“The House is Burning”: Democrats Fear Biden Will Lose Important Georgia - Latest Global News

“The House is Burning”: Democrats Fear Biden Will Lose Important Georgia

Dontaye Carter, a Democratic Party organizer in Fulton County, Georgia, has a clear message for Joe Biden from the front lines of the most important political battleground in the American South.

He sees worrying signs that Biden’s reelection campaign will struggle to attract the young and racially diverse voters he needs to again defeat Donald Trump, his Republican rival.

Carter doesn’t think Trump will win much support in this disproportionately African-American liberal stronghold in the heart of Atlanta – but many black men in particular are “resigned” and could miss the election, he said.

“This is the problem we have to solve,” Carter said after a party meeting Thursday evening at a Mediterranean restaurant in Sandy Springs, north of the Georgia capital.

“Someone has to ring the doorbell when the house is on fire, and no one rings the doorbell.”

With less than six months before the November general election, Biden is seeking to strengthen and revitalize the center-left that helped him topple Trump in 2020.

Dontaye Carter, a Democratic party organizer in Georgia, worries that many young black men in the state could miss this year’s presidential election © James Politi/FT

This is particularly urgent in Georgia because it was crucial for Democrats in the last election, when Biden narrowly won the state’s 16 electoral votes. Voters then sent two senators back to Washington and gave the party control of the upper house.

Georgia was also at the center of Trump’s efforts to overturn that election result, as he pleaded with the state’s top election official in a phone call to “get” him 11,780 votes to reverse his losing record. Trump and several allies were indicted last year in connection with that effort, although the date for his trial has not yet been set.

Despite this controversy, polls show Trump has momentum in the state.

That’s partly because Biden’s hold on the nonwhite vote has waned over the past four years. There are several reasons for this: disillusionment with high inflation and the cost of living, disagreements over its handling of the war in Gaza, and disappointment, particularly in the black community, over Congress’s failure to pass agreements on voting rights protections and voter reform meet police work.

Scotty Smart, a Democratic activist in southwest Atlanta, says social media has worsened political discourse in the state © James Politi/FT

According to a NYT/Siena poll released this week, Biden leads Trump among black voters in Georgia 55 percent to 14 percent, compared to an 88 percent to 11 percent lead according to CNN’s election polls in the state in 2020. Overall in Georgia, Biden trails Trump by six percentage points, although he was also behind at this point in the race in 2020 and won with a late surge, according to the Fivethirtyeight.com polling average.

“It’s going to be a close race — it was close last time,” Scotty Smart, a Democratic political operative in southwest Atlanta, said at lunchtime at the counter of a local TGI Friday restaurant. “The environment is a little different though. I think it will be a little more difficult.”

Biden is trying to address these concerns by, among other things, attacking Trump over his treatment of African Americans.

“Look, Trump has hurt black people at every opportunity,” Biden said during an appearance with Big Tigger, an Atlanta radio host. “Black unemployment. . . went up under Trump. Trump’s tax plan increased discrimination. . . They botched the response to Covid-19, so Black people died and Black-owned businesses closed.”

The president is expected to deliver the commencement address on Sunday at Morehouse College, the historically black university in Atlanta where the late civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. once studied.

“No administration has done as much for Black America as Joe and Kamala,” the Biden campaign wrote in a memo Friday.

“He wants our vote, he needs our vote because he knows that Donald Trump appeals to everyone,” said Faris Womack, a Morehouse University graduate who stood outside the campus bookstore.

Womack said he would vote for Biden because he was “the best option right now” but had “mixed views” about him. “As far as his policies and his approach, I question that sometimes. “The whole Palestine thing is messed up,” Womack said.

But Chris, another graduate who declined to give his last name and voted for Biden in 2020, is leaning toward Trump this year, largely for foreign policy reasons.

Faris Womack, a student at Morehouse College in Atlanta, said he has “mixed views” on Joe Biden but the Democratic leader is the “best option” in this year’s presidential election © James Politi/FT

“A lot of people abroad are pushing us around,” he said. “[Trump] is a tyrant, he’s a bad guy. He is what he is, but people won’t try to mess with us if they think our president is dangerous.”

Democrats are hoping that even if Biden loses some ground with parts of his base – including black men – he can make up for it by improving his performance among moderate older voters and women who have been turned off by Trump and question his role in are outraged by the restrictions on abortion rights.

Some anti-Trump Republicans in Georgia have already endorsed Biden, including Geoff Duncan, the state’s former lieutenant governor, who wrote in the Atlanta Journal Constitution newspaper that he was “a decent person with whom I disagree on politics, one.” “moral compass” would prefer criminal defendants without punishment.

The Biden campaign is also expanding its campaign offices and operations more quickly, fundraising more effectively and already spending money — including $14 million on television ads in swing states aimed at nonwhite voters. And they hope the contrast with the Republican rival will help motivate their voters once Biden and Trump hold their first televised debate in Atlanta at the end of June.

But Republicans are also confident they are on the right track to win back Georgia as long as Trump can win back traditional conservatives who favored Nikki Haley in this year’s party primaries and drive away the former president’s right-wing base.

“Republicans need to do a lot better about voting early and not waiting until Election Day,” said Bob Anderson, a retired marketing consultant at a Republican booth at a convention in Roswell, a suburb north of Atlanta.

For Smart, the Democratic activist, what he calls “the landscape of political ignorance” is a cause for concern – including the belief he has repeatedly heard from some voters that it was Trump who pushed the stimulus checks in early 2021 in the amount of 1,400 US dollars. In fact, it was Biden.

People “didn’t know who was doing what, who was responsible for what, who was responsible for what, and social media sometimes hurts that conversation,” Smart said.

Carter warned that the big drivers of Black turnout in 2020 — including the fallout from the pandemic and outrage over the murder of George Floyd — had faded. Biden needed to make a better case for the president’s re-election than the one he was currently offering.

“This whole ‘anyone but Trump’ message isn’t going to work, it’s falling on deaf ears,” he said.

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