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Tipsheet

Democrats: Hey, Let's Hold Our 2024 Convention in That Racist 'Jim Crow 2.0' State

AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

The 2024 Republican National Convention, at which the party will nominate its next presidential ticket, will be held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in mid-July. The location of the corresponding Democratic National Convention has not yet been determined. A few days ago, the New York Times reported that one of the finalist cities -- Houston, Texas -- had been eliminated from consideration, leaving New York, Chicago and Atlanta as the remaining options.  NBC News now reports that a coalition of Southern Democrats has rallied together to push Atlanta at the final choice.  Some are still pushing the other contenders, but there's a strong, coordinated effort to bring the DNC to Georgia:

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Southern Democrats are banding together to urge President Joe Biden to select Atlanta for the 2024 Democratic National Convention, according to a letter obtained by NBC News, arguing the choice would solidify the party's gains in Georgia and demonstrate commitment to the entire region. Atlanta is one of the three finalists to host the convention, along with New York City and Chicago. Houston was also in the running until recently; its mayor has now joined Atlanta’s bid, adding his name to the letter. The letter, sent Monday to Biden and Democratic National Committee Chair Jaime Harrison, is signed by more than 65 current and former Democratic senators, congressmen, governors, mayors and legislators from a dozen Southern states. Notable names include Virginia Sens. Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, along with top Biden allies like South Carolina Rep. Jim Clyburn and former Louisiana Rep. Cedric Richmond, who is now a top DNC official and Biden political adviser.

The letter is accessible here, if you're interested in its contents and signatories.  On one hand, Atlanta makes perfect sense for the Democrats.  It's the urban hub that has delivered the party's candidates four statewide victories in the last few years, including Biden's narrow 2020 win, along with three consecutive US Senate victories (all in run-offs).  Republicans still dominate the other statewide offices and the legislature, but in terms of national politics, Atlanta has turned Georgia blueish-purple.  Democrats would love to continue their momentum there, recognizing that blue Georgia makes a nationwide GOP presidential win nearly impossible to achieve (ditto blue Arizona).  New York and Chicago are deep blue cities in deep blue states, by contrast.  The political upside of picking either location is minimal.  

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On the other hand, Democrats have just spent the last few years hysterically condemning Georgia as home to a scandalously racist voter suppression regime.  Top Democrats in the state described the recently-implemented reforms as 'Jim Crow 2.0.'  President Biden said Georgia's law was worse than the state-mandated racial bigotry of Jim Crow, shamefully lumping its supporters in with Confederates and segregationists.  The supposed Republican 'assault' on 'voting rights' and 'our democracy' was so egregious, we were told, that major corporations felt compelled to speak out.  The Major League Baseball All-Star Game, an American summer institution, was ripped away from Georgia, as punishment.  But now, Georgia is in the Democrats' top three choices for its quadrennial showcase destination, being aggressively lobbied for by dozens of high-profile party members -- including those who've been shouting about 'Jim Crow' and 'suppression.'  National Review's Jim Geragthy has some questions regarding what he's rightly characterizing as a jarring about-face:

For much of 2021, every major Democrat, including President Biden, denounced the state of Georgia as a racist disgrace when its Republican-controlled state government enacted an election-reform law that they insisted was was a voter-suppression effort and “Jim Crow 2.0.” But 2022 brought record turnout in both the primaries and midterm elections, and the state’s African Americans reported great satisfaction with and trust in their voting experience. Now, Joe Biden wants Georgia to vote early in the presidential-primary process, and just about every major southern Democrat wants Atlanta to host the party’s next national convention. Somehow, in a very short period of time, Georgia went from too racist to host the 2021 Major League Baseball All-Star game to deserving to host the 2024 Democratic National Convention. In the minds of Democrats, the state of Georgia is either an oppressive racist hellhole or the bright shining future of American politics, depending on the results of the latest election...Recall that President Biden wants to make Georgia the fourth state to vote in the 2024 Democratic presidential primaries, behind South Carolina, New Hampshire, and Nevada, and ahead of Iowa.

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Geraghty addresses the whiplash effect, highlighting the hypocrisy at play, as well as the degree to which the "suppression" narrative has entirely imploded:

You can be forgiven for having some whiplash, because in 2021, President Biden called a sweeping elections bill signed into law in Georgia “Jim Crow in the 21st Century” and “an atrocity.” Biden also said, “I am convinced that we’ll be able to stop this because it is the most pernicious thing. This makes Jim Crow look like Jim Eagle. I mean, this is gigantic what they’re trying to do, and it cannot be sustained.” This law was allegedly such a terrible, racist abomination that Major League Baseball determined that the All-Star game could not be played in Atlanta, costing the state an estimated $100 million in tourism revenue...But a funny thing happened on the way to Election Day. In 2022, under laws that Democrats contended were designed to suppress African-American voters, Georgia had record turnout for the primary and record turnout for a midterm election. A University of Georgia survey found that zero percent of black respondents said their voting experience in Georgia was poor in the 2022 midterm election. Around 73 percent of black and white voters alike said their voting experience was excellent. In fact, as our Dominic Pino noticed, the survey indicated that black voters had more faith in the counting of the votes than white voters did: “On election confidence, 94.3 percent of black Georgia voters said they were confident their vote was counted as they intended, and 79.7 percent said they were confident the state counted all votes as intended. For white voters, it was 88 percent and 74.8 percent, respectively.”
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In conclusion, Geraghty asks (rhetorically), "How could it be that Georgia was too racist to host the 2021 Major League Baseball All-Star game but is not too racist to host the 2024 Democratic National Convention?"  Here's an actual answer: It's because the politicians and activists hurling the hyperbolic, factually-false, and deliberately racially-divisive accusations at Georgia Republicans don't actually believe their own garbage.  They use these things to bully corporate entities and other organizations into doing their bidding, attacking their political enemies, and reinforcing their narratives.  And they exploit fear and anger to keep their core voters motivated to turnout, while complaining that Republicans are the cynical, angry fear merchants.  It's about power, not truth.  It's about racial politics, not racial justice or fairness.  

I'll leave you with a few alternative suggestions for the 2024 DNC, which ought to be held where Democratic policies are impacting local communities most directly: (1) Washington, DC, which Democrats want to turn into a state, at the arena that McDonald's has abandoned over crime concerns.  In honor of the Democratic city counsel, DNC delegates can enjoy the new "pro-tourism" hotel tax, and organizers can allow illegal immigrants and Russian diplomats to vote on all official business.  (2) Del Rio, Texas, a major epicenter of the Biden agenda.  It's unclear if there's a venue large enough to accommodate this type of convention, but perhaps they could meet under a bridge.  Security concerns?  What security concerns?  It's all very secure, and has been for years, we're told. Plus, Biden should have no trouble ... whipping the votes, if he's running for re-election.

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