The population surged to 10.6 million in 2019 from 7.9 million in 2000, and the foreign-born population now exceeds 10 percent of the state’s total. Atlanta has gone from corporate bland to youthful dynamic, with its indoor food markets, destination dining scene and rich entertainment culture, including a hip-hop scene that drives trends worldwide. In 2004, 70 percent of voters were white, according to exit polls. This year, white voters made up 60 percent.
Until the 1970s, Georgia was virtually a one-party state, with conservative Democrats dominant. But as conservative voters moved en masse to the Republican Party, Democrats were left concentrated in places like the city of Atlanta, adjacent and urbane Decatur, and smaller cities with significant African-American populations.
Of course, dumb distaff is now a factor:
A new generation of Democratic candidates has left behind the fiscal and social conservatism of its forefathers to embrace a rising demographic coalition of Black voters, college-educated suburban women and a more politically engaged younger generation.
In 2002, it was considered “contentious” in Georgia “to remove the Confederate battle emblem from the state flag.”
Back in 1992, Cobb County, for example, was described in “A Suburban Eden Where the Right Rules,” a New York Times article, as a place for “Sunday-school manners and well-scrubbed sensibilities.” In short, “conservative Southern values”:
Not merely conservative, it was represented in Congress by the former head of the John Birch Society, Larry McDonald, until his death in 1983 and by Newt Gingrich, who represents 70 percent of the county in Congress.
Here is a Karen of old—they’ve always existed—who had come to Cobb County from Yankee Country and proceeded to change it:
“I like that people are more down to earth, more polite, that you don’t have to walk around screaming and yelling and being rude — you know, the whole New York thing,” said Mrs. Wolfe, a native New Yorker who formerly lived in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. “It seems crazy listening to myself say this, but sometimes I think that there are a lot of the characteristics that come from some of this fundamentalist religious stuff that I hate that also cause it to be so pleasant here. If they didn’t make it political it might be perfect.
Georgia was once a place for “Sunday-school manners and well-scrubbed sensibilities” and “conservative Southern values.”
* Image: Georgia Run-Off, Courtesy NPR