Why Republicans Can No Longer Count On Georgia’s 16 Election Votes

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On the streets of downtown Atlanta on Saturday night, much of the young and diverse crowd celebrating Joe Biden’s victory as president could rightly take credit for the political change underway in the state. .Young people, especially black youth voting, combined with a demographic shift and voter registration surge, Georgia, a so-called Bible belt state with 16 electoral votes, is no longer a reliable victory for Republican presidential candidates.

The state’s demographics have been changing for some time, said Helen Butler, executive director of the Georgian Coalition for the Peoples’ Agenda, a voter mobilization organization. But “no one expected” the changes to influence the state vote so quickly, she said.

“A lot of people didn’t pay much attention to it,” Butler said.

As of Sunday morning, the official Georgia results were not determined, but Biden is slightly ahead of Donald Trump.

The last time a Democratic presidential candidate claimed victory in the state was in 1992, when Bill Clinton won by 13,000 votes.

On the streets of downtown Atlanta on Saturday night, much of the diverse crowd celebrating Joe Biden’s victory could rightly take credit for the political change underway in the state. (Brynn Anderson / Associated Press)

However, since Barack Obama ran for president, Republican presidential candidates have only won the state in single digits – five percent for John McCain, seven percent for Mitt Romney and five for cent for Donald Trump in 2016.

At least part of this decrease in support for Republican presidential candidates can be attributed to the Atlanta subway – the big blue dot with a population of around six million in a red state of over 10 million.

The numbers in Atlanta are overwhelming

“When you come out of urban areas, you basically see support for Trump,” said Jacquelyn Bettadapur, chair of the Cobb County Democratic Committee.

“It’s just that the numbers in Atlanta are so overwhelming that they’re starting to tip the scales in our favor.

Cobb County, a suburb of Atlanta and part of that blue dot along with Henry and Gwinnett Counties, had been strongly Republican for years, but actually turned blue in 2016 when Hillary Clinton ran for president .

“I think it was an interesting story, because not only [Cobb County], red and red voting, it was the home of [former House Speaker] Newt Gingrich », a déclaré Bettadapur.

However, younger and more diverse voters – people from out of state – are turning to jobs, she said.

“What’s happening is that the county is more and more urbanized, becoming an extension of Atlanta, if you will,” she said..

Roderick Pogue, a resident of Gwinnett County, says his community was predominantly white. 15 years ago, but has since become much more diverse. (Mark Gollom / CBC)

Roderick Pogue, a resident of neighboring Gwinnett County, said when he moved to his neighborhood about 15 years ago he was predominantly white. Now it’s a real mix.

“Georgia has changed a lot,” he said. “People come from other regions to work. So Georgia has grown and in the process of growing you have diversity, you have a lot of Democrats here now. ”

Nearly half of the state’s votes came from the Atlanta metro area, the Washington Post noted. The region welcomes tens of thousands of new residents every year, including people from other states and immigrants, who have been instrumental in transforming the state into Democrats.

WATCH | Tight margins between Trump and Biden in Georgia mean the state is heading for a recount:

Joe Biden finished Friday with a razor thin margin over Donald Trump in Georgia and the state is already heading for a recount. 2:28

While the new residents may have improved Biden’s political fortunes in the state, so have the youth votes. According to the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) at Tuft University, 21% of the votes in Georgia were cast by voters between the ages of 18 and 29, making young people the age group most favorable to Biden.

Young black voters in the state chose Biden over Trump by a 90-8% margin, while young white voters in Georgia backed Trump over Biden by 62-34%, CIRCLE said.

Young people turn Georgia into cliffhanger

If younger voters had come out in smaller numbers, Biden’s lead and his chances of winning the state would have diminished.

Young voters in Georgia, especially young people of color “appear to have turned this once red state into a swaying state in the 2020 presidential election,” CIRCLE said.

College student Yona Longchamp said she was motivated to vote after Trump won in 2016 (Mark Gollom / CBC)

Yona Longchamp, a college student and resident of Atlanta, said many of her friends were motivated to vote after Trump won four years ago.

“My whole high school minus a teacher was hugging because we were all like, ‘Did he really win? Is this a joke?’ So since, it was just, come 2020, it’s our time. ”

But other reasons why more Georgians are voting Democrats in this election can also be linked to people like Stacey Abrams.

Many have credited Stacey Abrams, seen speaking to Biden supporters in Atlanta on November 2, with rallying black voters in the state in the 2020 election. Abrams is a lawyer and former state lawmaker who lost one acrimonious race for governor in 2018, mired in voter suppression allegations. (Brynn Anderson / The Associated Press)

Abrams, a lawyer and former state lawmaker who lost the governorship in Georgia to Republican Brian Kemp and attributed the loss largely to voter suppression, has since started several “voter protection organizations”. Which are credited with allowing approximately 800,000 residents to register to vote. .

“Stacey Abrams was there for voter registration, but we’re doing education,” said Butler of Coalition for the Peoples’ Agenda. “We are mobilizing. We had 1,300 volunteers who followed up on polls, to be at the polls to make sure that people could exercise their right to vote.

“We were working on these issues to make sure every vote counts. “

Joe Biden’s supporters in Atlanta celebrate his victory on Saturday night. (Marie Morrissey / CBC)

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