So what’s the takeaway? Trump lost Georgia in November because wealthy, educated Atlanta suburbanites did not show up for him. But we know they are there. Many still showed up for Perdue, but they are disillusioned. People studying the effect of Trump on the GOP and Georgia should still make an effort to examine how he changed the areas outside large cities such as Atlanta. The vote totals received by Perdue in November offer one particularly useful barometer for this. He kept a number of suburbanites in the fold, but the hardcore Trump voters did not stick around down-ballot for Perdue.
The Georgia map provides several hints as to what Republicans must do going forward: It has to keep affluent, conservative suburbanites in the fold. They must also find a way to keep the Trump base — blue-collar whites — engaged with the party in the post-Trump era. The GOP has a great opportunity to pick up support among rural black voters. In Georgia, prioritizing development of the Coastal South can help. It can all be done, but it will take hard work and honesty.