The political playbook for white politicians who fear a Black planet is being written in the suburbs of one of America’s Blackest cities.
The Atlanta metro area used to host a clear racial and political divide, with the city of Atlanta itself being mostly Black and controlled by Democrats and suburban areas growing whiter and more conservative the further you traveled from the city. Like in many places, demographic shifts are changing that: Atlanta itself is no longer majority Black but its sprawling metro area overall is now majority non-white.
And in one ATL suburb, that shift has Republicans scrambling to remake local government now that Black voters have taken control. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that one GOP state lawmaker has started maneuvering to hold onto power since control of the Gwinnett County Commission, school board, police department and other offices fell under the control of mostly Black Dems.
From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
In a stealth move this week, state Sen. Clint Dixon orchestrated an attempt to nearly double the number of commission seats, neuter the power of the county’s newly elected chairwoman and make the school board, which also flipped to Democrats, nonpartisan.
The reason for this late push, according to Dixon, is the pressing desire to give Gwinnett residents more representation in the most diverse county in the state. There was no such desire last year when Republicans controlled the commission.
Since then, an epic election cycle for Democrats flipped the balance of power decisively in Gwinnett, the second most populous county in the state with roughly a million residents. Democrats now command the county school board, hold every seat on the county commission and lead the sheriff’s department, the District Attorney’s office and several other elected positions.
The makeup of the new Democratic political class in Gwinnett is just as notable. Many of the Democratic winners are decades younger than the elected officials they replaced. And every one of them is Black.
Though it involves mostly local government, the Gwinnett issue illustrates how political operatives, particularly conservatives, plan on holding onto power as the country’s population pushes them out of favor. Gerrymandering in places like Texas, North Carolina and Wisconsin, as this Slate article breaks down, appears to be just the beginning.