The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Opinion

OPINION: GOP can slow change with redistricting, but they can’t make it stop

March 18, 2021 Atlanta – Asian American lawmakers including Sen. Michelle Au speaks to members of the press during a news conference on the shooting deaths of eight people, six who were Asian women, at spas, at the Georgia State Capitol on Thursday, March 18, 2021.(Hyosub Shin / [email protected])


The results of redistricting in Georgia this week have mostly turned out to be the calm after the storm, with the GOP majority giving up a handful of seats to the ascending Democrats, but stopping short of giving away their grip on the reins of either chamber in the General Assembly.

The future House map gives Democrats a new advantage in six seats of the 180-member House, while the Senate map draws at least one new Democratic seat in the 56-seat chamber. But Republicans keep a comfortable amount of breathing room in both. An AJC analysis predicts a 13-seat GOP advantage in the House and an 11-seat margin in the Senate.

“Although Republicans control everything, they have nonetheless given ground, which I think is a realization that the state is indeed changing,” Dr. Charles Bullock said. “Of course the maps haven’t changed as much as Democrats would like to see. But it is a recognition that Republicans probably can’t protect everything that they protect currently.”

Bullock is the UGA political science professor who is the state’s leading expert on redistricting. He’s called past maps examples of parties in power shooting themselves in at least one foot, and sometimes two. But Republicans in 2021 have at least recognized reality, he said.

The reality at hand is the 2020 Census, which showed 1 million new Georgia residents in the last 10 years, and a population that is significantly more diverse, better educated and older than it had been.

The Black population has grown by 13%, the state’s Asian population jumped by 53% and its Hispanic population increased by 32%. The state barely remained majority white, at just over 50%.