Welcome to my freemium newsletter by me, King Williams. A documentary filmmaker, journalist, podcast host, and author based in Atlanta, Georgia. This is a newsletter covering the hidden connections of Atlanta to everything else. For my dad, keep staying positive!
1. DNC 2024 in Atlanta?
Atlanta is one of four cities in consideration for hosting the 2024 Democratic National Convention. Atlanta will contend against New York, Chicago, and Houston.
You can watch the reaction to Atlanta becoming a finalist in the full video here.
What the DNC/RNC brings to cities
Hosting a national convention is a form of event-based economic growth. The 2024 DNC is projected to have an economic impact of $70 million in Atlanta. For a comparable event, the annual labor day weekend of the Chick-fil-A college football kickoff generates between $70-80 million. The 2021 Chick-fil-A college football kickoff according to internal estimates by the company brought in $82 million.
What the DNC/RNC does for political parties
For cities, the DNC/RNC is a way to temporarily align your city politically, culturally, and (potentially) economically. In election years, cities can host multiple members of either the incumbency or the incoming new political faction. In the process touting the needs of either the city, the state, or both.
In the case of Milwaukee, home of the 2020 DNC, which underwent covid-restrictions plus a series of national police shootings, has called on the DNC to host the event again in the city as a way to boost economic and political support.
Why the DNC is considering Houston and Atlanta?
For the Dems, who are struggling to finally have definitive successes in sunbelt states (Arizona, Georgia, Texas, North Carolina, and Florida), there is an imperative to be in these states, where the populations are growing. Compared to the declining population’s midwest and or the deep blue-to-mostly blue states of the northeast.
The political opportunities for both parties are in the sunbelt, the problem is GOP political entrenchment, which could take decades to fully undo. Lending to the idea of hosting in either Houston or Atlanta, blue cities with blue metros in red states was a no-brainer for Democrat leadership.
Comparing Houston vs Atlanta as sites for the 2024 DNC
Population: Houston, city pop: 2.3m (640 sq mi); metro 7.2m— versus—Atlanta, city pop: 500k (134 sq mi), metro 6.14m
Houston leads in both city population and metro population, but where it lacks is overall connectivity. Houston pulls heavily from California. Atlanta pulls from everywhere else, especially from the northeast and the rest of the south.
Demographics: Houston (city): 44.5% Latino, 24.5% White, 22.8 Black, and 6.9% Asian— versus—Atlanta (city): 49.8% Black, 38% White, 4.9% Latino, and 4.8% Asian
Atlanta is both a smaller city and a smaller metro. Houston offers a larger swath of potential Latino and Asian voters. Atlanta’s population growth has seen Democrats from other states move into the state, making it more competitive but not necessarily new voters. But relocating northeast Dems are more likely to be more ardent supporters of the party. Additionally, the state of Georgia is more likely to be swayed by the turnout of Atlanta and its political infrastructure.
Education: Houston (city): 79.7% HS diploma or better, 34.3% Bachelor’s degree or better — versus— Atlanta (city): 91.7% HS diploma or better, 53.4% Bachelor’s degree or better
Houston ranks slightly lower in education than Atlanta, including only one AAU school, Rice (Houston) versus two in Atlanta Emory and Georgia Tech. Additionally, Atlanta’s annual 100,000+ new students each semester to the city + an additional 100,000+ in the metro area gives a higher density of college students year-in-out. The infrastructure (non-profits, local groups, media) needed to activate students in Atlanta is further along in Atlanta versus Houston.
Why is the DNC considering again New York and Chicago?
New York and Chicago, are two cities whose loyalty to the Democratic party dates well over a century. Both cities have hosted more DNC events than any other city has ever hosted a national convention for any political party. In 2022, both cities are needing a bit of direction, and corrections on media narratives. Both must also deal with GOP threats (see: NY Governor’s race, and Silicon Valley Libertarians vs Democrats vs Gavin Newsome). Alongside some much-needed TLC from the national party who’ve taken a beating in the GOP-led culture wars and the ever-shifting media narratives of the last two years.
Both cities have been such an anchor for the overall party but they are both vulnerable to perceptions of crime, stagnant local leadership, and concerns over the economies—taxation, affordability, housing prices, and job creation. Having a DNC could be a way to boost morale but just sending money would be better.
The case for and against Atlanta
The case for Atlanta
For Atlanta, a city that hasn’t hosted one since 1988, Atlanta’s growth over the last two years, got the Dems the Senate and provided a lifeline to the Biden agenda. In addition, the efforts of many local activists including Stacey Abrams in registering voters and making voting a priority is likely a case study of how to galvanize voters in other political districts across the country.
The case against Atlanta
For Atlanta, a state that has seen for the last 6 years, nearly all of the biggest Democrats of the Obama and Biden administrations have visited the city in some capacity. For the Democrats, there is evidence, their money, and celebrity would be better spent on a DNC in a city like Houston, which is in need of a bigger flag-making statement. Texas is on the cusp of being a purple state and needs more of a coordinated effort of outreach to the growing Latino and Asian American voters within the state.
2. The Daily Show was in Atlanta last week
The Daily Show with Trevor Noah was in Atlanta all week. The effort was part get out the vote and part of a farewell of Noah who is leaving The Daily Show after 7 years in December. All shows were at The Tabernacle downtown and marked the end of the steady output of live political events in Georgia for the 2022 midterms.
The week in Atlant featured stops at The Trap Museum, Waffle House, Magic City, The Grocery Spot, and Centennial Park. Alongside skits featuring notable Atlanta personalities. Skits include an attempt to make a midterm-related hit single by Roy Woods with uber manager Nick Love, a segment with Atlanta Influences Everything co-creator Bem Joiner, a studio session with T-Pain, in addition to more important interviews with Stacey Abrams and US Senator Rev. Raphael Warnock.
3. The media perception of Georgia
Georgia since 2018 has been in the middle of a change not foreseen by those on the national stage. The near win of Stacey Abrams plus the 2020 and 2021 elections have changed the purview of the once-super-red state. The state is still very red in terms of leadership but nearly dead even in voter preference, at least by 2020 turnout.
Georgia is getting more national media attention
Since 2018, Georgia has seen a deluge of funds think pieces, videos, national news coverage, and other portions of flyover journalism in the state. The national coverage has been a bit of a boon to the state considering the role of the AJC and local tv has been in shaping media narratives, especially ones not centered on ‘crime’ and Atlanta ‘corruption’. It’s been national outlets providing much of the deeper analysis and storytelling that’s been needed. The big-3 cable news outlets, the US paper of record, VICE, plus national DC-based publications can’t get enough of Atlanta.
Will the coverage continue post-midterms?
While other local outlets have either mostly sat out this electoral season, attempted to be non-partisan, put out good content that’s mostly been ignored, or just without the financial muscle to compete. Considering the mood around Abrams and the Dems seems to be falling a bit below 2020 enthusiasm, the question of whether or not this national attention will continue is one that will emerge post-the 2022 midterms.
House Speaker David Ralston to step down
Georgia Speaker of the House David Ralston (R-) is stepping down. Ralston has been the Speaker of the House since 2010, overseeing the tenures of all three Republican Governors (Perdue’s final year, plus Deal, and Kemp). Ralston is leaving after GOP infighting has defined 2021 and the first half of 2022. Post-midterms the new Speaker of the House in 2023, will be overseeing a state GOP that could be at its most powerful ever. As to who will fill the void, there is a deluge of people for the role.
From the AJC-The Jolt: GOP like ‘crabs in a bucket’ after David Ralston’s decision (11/5/22)
It’s far from certain who will fill Ralston’s void, but the jockeying has already begun. State Rep. Barry Fleming, a Ralston rival who authored Georgia’s new voting law, told us he’s definitely running.
Other contenders include state Rep. Jan Jones, the No. 2 Republican in the House; House Majority Leader Jon Burns; and state Rep. Matt Hatchett, a Ralston ally who said Republicans should wait until after the election to spar over who should succeed Ralston.
Republicans are still favored to win big on Tuesday, leading to an even more crowded series of decisions to take place before January’s legislative start.
Kwanza Hall endorses Governor Kemp and Burt Jones
In a surprise, last-minute announcement, former US Congressman (even if it was a month-ish) and Atlanta City Councilman Kwanza Hall is endorsing incumbent Governor Brian Kemp for re-election and Republican Lt. Governor Candidate Butch Jones over Democrat Charlie Bailey. For Hall, this can be seen as a move of spite as Hall, echoes his displeasure with Charlie Bailey (who beat him at the polls for the nomination for Lt. Governor in May) as well as the Stacey Abrams faction of the Georgia Democratic Party. Hall has been rumored to be at the wrong end of Stacey Abrams’s preferences and can be seen as sticking a middle finger to the two campaigns.
Other Red Clay News:
A new 519-acre, 1,400-home development in Gwinnett has been announced.
Walmart received $23 million in Georgia tax breaks but is laying off 1,400.
Atlantic Station is getting a new 360-unit apartment complex.
A standalone gas station in Summerhill has been proposed, along a transit route.
An Old Fourth Ward affordable housing development has secured financing.
Warner Robbins homeowners will be paying more in property taxes this year.
MARTA’s on-demand shuttle pilot receives high marks in a limited run.
The Edgewood Avenue building that initially destroyed SoundTable is nearing completion.
Atlanta is the new north star of the Democratic Party, it’s time leadership acts like it.
Thanks for the newsletter! Is the development in Gwinnett single family homes?