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Greg Bluestein

Kasim Reed to Democrats: Demographics alone won’t turn Georgia

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Gov. Nathan Deal and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed shake hands. BOB ANDRES / BANDRES@AJC.COM

Gov. Nathan Deal and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed shake hands. BOB ANDRES / BANDRES@AJC.COM

After the 2014 election, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed had a warning for Georgia Democrats: Ignore black voters at your own peril.

Now he’s sending another sort of signal to fellow Democrats who believe that changing demographics alone will put their party over the top: Abandon the “I can win without you approach.” Said the mayor:

“The go-it-alone approach is having a really negative effect on the country, on cities and communities.  You’re better off trying to continue to problem-solve. And it keeps the community together. This go-it-alone approach is fracturing the country. If I take an ‘I can win without you approach’ and I have demographics on my side, then that gives (the other side) a reason to be hyper-defensive.”

As if to emphasize the point, Reed is planning a visit to West Virginia, one of the whitest states in the nation. He’ll tour the state with Sen. Joe Manchin, one of the most conservative Democrats in Congress.

“We’ve been talking a lot of ‘win without them,’” Reed said. “We ought to be in the business of both sides of the aisle saying at the end of the day, ‘We’re responsible.’”

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On a similar note, the news and polling aggregator RealClearPolitics is now listing Georgia as a ‘toss-up’ state for president, becoming the latest site to predict that the typically red Peach State will be in play this November.

Georgia Democrats have long argued they have a path for turning Georgia purple due in part to the state’s rapidly changing demographics. They’ve been unsuccessful in recent statewide races, but they’re particularly upbeat this year because of the prospect of Donald Trump anchoring the GOP ticket.

Our own poll of Georgia voters in mid-May put presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton within 4 percentage points of Trump, well within striking distance. However, a statewide survey conducted by Public Policy Polling a few weeks later showed Trump consolidating his position here.

Insider’s Note: A version of this post appeared in the Morning Jolt.