Earlier today I started writing about what I thought was going to be about the 2022 Georgia election cycle, which includes a race for governor, U.S. senator and for control of the state legislature-- and in a time of massive voter disenfranchisement. But the post took on a life of its own and the word "Georgia" was never mentioned or even alluded to, other than by noting that QAnon sociopath Marjorie Taylor Greene represents a very backward piece of the state. Instead it turned into a post about the intersection of white nationalism, domestic terrorism, white evangelical Christianity and the Republican Party.
No one has ever thought of Georgia as a 50-50 state. At least among elderly people with memories, the state basically went from solid blue to solid red, almost overnight-- right when the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was passed-- but Georgia may be drifting back towards a middle-ground it never really occupied, the way Virginia has. In 2020-'21, Georgia became, at least for a period, a shockingly 50-50 state.
Biden- 2,473,633 (49.5%)
Trump- 2,461,854 (49.3%)
Ossoff- 2,269,923 (50.61%)
Perdue- 2,214,979 (49.39%)
Senate special election
Warnock- 2,289,113 (51.04%)
Loeffler- 2,195, 841 (48.96)
Biden won by 11,779 votes. Ossoff won by 54,944 votes. And Warnock won by 93,272 votes. For whatever reason-- or no reason at all-- 246,013 Trump voters didn't bother voting for Loeffler. If they had, she would still be in the Senate... instead of running around trying to pass herself off as the white (rich) Stacey Abrams.
Two years earlier Stacey Abrams was cheated out of the governor's election by a manipulative Secretary of State (running for governor), Brain Kemp, who managed to put 1,978,408 votes (50.2%) on the board to her 1,923,685 (48.8%). The only county among Georgia's 159 that the Democrats managed to flip from her race to the 3 in the last cycle was rural minority-majority Washington County:
Kemp- 4,128 (50.5%)
Abrams- 4,012 (49.1%)
Biden- 4,743 (50.0%)
Trump- 4,668 (49.3%)
Ossoff- 4,368 (51.2%)
Perdue- 4,161 (48.8%)
Warnock- 4,398 (51.5%)
Loeffler- 4,144 (48.5%)
Over the weekend, the NY Times Magazine carried a piece by their chief national correspondent in DC, Mark Leibovich, <>A Political Hurricane Blew Through Georgia. Now It’s Bracing for More.</> He wrote that the national fervor and spotlight on Georgia politics will be part of the 2022 election cycle if, for no other reason, "The state is a focal point for the nation’s persistent voting rights battle, as Republicans move swiftly to roll back ballot access in what opponents say is clear targeting of Black voters with echoes of Jim Crow-era disenfranchisement."
In 2022, the Peach State’s race for governor is likely to include perhaps the Democratic Party’s leading champion of voting rights, Stacey Abrams, in a replay of the 2018 grudge match between her and Gov. Brian Kemp, the Republican incumbent. One of the two Democrats who won their races in January, Senator Raphael Warnock, will also have to turn around and defend his seat next year in a race that Republicans are already eyeing as they seek to reclaim the chamber. Several local and national Republicans-- including Mr. Trump-- have tried to recruit the former University of Georgia football legend Herschel Walker to run for the seat, which could lend another wrinkle to the state’s political story, as if it needed one.
Adding to the chaos, Mr. Kemp has become the target of a vendetta by Mr. Trump, who has condemned him for not doing more to deliver (or poach) victory for him in Georgia in November. This has also made Georgia the unquestioned center of the internal disputes that have roiled the Republican Party since November. Mr. Trump has seemed intent on making the state a key stop on a revenge tour he has waged against Republicans he has deemed insufficiently loyal to him-- Kemp and [Secretary of State Brad] Raffensperger chief among them.
...Republicans are now worried that their slipping grip on Georgia could make it a perennial swing state. [Ex-Senator Saxby] Chambliss said that white suburban women, who have been the key component of the state’s Republican coalition, had defected en masse in recent years, more drastically around Atlanta than in other growing metropolitan areas around the country.
...The transformation of Georgia’s politics is largely a story of rapidly changing demographics. Atlanta is among the fastest-growing cities in the country, its suburbs evolving from a white Republican hotbed to a more diverse and progressive population of college-educated “knowledge workers.” Metropolitan Atlanta has attracted a substantial influx of younger immigrants and transplants from more crowded and expensive cities in the Northeast and the West.
Likewise, the racial makeup has shifted rapidly. “Our demography is reflective of where many states are, and where the nation is headed,” said Ms. Abrams, who added that the majority of Georgia’s population was expected to be nonwhite by the end of this decade. “Politically, Georgia reflects what happens when all of these things come together. It’s a difficult thing to navigate on a national scale, and Georgia is the living embodiment of this.”
The point of convergence for much of this ferment has been the protracted struggle over voting rights. Ms. Abrams, who founded the political advocacy and voter registration group Fair Fight Action, has received broad credit for helping capture the state’s electoral votes for Mr. Biden and the Senate seats for Democrats.
She became a voting rights cause célèbre herself in 2018 after enduring a bitter defeat in a governor’s race marred by accusations of voter suppression against Kemp in his former capacity as Georgia’s secretary of state. Abrams has to this day refused to concede defeat; Kemp, who oversaw the purging of hundreds of thousands of Georgians from the state’s voter rolls during his tenure, denied any wrongdoing. He declined to comment for this article.
Abrams said that Republicans could not match the political energy and the demographic momentum that have propelled Democrats in Georgia, other than to pursue laws that would make it harder for traditional Democratic constituencies, such as African-Americans, to vote.
The legislation currently making its way through the Capitol includes strict limits on weekend voting, a measure that could significantly impede the traditional role of Black churches in fostering civic engagement. A bill that passed the Georgia Senate early this month would repeal “no-excuse” absentee voting and require more stringent voter identification measures. The state’s political patriarch, the 96-year-old former President Jimmy Carter, said this past week that he was “disheartened, saddened and angry” about the legislation.
“We know that some version of this bill is likely to pass because Republicans face an existential crisis in Georgia,” Abrams said. By the same token, Democrats could face a crisis of their own if Republicans succeed at enacting more restrictive voting laws in Georgia and several other states with Republican-controlled legislatures.
...Georgia Republicans say it would be shortsighted to think that legislation alone can stem the state’s recent tide of red to blue. Nor is it clear whether the most powerful motivating force in their party-- Mr. Trump-- has in fact motivated just as many voters to support Democrats in and around Atlanta.
This dynamic has extended to Trump acolytes like Representative Marjorie Taylor-Greene, the first-term Republican from the state’s northwest corner, whose far-right views, incendiary language and promotion of conspiracy theories have made her the biggest new attention magnet in Congress, for better or worse. “I have always subscribed to having a big tent,” Mr. Chambliss said. “By the same token, I don’t know where some of these people who wander into the tent ever come from.”
Geoff Duncan, Georgia's Lt. Gov. and the top GOP recruit for the Senate election was on Meet the Press today where he said he will not be running against Warnock for the seat. He said he would "stay focused on being the lieutenant governor here in Georgia, and we are going to focus hard on trying to rebuild this party and refocus GOP 2.0... Trump's divisive tone and strategy is unwinnable in forward-looking elections. We need real leadership."