Located in the Conservative South, Georgia has not voted with a Democratic candidate for the White House since 1992. But 77-year-old Joe Biden ranks almost tied in polls with incumbent Republican President Donald Trump. for 74 years.
And Democrats are starting to dream.
Nearly 40 percent of Georgia’s voters have already voted in this crucial election, as well as in local and parliamentary elections.
And two Democratic candidates have a chance to replace Republican senators representing the state of Washington. Their victory could help overthrow the majority in the upper house of Congress.
Jamal and Michelle Jenkins came with the baby, which the father is carrying in a “baby carrier”. I’ve been in line for 40 minutes.
“Yes, I’ve made up my mind,” says Michelle, 33, smiling, wearing a black hat with small cat ears. She and her 31-year-old husband, two African-American voters, vote with Joe Biden.
For 40 years, this county, Cobb County, elected Republicans, until it sided with Hillary Clinton in 2016.
Atlanta is the “capital of color,” says Jamal Jenkins, referring to the city where Martin Luther King was born. “We are trying to mobilize to make ourselves heard.”
“MOBILIZATION RATHER THAN CONVICTION”
With a black population of three and a younger, more diverse and educated population in the Atlanta region, Georgia – with a population of 10.6 million – this time has “very few undecided voters” – only 4% -, says Trey Hood, a professor of political science at the University of Georgia.
“For the parties, therefore, it is a matter of relying on mobilization, rather than conviction.”
Donald Trump attended a large rally in Macon, south of Atlanta, in mid-October, and came to present a business aid program for African Americans in September.
Joe Biden was due to visit Peach State on Tuesday, and his running mate Kamala Harris, the first black presidential candidate, visited him on Friday.
“When we vote, we win!” She pointed out in front of some speakers, most of them African Americans.
“The demographic change of the last decades”, partly explains this so close Trump-Biden duel, analyzes Trey Hood. “But another part comes from the Democrats’ real motivation to vote against Trump.”
Before the Jenkins, Ashley Dawson looked up at them.
Born into a Republican family, this young white voter, aged 26, did not vote in 2016. This time she votes with Joe Biden “100%!”.
Trump’s four years in office have made her “sick,” she said, worried about her future as a woman.
But his support for the former vice president is rather lukewarm. “I would really like Kamala Harris.”
In front of dozens of supporters wearing “Biden-Harris” masks, the two Democratic candidates for the Senate – Jon Ossoff and Pastor Raphael Warnock – climb a stage set in a park in northeast Atlantis.
“It’s a great time in Georgia’s history,” said Raphael Warnock, who preaches in the same Ebenezer Baptist Church as Martin Luther King.
“In these times of deep dissension in our country, while the elected are spreading hatred, what is happening in Georgia is this new emerging coalition of consciences, multiracial and multigenerational, needed to bring about real change,” he said.
But the incumbent Republican president is also trying to persuade black voters.
“I don’t think Donald Trump is racist,” Vernon Jones, an elected African American Democrat in the Georgia Assembly who, like in 2016, votes with the New York billionaire, told AFP. “I give priority to my country over my party,” he said.
Trump “gave work to black men, allowed them to launch businesses, and got many out of jail,” he said near the golden dome of the Atlanta Capitol.
But if he wants to defeat Joe Biden, who is leading the nation in polls, Donald Trump must also mobilize outside his 2016 election base.
Coming out of a polling station in Gwinnett County, which, like Cobb, sided with Democrats in 2016, Ken Miller says he voted for the “first time” in his life at the age of 47.
“I voted for Trump because I hate politicians,” said a white masked voter, an employee of the health insurance system.
“He is the first to make promises and keep them,” he said.