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THE MUSINGS OF A TRADITIONAL SOUTHERN DEMOCRAT

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Location: Douglas, Coffee Co., The Other Georgia, United States

Sid in his law office where he sits when meeting with clients. Observant eyes will notice the statuette of one of Sid's favorite Democrats.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

A deeper look at Georgia’s fast-changing electorate

Greg Bluestein writes in the AJC's Political Insider:

Georgia’s electorate is changing even faster than some experts predicted, and a new analysis projecting the state’s demographic evolution through 2060 shows vast changes are coming.

“I sometimes feel like Georgia flies under the radar,” said Ruy Teixeira of the Center for American Progress. “But things are changing there so quickly.”

The analysis was done by the Center for American Progress, the American Enterprise Institute and William H. Frey from the Brookings Institute as part of a report on the demographic evolution of the American electorate. It shows that Georgia will become a majority-minority state in 2025 and that minorities will outnumber whites among eligible voters by 2036.

A narrow majority of students in Georgia’s public schools are now non-white and the data show that the proportion of white children will shrink to about 30 percent by 2060. Unlike states like Texas and California where Hispanics make up the brunt of the growing minority populations, the surge in Georgia will mostly be powered by black residents.

“Blacks have more proclivity to vote in one direction than Hispanics or Asians,” said Teixeira. “It’s definitely changing the character. And one thing that will really make a huge difference in Georgia is if white voters vote more liberally. You don’t need much of a shift in the white vote for there to be a tipping point.”

Democrats have long touted the coming demographic changes, but they didn’t manifest in the last election. Republicans swept every statewide office and consolidated their power in the state Legislature despite unprecedented voter registration efforts to turn out minority voters by left-leaning groups. In that election, black voters overwhelmingly supported Democrats, but whites came out disproportionately to fuel the GOP sweep.

Teixeira sees opportunities for both parties.

“If I’m a Georgia Democrat I’d look at these trends and think my chances are even better in the future than maybe we thought,” he said. “On the other hand, if you’re a Republican you look at these data and you realize you can’t just rely on the white vote forever.”

And conservatives, he said, shouldn’t be lulled into a false sense of security by the November elections if they want to retain their grip on power.

“It’s hard to look at these data and think the state political environment will stay the same as it is today,: he said. “It’s one of the clearer cases we have that shows demographic changes will likely lead to political ones in the near future.”

You can download the report’s Georgia charts.

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