Demography and Destiny

Having just spent a fair amount of time in Georgia, mostly in the company of extended family members (all but a couple being white folks), I did not come away with the impression that my ancestral home was in any danger of trending Democratic real soon. But via the Atlanta Journal-Constitution‘s Jim Galloway, Emory University’s Alan Abramowitz has some interesting voter registration figures from the Peach State:

In May of 2008, African-Americans made up 28 percent of active registered voters in Georgia while whites made up 65 percent and “other” race (a category that’s hard to interpret but presumably includes a lot of Hispanics and Asians since very few of them identify themselves as Hispanic or Asian) made up 7 percent.

In May of 2012, African-Americans made up 29.4 percent of active registered voters, whites made up 60.2 percent, and “other” race made up 10.4 percent.

So the downward trend in the white share of voters in Georgia has continued. There is certainly no evidence here that nonwhites have been disappearing from the rolls of registered voters. In all likelihood, the nonwhite share will increase further between now and November, as it did in 2008.”

Democrats are forever reminding themselves that “demography is not always destiny.” But as Galloway notes: “Demography, like a glacier, is slow but relentless.” I’d say a five percent shift in a group’s percentage of the electorate in four years is a little faster than a glacier, but the point’s well-taken.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.