Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Georgia on my mind....

Stacey Abrams easily defeated Stacey Evans to get the Democratic nomination for Georgia. Great. She should be a strong candidate. Especially if she ignores some of the advice she's been getting about completely ignoring the white vote (see link below) and counting mostly on turning out the minority vote.
Not that turning out the minority vote--and in Georgia, we're talking overwhelmingly about the black vote--is a bad idea. High black turnout will be essential to an Abrams victory. it would be ridiculous to deny this.
But it's equally ridiculous to deny that Abrams must perform relatively well among white voters to win Georgia. There is a very simple reason for this. While the minority vote is large in Georgia, the white vote is much larger. It's highly unlikely to be under 60 percent of the vote and will probably be a bit higher.
Even in 2012, when Georgia black turnout was actually higher than white turnout (and way higher than white noncollege turnout), whites were still 62 percent of voters and blacks were just 32 percent.
Clinton in 2016 actually did better than Obama in Georgia, losing the state by just 5 points, compared to Obama's 8 point deficit. This improvement is entirely attributable to Clinton's improved performance among whites, both college and noncollege. Granted, her absolute support levels were still low among these groups, but her relative improvement was enough to make the state significantly closer.
But wasn't black turnout low in 2016 in Georgia? Yes, it did decline and slip below white turnout levels. But here's the thing. If Clinton had replicated Obama's 2012 black turnout levels in Georgia in 2016, she would have improved her margin by 2 points in the state. But, if she had replicated Obama's poorer 2012 white support in 2016, she would have done 6 points worse.
The lesson is clear. The Democratic candidate in Georgia will have to walk on two legs, as it were, to win. My guess is that Abrams, a savvy pol by all accounts, understands this. But we shall see.
About this article
Her campaign bet on expanding the electorate, especially people of color and progressive whites. They won big.


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