Consider the suburbs of Atlanta, in the news because a Democrat has a chance to win a formerly deep red congressional seat:
At first blush, Johns Creek might be mistaken for the perfect example of a white-flight Sun Belt suburb. Just over a decade old, the city of 83,000 sits squarely in the congressional district once represented by Newt Gingrich, with excellent public schools and master-planned communities so pristine they could have been built by a model train aficionado. In 2015, the all-white City Council rejected the idea of expanding public transit out from the majority-black city of Atlanta, some 25 miles to the south, on the grounds that it “would increase high-density housing.”So the question is, will the new Asian, Hispanic and black residents of these suburbs continue to vote their ethnicity, or will they change over time into more typical suburbanites?
But something has been happening in Johns Creek — and, indeed, across much of the vast archipelago of cul-de-sac communities north of Atlanta that served as the launchpad for Mr. Gingrich’s 1994 Republican revolution. The promise of a suburban idyll has been increasingly attracting all kinds of people — many of whom are not white, and not Republican. . . .
Ms. Enjeti, who moved to Georgia 10 years ago from Pennsylvania, is among the 24 percent of people in Johns Creek who are of Asian heritage. Today, Indian-Americans shop for saris at the Medlock Crossing strip mall and flock to the latest Bollywood hits at the multiplex. Chinese-Americans and food lovers of all stripes head to the Sichuan House, near the Target and Home Depot stores, for sliced pork ears in chili sauce and “tearfully spicy” mung bean noodles.
Indeed, the northern Atlanta suburbs, once considered bastions of Republicanism, are experiencing an identity crisis. . . .
Republicans here reject the idea that demography is political destiny. Instead, they envision a future in which the charms of suburban life, and the conservative politics that made it possible, will rub off on everyone. Instead of the newcomers changing the suburbs, they say, the suburbs will change the newcomers.In the short term ethnic identity will rule, as it usually does. But in the long haul I can see things playing out exactly as Altman suggests, especially for Asians. The danger that the Republicans face in embracing Trump's ethnic nationalism is that it will block that process and turn generations of Asians and Hispanics into loyal Democrats, ready to accept higher taxes and so on if that is what it takes to fight people who don't believe they belong.
“You move to Cobb, you’ve got a good job and cheaper property taxes, and you say, ‘Hey, maybe this is a better way,’” said Michael Altman, 58, a former vice chairman of the Cobb County Republican Party.