cannot rise exponentially either, due to real world constraints on resources and labor. So normalizing the debt by GDP is a useful tool but it doesn’t serve every purpose. Thoughtful economists look at all different kinds of measures on debt sustainability, such as the percentage of tax revenue consumed by interest payments on the debt, to give just one example.

BTW if you read the CBO report that is the source of the image you linked to earlier in the thread, you will see that they make the same argument as I do that our medium term debt trajectory is unsustainable. Something has to give in the next 10 – 20 years -either we raise taxes, cut spending or face another crisis that will probably make 2008 look like a trial run.

Posner February 25, 2014 at 5:20 pm

Although, compound interest on sovereign debt would be extremely effective in curbing any and all sovereign debt. Or it would absolutely destroy the entire world’s economy. Either way, a pretty hilarious idea.

DavidTC February 26, 2014 at 3:35 pm

yet also deride as “crazy” those refusing to raise the debt ceiling. This is despite the fact that basic middle school mathematics that teach the laws of exponents leads to the inevitable conclusion that our current debt trajectory is unsustainable.

Then perhaps the people who write the budget should budget less spending. Instead of budgeting the same amount and then blowing off making the payments.

Remember, let’s run this country like a business. And the way we cut spending in a business is to, one random day, immediately stop paying what we owe suppliers and employees and the electric company and the rent. (No, wait! If we manage it correctly, we’ll still have enough money coming in to keep paying the rent! Whew, dodged a bullet there.)

And before you whine that the Democrats won’t do that…firstly, the Democrats have rather seriously cut back on spending ever since Republicans decided it was now important, aka, the second their guy left the presidency. The problems with the deficit are almost entirely due to _revenue_ reductions due to recession, not because of crazy spending.

Secondly, if you want to cut the budget, you have to *propose* budget cuts…the Democrats will only fall for the ‘propose budget cuts the Republicans demand, be attacked for said cuts by Republicans’ trick five or six times before they wise up.

Jon Lester February 25, 2014 at 1:01 pm

Meanwhile, Georgia Libertarians aren’t even trying.

griftdrift February 25, 2014 at 1:31 pm

See my previous comment

Chris Huttman February 25, 2014 at 1:04 pm

The racial demographic changes are enough to get us close. I would argue close enough to 1 or 2 screwup territory (with a screwup being something like ice storm response or nominating Paul Broun). One potential assist could come from another demographic change – age – Georgia is one of the youngest states population wise. Bills like Sam Teasley’s have the potential to drive a wedge between white voters over/under a certain age in a way that we (Dems) may not be able to do on our own.

Yes – I know that bill is shamefully also co-sponsored by some Democrats. They are our version of Sam Moore – not representative of what we stand for as a whole. The difference is that our party leaders will have no trouble standing against that – whereas Arizona’s governor won’t even say whether she’ll sign or veto that state’s version.

SmyrnaModerate February 25, 2014 at 1:05 pm

Georgia is full of “inelastic” voters, whites vote republican and nonwhites vote democratic. There are an extremely small number of voters who are open to voting for either party. It’s why Georgia gave the republican presidential nominee his second smallest margin of victory in 2008 and 2012 yet no one considered georgia a swing state in those years and Obama did not actively campaign here.

What is getting people interested this year is that the sliver of voters who are open to voting democratic are white suburban women (see why North Carolina and Florida are now very competitive in national and state races). No one can say with a straight face that georgia public schools are better now than they were 4 years ago. The state has cut off funding to local schools to the point they can’t make payroll ( that’s in essence what furlough days mean) add into the mix a gingery or a broun and their already “eclectic” views on women’s issues and there might be blood in the water. Nominate someone more moderate and sane acting and the republican wins and we move into the 2016 to see if that’s when the dam breaks.

Chris Huttman February 25, 2014 at 1:15 pm

I would say the problem for Democrats is that there are a lot of “independent” white voters in the state (that’s what they call themselves) that are actually socially liberal-moderates who because of race/economics vote straight Republican.

In other words – they’re for things like gay marriage (or at the very least they don’t care about them) but that doesn’t translate into how they vote. Republicans can lose them one of two ways – they can get so bad on social issues that they actually begin to care about one of those issues more than the economic issues, or they can screw up the economic issues bad enough that they no longer think the Republicans are actually better on them.

It should be enough to just show these voters a chart of federal/state/local education funding levels and how they have changed over the last 12 years and also how their state taxes have not gone down and that should be it. But it isn’t – it’s complicated. They know it’s a problem but they haven’t shown yet that they trust Democrats enough to turn it over. But you take that, you add in a little state health plan anger, you add in some screwing up a snow/ice response, maybe one more thing…you might get their attention.

griftdrift February 25, 2014 at 1:41 pm

I resemble that remark

DavidTC February 26, 2014 at 3:47 pm

In other words – they’re for things like gay marriage (or at the very least they don’t care about them) but that doesn’t translate into how they vote. Republicans can lose them one of two ways – they can get so bad on social issues that they actually begin to care about one of those issues more than the economic issues, or they can screw up the economic issues bad enough that they no longer think the Republicans are actually better on them.

I agree, but it’s not just social issues they can get really bad on. (Although it looks like they’re making an attempt for that.) But there’s another place they’ve already screwed up:

Healthcare. Specifically, the lack of Medicaid expansion.

At some point, poor rural white voters are going to start figuring out that they should have been eligible for Medicaid, and that Georgia is literally refusing free money to pay for their health insurance.

Chris Huttman February 26, 2014 at 5:32 pm

Right now I think the hatred and fear of Obamacare in general is overwhelming that, I think the way you get them on Medicaid expansion is that you explain that under Tom Price’s plan they get $2,000 credit to buy their own insurance instead and then you point out the out of pocket expenses and deductibles that would be present on one of those plans (if you could even get one for $2,000) and how Medicaid is essentially no deductible.

DavidTC February 27, 2014 at 3:29 pm

Right now I think the hatred and fear of Obamacare in general is overwhelming that

Yeah, but the thing is, you can talk about the lack of Medicaid expansion without specifically mentioning ‘Obamacare’. They’ve long understand that Medicaid/Peachcare is insurance for poor people, and they’ll understand that Georgia had the option of expanding it at no cost for the first three years, and then trivial cost after that.

‘Obamacare’ may be some disliked thing, but Medicaid/Peachcare is what a random guy working minimum wage and barely keeping afloat, without insurance, already knows that the poor single mother down the street is on, and he wonders why the hell *he* can’t get on it…it’s not like he make much more money than she does. When he learns he *could have* gotten it if Georgia had just taken some federal money…

‘Obamacare’ has been slandered do much people dislike it for no reason, but almost every single aspect of it is something people like. (Except the mandate.) Republicans can try to dirty the Medicaid expansion by talking about how it’s part of ‘Obamacare’, but the problem is that will backfire, and instead of that making people think less of the Medicaid expansion, it will make people think better of ‘Obamacare’. As generally happens when *any* aspect of the ACA is actually explained to people. (Again, except the mandate.)

And if they’re really really opposed to Medicaid/Peachcare itself (Which seems unlikely, but whatever.), you can point to Arkansas. And explain that Georgia, if it had felt like, instead could have taken that federal money and bought insurance on the private market for the poor.

Charlie February 27, 2014 at 3:51 pm

“Trivial”?

I do not think that word means what you think it means.

DavidTC February 27, 2014 at 5:04 pm

It would be no more than $450 million a year under the most absurd estimation. Aka, 2.3% of the budget. It would, in reality, probably be about half that.

Let’s not forget the federal government used to pay $270 million a year to our ‘disproportional share hospitals’ to cover uninsured people. That goes away under current law.

Now, the Fed has currently slowed the reductions in that (And even with that slowing down, we’ve already lost four hospitals), but at some point the Feds will get tired of us demanding money to cover uninsured people instead of just *insuring* people. And the DSH money will dry up entirely.

So either we’re going to have to cover *that* at some point, or keep losing hospitals. (We already cover another $17 million.)

And that, *alone*, is probably more than what our share of Medicaid expansion would cost. Which makes sense, because uninsured people are *really expensive* to provide health care for.

Here’s the real fact: At some point, we will expand Medicaid. Period. It will happen.

As we’re currently throwing away free money, the only way putting it off will save any money will be if avoiding it during the ‘free’ years was counterbalanced by enough ‘not having to pay 10%’ years.

I.e., the only way not expanding at the start makes sense is if we actually think we’re going to hold out expanding for *30 years*. 30 years of continuing to have uninsured people. (And that math is slightly incorrect…the first year or two of providing insurance is more expensive, as people adjust to having real health care instead of going to the ER at the last minute(1), and existing medical problems get taken care of. If the first year costs 130% of other years, then it’s more like 35 years or whatever. It is very much in Georgia’s interest for the federal government to pay for those first few years.)

That is just insane. There’s no way that will happen. If I had somewhere to bet on this, I would bet at 100:1 against that, any amount. I’d be astonished if we make it *five* years.

The real joke, of course, is that thanks to healthcare.gov, there are a bunch of people who were *already* eligible for Medicaid but did not know of it, discovering that fact at healthcare.gov and getting on it…and the Federal government is only paying ~57% of *that*. Doh. Expect our Medicaid spending to start expanding now.

1) There was that famous study that showed giving a random selection of the poor health insurance didn’t reduce ER visits or costs very much…at least, it turns out, it doesn’t really reduce it *the first year*. It reduces costs just fine as time goes on, it’s just that people who’ve never had insurance still do their health care in the same bad way of ‘Not getting heath care until it’s too late, not having a primary doctor, and misusing the ER’ until they learn otherwise. (They usually learn because their insurance gets pissy at them and won’t pay for that silliness.)

ItsAllGood February 25, 2014 at 3:17 pm

SmyrnaModerate
I absolutely agree with you here. Education will be the election issue in the Gov race here in Cobb. We all know our property values are dependent on this school system. It is the reason many of us chose to live here in the first place. It certainly was NOT for the horrendous traffic or mediocre restaurants . I’ve been a lifelong republican , but Deal won’t be getting my vote.

Charles4Truth February 25, 2014 at 1:16 pm

Tim,
Why are you for raising the minimum wage? —–Is it just to get a vote?

It sounds like you are saying (If we can’t beat the Dems, we will join them in their race bating, bribery and distortion)

Stop distorting the truth — McCain and Romney are not right wingers. If anything they are the Rino’s you are seeking.
Maybe it is you that has become Blue in your ideology.

griftdrift February 25, 2014 at 1:42 pm

So, RINO -> Liberal is a lateral move? That certainly opens up possibilities.

Three Jack February 25, 2014 at 1:19 pm

If indeed GA is starting to swing back toward blue status, I would argue it has far more to do with GOP lack of action versus demographic changes.

Since the GOP assumed full leadership of government in GA, what has changed from the 100+ years of dem control? Nothing. We still lag in education, traffic sucks worse, tax system has not been reformed, ethics are still lacking and party leadership continues to be more worried about appeasing certain voting blocs than addressing real issues. If anything, the GOP is running off its core base of white male voters who supported the party because the state needed a new direction.

Worrying about DC created emergenices like the BS debate about minimum wage will do nothing to keep GA red. Address the issues on which the GOP took control about 10 years ago and GA will be red for at least the next generation.

saltycracker February 25, 2014 at 1:35 pm

+1 on reality and results

John Sanders February 26, 2014 at 1:46 pm

ethics are “lacking”? I would call a Governor that fires two of the lead ethics investigators investigating him a travesty and say ethics are more than lacking.

John Sanders February 26, 2014 at 1:47 pm

but otherwise agree with the post

saltycracker February 25, 2014 at 1:26 pm

The demographic shift is going to those that believe we will be sustained through a government that provides for us best through public services and politically connected business oligarchs.

Democrats focus on the former and Republicans on the latter, some do both and all do quid pro quo.

Noway February 25, 2014 at 1:55 pm

Those who say GA will turn blue are correct It’sjust a question of when. And vote buying is as old a politics. What do you think SS, medicare/caid, prescrip drug benefits are? LBJ theorized that Medicare would have poor folks voting for Dems for the next “200″ years. He’s right and disgustingly so. Everyone lovesssss Santy Claus!!!!
Anyone who proposes fiscal responsibily will lose

taylor February 25, 2014 at 11:02 pm

Why does health insurance for those over age 65 result in votes from poor people?

And LBJ’s quote about 200 years of Democratic votes did not exactly refer to “poor people.” It was a derogatory term for a race of Americans, who are not all poor. Also, he wasn’t referring to Medicare.

Bloodhound February 25, 2014 at 2:15 pm

This is an editorial from the Onion, right?

northside101 February 25, 2014 at 2:22 pm

Abolishing the US Department of Education is a radical idea? Hmmm—the country managed to get along without a separate dept on that til Jimmy Carter for about 190 years (reportedly Carter created a separate entity for that as payoff for support from teachers in his 1976 presidential bid). The U.S. Constitution doesn’t make any specific provision for federal involvement in education anyway—that has been primarily a state and local function for generations. As for Common Core, whether good or not (I’m not really sure which it is for me), that is or should be a state issue.

As for the minimum wage, only a low percentage of households make that. No doubt a lot of teens make that, working summer jobs.

In any event, Republicans have the advantage in statewide elections because Democrats fare poorly in rural/smaller city Georgia. Obama is a tough sell if you are a Democrat in Dalton, Dahlonega, Jesup, Vidalia and other rural/small town parts of Georgia. Just ask Roy Barnes what happens when you go “national” as a Democrat in this state…

griftdrift February 25, 2014 at 2:39 pm

I hate to break it to ya but Roy Barnes didn’t lose because he lost Coolidge.

northside101 February 25, 2014 at 3:12 pm

Well, grift, I don’t know about Coolidge, but I think by any objective standard, the non-metro Atlanta vote was pretty decisive in electing Perdue in 2002:

Perdue Margin in Metro Atlanta (then 20 counties): -7,914 votes (48% Perdue, 49% Barnes)
Perdue Margin in other 139 counties: +112,529 votes (55% Perdue, 43% Barnes)

Perdue Margin in Metro Georgia counties (under 2002 definition) +608 votes (48.8% Perdue, 48.7% Barnes)
Perdue Margin in Georgia’s non-metro counties: +104,007 votes (58% Perdue, 40% Barnes)

Perdue won by 104,615 votes in 2002. Some of his margins in selected rural counties:

Appling (southeast Georgia) +1,487 votes
Bleckley (middle Georgia) +1,583 votes
Brantley (southeast Georgia) +1,675 votes
Coffee (southeast Georgia) +1,658 votes
Dodge (middle Georgia) +1,488 votes
Fannin (North Ga mountains) +1,989 votes
Gilmer (North Ga mountains) +2,042 votes
Jeff Davis (southeast Georgia) +1,118 votes
Laurens (middle Georgia) +2,470 votes

Losing a few rural counties—no big deal. Lose a lot of them…well……

griftdrift February 25, 2014 at 3:47 pm

Well actually I was talking about the last Barnes run which was more of a whitewashing. But my point really is you can lose the 1000 vote counties if your numbers down go soft in the donut counties which they did in 2002 and absolutely cratered in subsequent elections.

Or put another way.

Future Democrats will gladly sacrifice pawns (Worth, Mitchell, etc) for queens (Gwinnet, Henry, etc)

xdog February 25, 2014 at 7:21 pm

I thought Sonny won because of flaggers, teachers, fatigue with donks, and natural movement as Georgia followed the shift of the US House to the gop under Newt. The flaggers I knew weren’t from metro Georgia, although after the election I saw a few signs on 316 when Sonny cut off flag issue. Teachers are everywhere and gopers took advantage of general donk burnout and political shifts outside the state.

Flaggers have other names now. Teachers may not be looking for more of the same if they have a reasonable alternative. More widely, the national pendulum is swinging towards a more laissez faire attitude about society than official institutional gopers allow.

All of that together doesn’t mean that Carter and Nunn aren’t still long shots. I’m interested in how good they are at campaigning and how smart they are at spending the national money they’ll receive if they get warmer.

northside101 February 25, 2014 at 5:01 pm

No doubt Gwinnett and Henry are moving toward the Democrats, but neither is close to the point (certainly not in 2014) that they will deliver an overwhelming margin for a Democratic candidate. In days of old, rule was a Republican had to win Cobb and Gwinnett by at least 20 percentage points to win statewide—of course the days of that are gone—Obama even managed the mid 40s (percentage) in both counties—but the GOP base has spread far beyond those traditionally GOP counties. Think for instance Cherokee County, which Romney won by nearly 57,000 votes last time. Or Forsyth, +51,000 (roughly) for Romney. It isn’t widely known, but Obama actually carried the 28-county metro Atlanta area both times (though just barely, by less than 15,000 votes, in 2012). But more than 40 percent of the state’s total votes are cast outside metro Atlanta, and Romney easily won that part of Georgia, 59-40. If the Democrats continue to sputter in the portion of the state outside metro Atlanta, then to win statewide they would need to win big in metro Atlanta, not just a slim majority. To put it another way, look at congressional districts. The Democratic nominee for governor/Senate obviously is assured of the 4 majority-black districts in a statewide election (2, 4, 5 and 13), and the Republican nominee is especially guaranteed winning Tom Graves’ 14th district in northwest GA (73 Romney) and Doug Collins 9th District centered in Gainesville (78 Romney). Most likely, for a Democrat to win statewide next year, he or she must carry Austin Scott’s 8th CD and John Barrow’s 12th CD, both with a fairly large black minority. Not likely you can win statewide in Georgia with just 4 out of 14 congressional districts.

John Konop February 25, 2014 at 6:01 pm

Very good analysis…..the only curve ball is Hillary in 16 if she runs….I would not be shocked if she did real well with white suburban women wanting the first female president. If that happen the coattails could cause major disruption on number trends with polls….not including demographic changes in Georgia….

I would bet Nunn is looking at this with 2 shots not one…..worse case she gets her name out…and rides the Hillary wagon on the second shot….

GOP talking heads needs to stop the personal attacks on Hillary….focus on issues, lack of record….attacking a woman for her husband cheating on her is not helping in my opinion….it may work with base….but with general population it creates sympathy, and or makes most people uncomfortable….

SmyrnaModerate February 25, 2014 at 6:40 pm

Hillary would be a true nightmare for republicans. Bill Clinton is still immensely popular (see today’s video of his campaign stops in Kentucky) and the Clintons run much better in Appalachia than any other national democrat can. That moves Ohio and Virginia from lean blue to blue blue and that starts her off already over 270 electoral votes. Since we seem to now elect every president to 2 terms that makes the next competitive presidential election in 2024. By then the demographic bomb will have already gone off in Georgia, Arizona and Texas and Republicans have no where else to go for electoral votes.

The Last Democrat in Georgia February 25, 2014 at 8:56 pm

John Konop, February 25, 2014 at 6:01 pm-

SmyrnaModerate, February 25, 2014 at 6:40 pm-

…Excellent analysis from the both of you.

John Sanders February 26, 2014 at 1:54 pm

I second @the last democrat in Georgia

Jane February 25, 2014 at 8:55 pm

Democrats will do better statewide when they nominate a pro-life populist. Find another Zell Miller in other words.

The Last Democrat in Georgia February 25, 2014 at 9:09 pm

There are no more Zell Millers for Georgia Democrats because the Zell Miller-type pro-life populists are all now in the Georgia Republican Party.

The only type of candidates left for Georgia Democrats to run are basically candidates who are definitively left-of-center.

Also, don’t forget that what helped Zell Miller win two terms as Governor is that he was able to amass a huge amount of political power and political capital by serving four terms as Lt. Governor before winning the Governor’s office in 1990.

The only political figure in Georgia state government with probably anywhere near that type of political capital right now is current Republican Lt. Governor Casey Cagle who will have served three terms in the office of Lt. Governor if he ultimately decides to run for Governor in 2018, which many observers expect that he likely will.

John Sanders February 26, 2014 at 1:57 pm

Cagle has too much baggage to become governor… http://www.wsbtv.com/news/news/claim-cagle-overpaid-staffer-to-hide-affair/nFDhH/

and that was what they dug up when he ran for lt. gov. I can only imagine what they’ll find when they really start looking

The Last Democrat in Georgia February 27, 2014 at 5:33 pm

With the charges of Cagle’s alleged affair never being confirmed or substantiated…

…And with Georgia being so completely and thoroughly dominated by Republican rule (Republicans make up a supermajority of …

…And with Cagle being such a popular figure in GOP and statewide political circles (Cagle was the leading statewide vote-getter in the 2010 elections)…

…It is highly-unlikely that those unsubstantiated claims would negatively affect a potential Casey Cagle campaign for governor in 2018 should he choose to run.

At this point, the only thing that could keep such a popular Republican like Cagle from being governor in 2018 (should he decide to run) is if Georgia Democrats had a strong enough fundraising and organizing operation to appeal strongly to the state’s rising number of moderate white voters while turning-out the state’s even faster-growing number of minority voters in very-large numbers…something that Georgia Democrats just don’t have at this particular point in time.

John Konop February 27, 2014 at 10:13 pm

All good points….Casey has to be one of the biggest comeback stories in Georgia politics…,

Chris Huttman February 26, 2014 at 12:28 pm

Don’t let inconvenient facts stand in the way – such as that Zell Miller was pro-choice when he got elected and re-elected governor.

Charles4Truth February 25, 2014 at 10:29 pm

The better question is “Is the GOP turning Blue?”

Rich February 26, 2014 at 7:58 am

I watched the documentary “Mitt” only wanting to determine if he did believe there was a real chance of winning election night. Apparently he considered Nate Silver just another shaman. More accurately, as is the tendency of conservatives, he surrounded himself by like minded individuals sharing the confirmation bias.

Apparently no one recalls the not so distant “solid south” or believes that history repeats itself. The metro counties are already blue in the presidential elections. If democrats in the backwards deep south believed they had a chance to tip the electoral college, they’d show up at the polls also.

Carter and Nunn may have real chances at the state level, but please continue thinking you’re invincible.