WaPo’s Cillizza Throws Cold Water On Dems 2016 GA Plans

The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza, a/k/a “The Fix”, talks in an article today about a potential “expand the map strategy” for Hillary Clinton.  He advises Democrats against focusing on Georgia, citing 2014’s results as exhibit A:

Stewart’s second bucket makes more sense — although he may be getting a little ahead of himself demographically speaking. In that bucket sit Arizona and Georgia, two states where the growth of the Hispanic vote — and Democrats’ continued dominance among that group — is in the process of making both states much more competitive.  In Georgia, George W. Bush won 58 percent of the vote in his 2004 reelection race but four years later John McCain won less than 53 percent in the state. In 2012, Mitt Romney won a similar 53 percent of the vote. Arizona’s trajectory is similar. A decade ago, Bush won it with 55 percent.  In 2008, McCain, the homestate senator, got only 54 percent; Romney got that same 54 percent in 2012.

That’s the right trajectory for Democrats. But, Georgia in 2014 provides a reminder of why the demographics just aren’t there yet for Democrats to win. Democrats recruited their best possible candidate — Michelle Nunn — for the seat of retiring Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R).  Many Democrats (and neutral observers) expected Nunn to, at a minimum, keep Republican David Perdue under 50 percent and force a Jan. 6 runoff. Perdue won 53 percent, an eight point victory margin. While Nunn swamped Perdue among black voters (92 percent to eight percent) and won easily among Hispanics (57 percent to 42 percent), he absolutely destroyed her among white voters (74 percent to 23 percent).  That’s instructive.  For someone like Clinton (or any Democrat) to win statewide in Georgia, she/he would need to equal Nunn’s margin among black voters while over-performing Nunn significantly among Hispanics and whites. Possible. But not likely — at least in 2016. By 2020 (or 2024) — maybe.

That sound you hear in the background is the collective wincing from sales managers at every TV and radio station in the state.  Being a battle ground can be quite lucrative if you have some air time to sell.


  1. Joseph says:

    Political was very good for Radio this year, which means it was EXTREMELY good for TV (typically radio only gets political buys once TV is sold-out).

  2. FranInAtlanta says:

    Two Dem points I have seen more that once. 1) Some of that TV money should have been used for GOTV. 2) If a white legacy is going to garner only 23% of the white vote, why nominate a white?
    Am not sure anyone has an answer for the Hispanic vote or how accurate it is, but those who vote are citizens and many are involved in small businesses.

  3. Ed says:

    I for one appreciate this level-headed analysis that doesn’t make a sweeping generalization about the future from one election.

    Was 2014 a bad year for GA Dems? Yeah but it was a bad year for Dems everywhere. Sure they recruited the “best” candidate but she ran an *awful* campaign. There’s a lot of lurking variables Chris either ignores or forgets in his analysis. I’m not saying I buy Democrats taking GA any time soon (I think I’ve been pretty open that I’m bearish on that) but a Dem POTUS nominee and Johnny doubling down on old (as in *very old*) white Republicans means Democrats are almost sure to fare better. This was their first year with an energized party, no amount of national money and insight can prepare them for what they needed to do in six months. Democrats will almost assuredly be more competitive in 2016.

    Oh, and the demographics are changing and the D takeover is imminent… or so we’ve been saying for more than a decade.

    • Merle and Earl Black started writing about the imminent takeover by Republicans in the South in the early 80’s. “Imminent” took more than 2 decades for that to complete, but after the fact, the timeline seems kind of arbitrary.

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