9/1 – GPB – Georgia’s Democratic Future?

Thu., September 1, 2011 3:06pm (EDT)

By Jeanne Bonner

Republicans redrew state house and senate maps in such a way that the party could have a super majority in both chambers after the 2012 election. But Georgia’s changing demographics suggest the Democratic party could stage a comeback in the next decade. (Photo credit: Jeanne Bonner)

Republican lawmakers have drawn redistricting maps that solidify their majorities in the state House and Senate. But Georgia’s changing demographics won’t guarantee that majority forever.

More than 95 percent of the voters in the 2010 Republican primary election were white, according to the Secretary of State’s office.

Meanwhile, blacks made up more than 50 percent of the turnout for the Democratic primary.

And according to census figures, the majority of the babies born in Georgia are now black, Hispanic or another minority.

Political scientists say that means a shift in voting patterns is probably on the horizon. Charles Bullock is a redistricting expert at the University of Georgia.

“I suspect what we may well see over the next ten years is that some districts, which are being drawn by Republicans and which will elect Republicans in 2012, may be electing Democrats by 2020 and maybe before that,” he said in an interview.

The growth patterns among registered voters tell the story, says Tom Crawford, editor of the online political journal, The Georgia Report. He says that the number of registered voters in Georgia who are black grew by 500,000 people in the past decade. White voters, by contrast, are declining.

“In the last ten years, the percentage of registered voters who are white has dropped by 11 percent. That’s a dramatic decrease,” he said in an interview. “If it drops by another ten or 11 percent between now and 2020, then you really do have a battleground where each party is on equal footing.”

Crawford also said Hispanic voters are making gains. In 2000, there were about 8,000 registered Hispanic voters in Georgia. Now there are about 100,000.

“That has enormous implications for politics in this state, especially when you look at hard-line positions Republicans have taken on issues like immigration,” he said.

Crawford said there are also countervailing trends. For example, he said the Democratic party has lost many of its more moderate or conservative voters. And many moderate lawmakers on the state level who were elected as Democrats have switched to the Republican party.

Hispanic voters, also tend to be more conservative, in part because they are overwhelmingly Catholic. Many oppose abortion, which is a cornerstone of the modern Republican platform. But Crawford cautioned that Hispanics are likely to remember this year’s immigration battle for years to come.

Lawmakers finished redrawing state and congressional district maps Wednesday as part of a once-a-decade redistricting special session.


2 Comments to “9/1 – GPB – Georgia’s Democratic Future?”

  1. The strategy of the Republicans , especially Republicans of the south have been for years to prepare to reign politically for ever. The more I study the history of the south the more I realized that these southern politicians are still in the Civil War’s mentality. Look their politcal mind and social structure. Its a close society. They do not like anyone else but themselves. They racists by their core. They still feel the minorities are welcome unless they do not represent a threat of their primacy. They still believe that slavery woudl be the best way of life. If you do not belong and does not represent their values in which they have build their social structure, you do not belong here. What they never thought is that by demographics and political gain, many of us have come to the state and claimed citizemnship in it. People like my family have stablished thenselves for three generations already over here and that finally we have become mature in our political commitments and vision of society. Like us thousand of immigrants have come to the conclussion that the only way to defeat this segment is to opt for a new politcal way. I always talk to people and encouraged them that the only way we can succeed politcaly is being active. The greatest fears of politicians is precisely the power the minorities such as Hispanics and Asians may reprersent for their constituencies. They know we are many, they also know that maintainning the anti-immigrant sentiment will paid greater fruits in the coming elections. Also I believe that the gross miscalculation of the Republican Party have been in the past or eight years the way they have conducted the immigration issue, how much they have demostrated that they are and perhaps will be agaisnt an Immigration Reform. We can not forget that ! They have blocked evry attempt to solve this important national security. They have stoped and diversed the dialogue in many ugly ways in which thousands a people have been affected. The Republican Party is Responsible for the misery, the fear, the pain and the tears of so many already. I personal acusse them of groos discrimination in asocial issue that concerns much the life of our country However what they can not stop is the wave of hundred of thousand of Latinos/Hispanics that have become citizens in the past years and are ready next year to vote. Perhaps the politcal maps of Georgia will not be any more Republican but rather a diversity of politcal values we need to make our country tryly a functional democracy.

  2. I think this article is well done.

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