Why GOP’s redistricting won’t lead to a hard right turn

Now come the Democrats, cartographers of their own power for 130 years, to question the GOP’s intentions as it takes its first crack at drawing Georgia’s political maps.

A special session of the Legislature convenes Monday to redraw the districts of federal and state lawmakers. Conducted once a decade, it’s the most nakedly political exercise our state legislators undertake.

But the GOP is baring too much political ambition for Democrats to bear, claims House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams. She accuses Republicans of following the 1965 Voting Rights Act too eagerly, to “purge” the state of white Democrats and hand the GOP a super-majority of two-thirds of the seats in each chamber.

The landmark civil rights law is not as negotiable as Abrams lets on. Were Republicans not to err on the side of compliance, by creating as many “majority-minority” districts as possible, a thornier fight would await them.

So, two questions: Why are white Democrats so vulnerable? And what would the GOP do with a super-majority capable of putting constitutional amendments on the ballot without Democratic support?

The two are related, but first things first. The purge of most white Democrats has already happened outside the cities.

It started with the ever-leftward shift of the national Democratic Party and snowballed with the opportunism of party-switchers right after the GOP finally won power in the ’00s. The rest came from political preservation: Most remaining white rural Democrats converted to the GOP after the 2010 elections to improve their chances of survival after this redistricting process.

That, and Georgia Democrats’ emphasis on policies (e.g., expanding mass transit) that don’t resonate beyond urban areas. Some Democrats tried to re-engage rural Georgia during the HOPE scholarship debate, and immigration policy might give them an opening among South Georgia farmers. But they have a long way to go.

Too, surprisingly low census numbers for Atlanta, Fulton and DeKalb mean there will be fewer seats in heavily Democratic areas. If Abrams has a way to make these reductions while adhering to the Voting Rights Act and protecting white Democrats, let her present it.

Now for the second question: whether a Georgia GOP that has absorbed so many ex-Democrats could push through a conservative menu of constitutional amendments.

The short answer is “no.” For instance, school choice bills requiring only a simple majority have stalled in the Senate each of the past two years. What makes anyone think the GOP holdouts will suddenly support more far-reaching measures?

For those afraid of an extreme right-wing agenda, the other item on the special session’s docket is instructive.

Republicans want to grease the skids for a regional transportation sales tax by moving the date of a referendum on it to November 2012 from July 2012. These are, for the most part, the same Republicans who kicked and screamed about approving such a referendum in the first place — and who miss no opportunity to declare their disdain for taxes.

They don’t even know yet which projects the tax would fund. How radical — or even right of center — could they be?

Like I said, this redistricting is mostly just a political drama. Republicans have their politics to play, and so does Abrams. But most Georgians can expect their greatest political hopes, or fears, to remain unrealized.

– By Kyle Wingfield

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76 comments Add your comment

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August 13th, 2011
6:26 am

Republicans hate taxes, but love fees! To think democrats nationally have shifted left is utterly ridiculous. If anything it was the GOP during the Bush years that shifted away from their values. Now, the beloved Reagan would he considered a dem to most republicans who bow to Grover, Rush, et al.

marko

August 13th, 2011
6:30 am

From my observations, The yellow dog Democrats that ruled the state for a hundred plus years , woke up one morning and decided they’d rather be yellow dog Republicans. There’s one consistent thing about the south. the more things change the more they stay the same. In the coming election billions will spent on idiot attack ads. Very little of that money will find it’s way into Georgia as It’s a foregone conclusion which way Georgia will go. For that at least I’m thankful. Who in their right mind would enjoy the prospect of being inundated seven days a week will vile sensational attack ads.

Ayn Rant

August 13th, 2011
6:48 am

Doesn’t matter about the re-districting. Until Georgia voters wake up, look around, and figure it out, the state government will be dominated by the ol’ boy turncoats who were Democrats before they were Dixiecrats before they became Republicans.

Ever wonder why Georgia is becoming as poor as our down-at-mouth neighbors, Alabama and South Carolina? There’s not much hope for voter enlightenment so long as our comical state government is in charge of education.

Lil' Barry Bailout (Revised Downward)

August 13th, 2011
6:59 am

You anti-South bigots should look around. Southern states are gaining House seats and electoral votes because northern states are driving jobs and their citizens away with higher taxes and anti-business policies.

marko

August 13th, 2011
7:25 am

Having dutifully commented on today’s topic, I feel entitled to go off on a tangent. The woman and men, seeking the Republican nomination for the presidency of our once great nation, were asked if they would accept a debt reduction plan that called for ten dollars of spending cuts for every new tax dollar. Every last one said no. How could they do otherwise? They’ve all signed stupid pledges swearing cross their hearts hope to die never to vote for a tax increase. Just a thought,wouldn’t be nice if politicians signed a pledge promising not to sign pledges. Nearly 70% of the American people favor a balanced approach to the debt crisis that includes both cuts and revenues. as I see it 100% of the Republican candidates are smugly telling us that we don’t know what the hell we’re talking about. The very people that created the mess we’re in think they’ve got a handle on what to do about it. We’ve elected men and women that spend more on defense than the rest of the world combined, and we’re to believe that nobody has to pay for it. This is going to be fun.

Geo

August 13th, 2011
7:30 am

Ever since they built up Atlantic Station and all those other similar places, the Democrats have moved to Kennesaw.

Phil's Tel-A-Gramm

August 13th, 2011
7:47 am

What’s this I am reading about Tom Graves and Chip Rogers. Shouldn’t you be covering this story, Kyle. They are Republicans after all. Did you read about their defense for not paying their 2.2 million dollar debt. Better yet, what do you think about Republicans that claim to be so opposed to our national debt and the need to pay it off with one side of the mouth while claiming that the bank should not have been so stupid to loan them money with the other side of their mouth. Is Tom trying to get those lines redrawn so a particular property is not in his district. :lol:

Tommy Maddox

August 13th, 2011
7:50 am

Wasn’t it the liberal talking heads who claimed that people were duped by unscrupulous lenders and bankers who tricked them into obtaining loans that they could never repay? Perhaps Tom and Chip were victims too.

jconservative

August 13th, 2011
7:54 am

Ayn Rant – “…the state government will be dominated by the ol’ boy turncoats who were Democrats before they were Dixiecrats before they became Republicans.”

You have a lot of truth in this short sentence. That is the legacy. Not just in Georgia but across the South.

There was a day that the definition of conservative was preserving the established order.

That is why the Georgia legislature must still deal with the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

But redistricting is redistricting and the current legislature will be really challenged to outdo some of the old guard Democratic gerrymandering of past decades.

Phil's Tel-A-Gramm

August 13th, 2011
8:19 am

Perhaps Tom and Chip were victims too.

That’s right. They won the lottery without even buying a ticket. :lol:

david green

August 13th, 2011
8:32 am

Kyle it really doesn’t matter if Georgia takes a right or a left turn as the democrats and the republicans are bound and determined to take the nation to the same destination: national bankruptcy and the imposition of political tyranny.

Dave R.

August 13th, 2011
9:13 am

“Nearly 70% of the American people favor a balanced approach to the debt crisis that includes both cuts and revenues. as I see it 100% of the Republican candidates are smugly telling us that we don’t know what the hell we’re talking about.”

Hey, marko, where were you when 58% of the nation said to scrap the health care reform law and start over?

Oh, yeah. That was when you libs were smugly telling us we didn’t know what the hell we were talking about . . . :roll: And that ridiculous question was covered in Jay’s blog yesterday. Bottom-line, no politician on a national stage is going to agree to anything as insubstantial as that proposal, because if they do, their acceptance will be plastered all over negative campaign ads for the rest of their careers (Candidate A wanted to cut $10 trillion from SS and Medicare – source: GOP debate in Ames, Iowa, 2011).

And can we get a fainting couch for david green this morning? He seems a bit peaked this morning after being outed for making uninformed statements last night.

DannyX

August 13th, 2011
10:43 am

Lol! Kyle, what ever happened to your one party shouldn’t control the government routine?????

You know, like the time you wrote how it would be best if the federal government, (President, Senate, and House) were not ruled by one party. Keeps the extremists away.

Now look at the mess we are in! State Republican leadership is in crisis. Every single one of them flaunt their position and power, now Kyle wants them to have a super-majority!

All hail one party rule!!!! Whoops, all hail Republican one party rule!

DannyX

August 13th, 2011
10:53 am

“Hey, marko, where were you when 58% of the nation said to scrap the health care reform law and start over?”

I know where I was, right here watching Kyle and the gang brag about all the gains Republicans were making in the polls. The problem for Republicans is they still think its the summer of 2010.

Wake up from your one year nap. Things have changed. The Tea Party is now the laughingstock of the nation. Literally. The polls have been turned upside down. Gallup reported yesterday that by a huge margin voters want Democrats back in total control of Congress (51%-44%.)

Republicans are being recalled and the new Tea Party governors already have horrible approval ratings

Not because the Democrats are that much better. Its because the Tea Party Republicans are totally crazy.

Lil' Barry Bailout (Revised Downward)

August 13th, 2011
10:53 am

marko: Nearly 70% of the American people favor a balanced approach to the debt crisis that includes both cuts and tax increases on someone else.
————————-

Fixed.

Lil' Barry Bailout (Revised Downward)

August 13th, 2011
10:56 am

DannyX: Tea Party Republicans are totally crazy.
—————————–

Yes, insisting on reducing the size, scope, cost, and intrusiveness of the federal government does sound crazy. To Obozo receptacles who cheer his unsustainable, un-American spending blowout.

Lil' Barry Bailout (Revised Downward)

August 13th, 2011
10:57 am

marko, how much do you think your taxes should be raised. If you’re one of the 50% who don’t pay federal income taxes, please express it in dollars rather than percent.

saywhat?

August 13th, 2011
11:19 am

Perhaps their will be no hard right turn because the steering wheel is already turned as far right as it can go? It’s like wondering if Howard Stern might become sleazy.

Real Athens

August 13th, 2011
11:47 am

Kyle,

First crack? Not hardly. What selective a revisionist memory you represent. Georgia was re-districted federally by Tom Delay and Co. in 2004. Georgia State Senate District 46 was was re-drawn in 2003 to allow for a more “fair and balanced” representation at the behest of of the GOP. This move was overseen by Ralph Hudgins, Brian Kemp and Casey Cagle (Republicans all). Athens/Clarke County (the smallest county in the state) was split into 2 senatorial districts. The Senate Reapportionment Committee adopted a new map that modified the boundaries of the 46, 47, 49 districts. The major change took Clarke County, wholly contained within the 46th District, and split it between Districts 46 and 47. The reasoning from the GOP was so that Madison Co. (Hudgens District, pop. 28,012) — giant economic engine for NE Georgia that it is — could be “wholly” represented. That change made Kemp’s District 46, “a competitive district” up for grabs between Democrats and Republicans — a more Republican-leaning district in terms of voter performance in recent elections. This allowed for Kemp to step down from the Senate seat and run for agriculture commissioner — he lost. Republican attorney Bill Cowsert — Kemp’s brother-in-law — then ran in the 46th district and won.

JohnnyReb

August 13th, 2011
11:52 am

Isn’t it fun when “right” wins despite “social justice” laws.

Seamus

August 13th, 2011
12:19 pm

Kyle
One thing about your column that is s-o-o-o-o-o refreshing is getting the Socialists out of the cracks, into the open and a cacophany of wailing, whining and gnashing of teeth about what the nasty, billionaire Republicans are doing to Georgia. I suppose the 125+ years of Democratic governance was akin to the Garden of Eden and the Republicans came along and ruined it. By the way, when you write of Democrat “yellow dogs”, Marko, that term was changed many years ago to “lap dog.” Stacy Abrams just loves to get them (all in unison, of course) to wag their tails and slurp their tongues when she denigrates the Party of Lincoln. You go, girl! Keep ‘em in line!

Dave R.

August 13th, 2011
1:07 pm

“I know where I was, right here watching Kyle and the gang brag about all the gains Republicans were making in the polls.”

Deflection, DannyX.

Why don’t you stick to the point? If it is so damned wrong to not do what 70% of Americans want done, why was it perfectly fine for your side to do the same thing when it came to health care reform?

Do you have ANY intellectual honesty, DannyX?

Oh, and only 2 out of 6 GOP state senators in a traditionally blue state in a special election were actually recalled. Not exactly a stunning defeat for the Tea Party, sport.

Tommy Maddox

August 13th, 2011
1:15 pm

I dare say that the Tea Party is the laughingstock of anything. Watching the Left shcuk and jive – now that’s funny.

Tommy Maddox

August 13th, 2011
1:15 pm

Hillbilly D

August 13th, 2011
2:25 pm

The major goal of redistricting is to protect the seats of the incumbents. Always has been; always will be.

DannyX

August 13th, 2011
2:32 pm

Dave R., I was very direct with the point I made. In fact it was pretty much in your face. You chose to ignore it, helping me make my point.

Thank you, now go back to sleep.

Dave R.

August 13th, 2011
4:02 pm

No, DannyX, you deflected. And now you’re in denial.

So stick with the question: “If it is so damned wrong to not do what 70% of Americans want done, why was it perfectly fine for your side to do the same thing when it came to health care reform?”

Man up and answer it sport.

DannyX

August 13th, 2011
4:22 pm

“If it is so damned wrong to not do what 70% of Americans want done, why was it perfectly fine for your side to do the same thing when it came to health care reform?”

Are you dense?? My original post knocks you over the head with the fact that last summer the Democrats sat by watching their numbers plummet, because their actions became unpopular.

Now the Republicans have taken positions that are even more unpopular. The Tea people are using their hot water to cook their own goose. Unlike some of us that could see the writing on the wall last year, Tea Party/Republicans are walking around not realizing how seriously you have been wounded by their own Tea Party nonsense. A year ago you were all bragging about the polls, they were all showing a Republican landslide.

A year later the Tea/Republican Party is wounded and it is showing up in the very same polls. If Republicans keep putting up these crazy candidates they will get crushed in 2012, Obama or not. If Republicans stay the course they could even lose the House. The numbers are right in front of your eyes. Wake up.

Linda

August 13th, 2011
4:52 pm

Isn’t it funny that polls from the left wing, corrupt, alphabet media, such as CNN, find that the Tea Party is unpopular when REAL, unbiased pollsters, such as Gallup & Rasmussen, don’t?
Isn’t it funny that liberals never called terrorists terrorists but called the Tea Party terrorists?
Seems like the Tea Party is doing everything right to get this type of hysteria from the left.

david green

August 13th, 2011
4:52 pm

Dave R I suggest you begin dispelling your ignorance by reading chapter 4 of the book “The Constitution in Exile” written by Andrew Napolitano entitled “Dishonest Abe”.

Dave R.

August 13th, 2011
4:55 pm

david green, I suggest you refrain from calling someone “dishonest” when you know nothing about them.

Come back at me when you’ve grown up.

Dave R.

August 13th, 2011
4:57 pm

No admission from DannyX that the Dems were just as guilty of ignoring the American public as he says the Republicans are today.

Typical liberal.

Can’t answer a direct question when poised to them. Changes the subject when caught in an error.

Linda

August 13th, 2011
4:58 pm

It doesn’t take a psychic to tell which commenters on these blogs are government prostitutes & which are not.

DannyX

August 13th, 2011
5:03 pm

Isn’t it funny Linda? You know? That poll from REAL unbiased Gallup?

The poll released two days ago? The one showing the Democrats clobbering the Republicans in the Generic Congressional poll? The same poll that is used historically to show the direction the voters are headed? The poll taken after the budget fight? The same exact poll that showed the Republicans way ahead last year?

How’s all that crazy working out?

Linda

August 13th, 2011
5:36 pm

DannyX, So, let’s vote today!

Rasmussen poll: 8/5-6/11: Who understands America’s problems better?
all/Dems/GOP/other
Tea Party 42% 15% 68% 46%
Congress 34% 60% 13% 27%
undecided 24% 26% 19% 28%
Poll of likely VOTERS 8/5-6
Go Tea Party!

Linda

August 13th, 2011
5:59 pm

DannyX, Assuming you are not an orphan, if your parents joined the Tea Party, the band of patriots that they are, would you still consider them terrorists? If your parents or grandparents used the same chairs from your soccer/football games, your tennis matches, your swimming meets, your golf games, etc. to participate in Tea Party rallies, would you still call them terrorists?

Linda

August 13th, 2011
6:07 pm

DannyX, Howdy!
Never mind. Only people who have parents & children & who expect to have grandchildren, great grand children, etc. would understand my question.
My greeting to you represents the new greeting to Americans from the next president of the US, Rick Perry. Get used to it, dude.
Could anyone say, “Amen, Brother!?”

DannyX

August 13th, 2011
6:14 pm

Thats kind of a strange question Rasmussen asks at 5:36 Linda. Could be taken a number of ways. The one question in that Rasmussen poll that was quite clear and straight forward…

“Do you have a favorable or unfavorable view of the Tea Party?” ONLY 36% said FAVORABLE.
As Rasmussen noted in that article, Tea Party ratings are down big time, in all categories from a year ago.

DannyX

August 13th, 2011
6:16 pm

“Never mind. Only people who have parents & children & who expect to have grandchildren, great grand children, etc. would understand my question.”

Wow, seriously Linda? I guess you win.

Linda

August 13th, 2011
6:51 pm

DannyX, Only liberal socialists, those or you who are govt. prostitutes or who promote govt. prostitution, question fiscal responsibility in 2011.

I Report (-: You Whine )-: Thee Magnificent!!! mmm, mmmm, mmmmm! Just sayin...

August 13th, 2011
6:57 pm

AMES, Iowa (AP) – Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann won a test vote of Iowans on Saturday, a show of strength five months before the state’s caucuses kick off the GOP presidential nominating season.

Yeah like that won’t cause the panty waist lib media to wig out.

Batten down the hatches, there’s a wave of PMS blowing in.

Lil' Barry Bailout (Revised Downward)

August 13th, 2011
7:02 pm

Why do Democrats hate strong women?

Linda

August 13th, 2011
7:08 pm

DannyX@6:16, No, I don’t win. The American people don’t win. The President does not win. Congress nor the Tea Party are winners.
This is not a game. This is a fight for the survival of our nation.

Linda

August 13th, 2011
7:17 pm

What is a govt. prostitute? Someone who exchanges their integrity for unworthy purposes for govt. handouts. That does NOT include worthy recipients. It includes unworthy recipients.

Lil' Barry Bailout (Revised Downward)

August 13th, 2011
7:31 pm

marko, how much do you think your taxes should be raised. If you’re one of the 50% who don’t pay federal income taxes, please express it in dollars rather than percent.
—————————-

Since marko hasn’t been back to respond to the question, I’ll throw it open to anyone who cares to provide an answer.

david green

August 13th, 2011
7:41 pm

Dave R history is always repeated by those who chose to forget the lessons learned from past mistakes. Just like liberalism {socialism} as an ideology conservatism {national socialism / fascism} is as morally corrupt and intellectually dishonest at it’s very core as the minds from which it sprang and it’s adherents who willfully and blindly follow their leaders over the edge of the cliff into oblivion.

Try something different for change get the book I listed and carefully read it otherwise keep your willful ignorance and lies to yourself.

Lil' Barry Bailout (Revised Downward)

August 13th, 2011
7:42 pm

Obozo: “You deserve better than you’ve been getting out of Washington over the last 2½ months–for that matter, for the last 2½ years.”
——————–

Yes, he really said that. What a moron.

Michael H. Smith

August 13th, 2011
8:32 pm

But most Georgians can expect their greatest political hopes, or fears, to remain unrealized.

That’s close enough to call it about right, no matter how boring it will be. The Democrats in this state should give their local party charter back to the DNC, turn out the lights, sell that broke down dunkey to pay off remaining debts and borrow carfare so the destitute braying few of them who are left hanging around this state can get out of town!

In… in exchange of course, for either the Libertarians or the establishment of an official TEA PARTY, in lieu of just a political movement, as the other main political party to replace the self extinguished exiled forevermore Regressive Socialist Donkey Pooped Party .

Nobama, Nodonkeys, Noregressives 2012

Kinda like the way those three districts are drawn.

Dave R.

August 13th, 2011
8:46 pm

At some point, david green, you’re going to have to get out of your grandmother’s basement and enter the real world.

When that happens, you can first start off with your apology to me for calling me dishonest in your ignorance.

After that, you can try to have a discussion / debate on real, live issues instead of spouting nonsensical -isms all day and night long.

Breeh

August 14th, 2011
4:49 am

dems look to Jheri curl their districts.