Joe Biden Sees Worrying Signs In Georgia

President Biden has encountered concerning indicators in Georgia, the state he successfully turned blue for the first time in decades during the 2020 election. These indicators include low turnout in the primaries and a dearth of prominent down-ballot races that could invigorate his support base.

In the previous election cycle, Biden narrowly defeated former President Trump in the Peach State by a margin of less than 12,000 votes. However, recent polls indicate that the scales have tipped in favor of the former president as they both prepare for a potential rematch in 2024.

Democrats recognize that Biden still has work ahead of him to energize voters, as the state is once again expected to have a significant impact in the upcoming November elections.

“The Democrats in Georgia are facing a concerning issue: an enthusiasm gap between Democratic voters and Republican voters,” explained Fred Hicks, a Democratic strategist based in Atlanta. He emphasized that the crucial aspect for Democrats is not just deciding whom to vote for in November, but also ensuring that they actually turn out to vote.”

In the recent Georgia Democratic primary, Biden emerged as the clear winner, leaving his competitors far behind. With an impressive victory, he secured over 95 percent of the vote. However, the total voter turnout for the primary fell just shy of 290,000, as reported by Decision Desk HQ.

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In the Republican primary, Donald Trump secured an impressive 85 percent of the vote, attracting a significant number of voters. The GOP contest in Georgia witnessed a remarkable turnout, with nearly 590,000 Georgians participating and casting their ballots.

Turnout will be crucial in Georgia, a state that Trump won in 2016 and where Biden narrowly secured victory by a margin of just one-quarter of 1 percent. While strategists acknowledge that the primary electorate may not accurately reflect the overall voting patterns in the general election, it is still an important factor to consider.

According to Abigail Collazo, a Democratic strategist who has experience in Georgia, the outcome of the election is uncertain at this point. In a year like this, where nothing can be taken for granted, it is especially important for the Biden campaign to secure the support of Black and minority voters.

President Biden is seen heading towards Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, March 19, 2023. He is en route to Nevada, Arizona, and Texas for a series of campaign and official events.

The previous election cycle witnessed an unprecedented surge in voter participation in Georgia. It was during this time that Biden bravely contested against the incumbent Trump. The presence of other significant races on the ballot further motivated and engaged voters, resulting in a remarkable turnout.

In 2020, Georgia Democrats rallied together amidst the COVID-19 pandemic to not only remove Trump from office but also to make history by electing Jon Ossoff as the state’s first Jewish senator and the Rev. Raphael Warnock as the state’s first Black senator. The turnout was impressive, showcasing the determination and unity of Georgia’s Democratic voters.

In that year, Georgia made a noteworthy decision to merge its presidential preference primary and general primary into a single June election. However, this year, they have returned to holding these elections on separate dates.

According to Hicks, the key question is whether and how Biden-Harris can replicate the high Democratic voter turnout seen in 2020, especially when there are no other historic races on the ballot to generate excitement.

Biden will need to rally support from Ohio’s sizable Black population, which accounts for approximately one-third of the state’s electorate. However, recent polls indicate that the incumbent is facing challenges in garnering support from this demographic across the country.

According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, around 6,000 Georgians chose to leave their ballots blank in the Democratic primary, as part of a progressive push in several states to express their discontent with the administration’s handling of the Israel-Hamas war.

The Biden administration will also need to address ongoing concerns about immigration, which have been heightened by the recent tragic death of University of Georgia student Laken Riley. This incident has thrust the state into the midst of an already heated partisan debate on immigration. A Venezuelan citizen, who entered the U.S. illegally, was arrested and charged with murder in connection to Riley’s death. This has led many on the right to connect the tragedy to Biden’s approach to border control.

During his State of the Union address earlier this month, President Biden acknowledged Laken Riley, an innocent young woman who lost her life at the hands of an undocumented individual. In response to Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s interruption, Biden emphasized the need to address the issue of illegal immigration by highlighting the numerous lives lost at the hands of undocumented individuals. He expressed his heartfelt condolences to Laken Riley’s parents, drawing from his own personal experience of losing a child.

According to Jay Williams, a Republican strategist based in Georgia, in order for Biden to have a better chance of winning the state, he would need to take a more assertive approach when it comes to addressing immigration issues at the border.

According to Taylor, if he were running either of the campaigns, he would prefer to be in the Trump campaign’s position. However, he acknowledges that the situation is quite precarious.

Haynes questioned whether this event would be the final blow or just another instance of claims of rigging and subsequent chaos for the country.

Trump effortlessly continued his streak of early victories in the GOP primary, while his former rival Nikki Haley garnered approximately 13 percent of the support. This is noteworthy since a significant portion of the approximately 77,000 votes in her favor were likely cast after Haley withdrew from the race on March 6, possibly indicating a form of protest against Trump.

With only a 12,000-vote margin in the previous election, Joe Biden has a chance to win over disillusioned Republicans and expand his base in the upcoming election. The presence of tens of thousands of Haley voters provides an opportunity for Biden’s reelection campaign to sway these voters to join the Democratic camp.

According to Taylor, even if these voters are not swayed to vote for the other party, they could still create a challenge for Trump if they choose to abstain from voting.

According to Taylor, keeping Georgia within reach for the Biden campaign is strategically beneficial in the long run. It not only puts Georgia’s Electoral College votes in play but also forces the Trump campaign to exhaust their resources. This could potentially leave them financially strained as the election progresses.

Mark Rountree, a Republican pollster based in Georgia, said the Haley voters would be “very problematic” for Trump if the general election were held today, but he added that another six months of advertising and messaging could likely entice many of them back into the former president’s column.

With victories in Georgia, Washington, and Mississippi last week, Biden and Trump have each secured the delegates required to win their party nominations, setting up a rematch in November that experts believe could go down to the wire. Last week, the two candidates staged competing campaign events in Georgia.

According to Keron Blair, the chief organizing and field officer of the progressive New Georgia Project Action Fund, Georgia is a crucial state for Republicans to win in order to remain competitive.

According to Blair, it would be a mistake for Democrats to give up on their efforts to invest in Georgia and create a competitive race for the electoral votes in the state.

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