When A Battle Is Lost, Move On

This week’s Courier Herald column:

It was a banner weekend for soccer fans in Georgia. The World Cup culminated with France as Champions, and the Atlanta United set yet another attendance record for Major League Soccer with the largest crowd to view a single game match. After a generation of promises, Soccer appears to be a sport that can draw fans in the deep south.

Five years ago things were a lot less certain. The lure of a professional soccer franchise was part of the sales pitch to replace the relatively young Georgia Dome with the bigger and glitzier Mercedes Benz Stadium.

I was among those that openly scoffed at the idea that Soccer would be anything other than a rounding error for the new stadium’s attendance. Let it be known for the record that I got that one wrong. With 18 home matches as part of the United’s season ticket package, it’s entirely likely that more people will watch soccer in Mercedes Benz stadium this year than will watch NFL football.

Tastes and preferences change over time. Those my age and younger have grown up playing soccer, while the number of young kids playing traditional football is declining due to injury concerns.

Another observation that I’ve seen regarding the United is that it’s the only team that is truly Atlanta’s. The folks that have moved here from elsewhere to swell Atlanta’s population usually bring a team’s loyalty with them. The United are uniquely Atlanta. They may be a fad, but younger fans indicate they are the future.

I was among the biggest critics of the decision to use public money to build the new stadium. Tying up Atlanta’s hotel tax proceeds for 30 years to replace a fully functional Georgia Dome when the city had so many other pressing infrastructure needs didn’t seem prudent.

Let it be noted loud and clear: I lost that battle.

The taxpayers’ money is now spent (with significant additional funds contributed by the Falcons’ organization) and we now have the new crown jewel for Major League Soccer. Regardless what my opinion was at the time or now, the issue is settled. We move forward, and appreciate the successes along the road that was chosen. It is, after all, the only road we actually get to travel.

Fighting lost battles is folly. The rest of the world quickly moves on. It’s much easier to pick a new cause and influence what can be changed than to attempt to prove to everyone you were right. There is little tangible value in “I told you so”.

I write all of this not to talk about soccer, as I’m frankly not a fan and don’t relate to the game. I’m still a dedicated fan of college football, and note that we’re roughly six weeks from UGA kicking off between the hedges.

I am, instead, setting up a column two weeks from now. One that is mostly written.

We will have primary runoffs on July 24th. Early voting is already well under way. Republicans will nominate a candidate for Governor, Lt. Governor, and Secretary of State. Intraparty fighting will “officially” be done. We will have nominees. Candidates up and down the ballot will have general election opposition.

The primary season has been brutal. While most arguing for their candidate will never want to admit it, there’s very little daylight between most major candidates on substantive policy issues. As is custom, the contrast between candidates become personal. Supporters tend to decide this isn’t a battle over slight material differences, but a final stand of good versus evil.

This isn’t a healthy position from which to start a general election campaign.

There’s a week left to compete for primary votes. Next Tuesday evening, there will be a slate of nominees. This slate will face the most competitive November election against an energized Democratic base this state has seen since 2002.

Partisans backing primary candidates need to do whatever they can this week to support their candidates. They also need to begin to note that November is coming.

Between July 25th and November 6th, losing candidates and their supporters need to decide if they want to maintain their statewide majority, or if they want to say “I told you so”. It’s a real choice, with a very tangible outcome.

20
Leave a Reply

Please Login to comment
4 Comment threads
16 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
9 Comment authors
Sally ForthFreeDuckalpha maleGregsATL_CRA Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
xdog
xdog

Think the Cagle/Kemp winner will actively campaign for the Atlanta United demographic? I don’t either.

Ellynn
Ellynn

What Atlanta United demographic would that be? I have 4 coworkers who are United fans (1 has season tickets). One is permit green card holder but his wife and 19 year old daughter (at Tech) are republican leaning voters. The other 3 are registered Republicans. They might not agree on Trump, but they all agree on not voting for Stacy.

bethebalance
bethebalance

I agree. Saying there is a United demographic makes super improper, and probably race-based, assumptions.

Andrew C. Pope
Andrew C. Pope

Balance, I think the prevailing stereotype of American soccer fans is that of white hipsters who refer to jerseys as “kits.” Not really a voting bloc that leans heavily Republican. In my Atlanta United experience, that isn’t the case. I’ve seen plenty of OTP suburban dads – with their polos tucked into pleated khakis – at Mercedes Benz stadium. I’ve seen Black, white (a lot of white), Latino, and Asian fans. I’ve seen gay pride shirts. It’s a completely different vibe than a Braves game, even a Braves game at Turner Field. I feel like the crowd is more representative… Read more »

xdog
xdog

The AU crowd is younger, browner, and poorer than the standard gop voter. Their fans are more likely to be female or gay than gopers as a whole, more likely to be ESL, more likely to skew left on issues like marijuana, gun control, and immigration.

If you think those are improper and race-based assumptions, too bad. I’m not trying to label every AU fan. But calling an observation biased because you disagree with it is lazy and self-serving. To me an AU crowd is substantially different from, say, a nascar or college football crowd.

bethebalance
bethebalance

There is certainly race-based assumptions in there. Just saying AU fans are “browner” is in fact just that. But dig a little deeper on that, and there are probably further assumptions. One is that Latinos or Asians are monolithic in their party preferences (They are not; although African-Americans are more aligned to the Dem party.) ACP offers the perception of the crowd as whiter, not browner. So which is more accurate? The fact is that AU is not even through its full 2nd year, and all we have is anecdotal evidence- which sure, it’s a sort of evidence- but it’s… Read more »

xdog
xdog

There is certainly race-based assumptions in there. Just saying AU fans are “browner” is in fact just that. I look at crowds and pictures of crowds. I read about the team. I talk to fans. I don’t think I’m somehow free from making assumptions, race-based and others, but I don’t think I’ve done that here. One is that Latinos or Asians are monolithic in their party preferences I don’t see how you go from what I wrote to monolith. I know full well there are Asian and Latino gopers. Never said there weren’t. Look around and you’ll see some black… Read more »

bethebalance
bethebalance

I can agree that on average, GOP voters are older (don’t know exactly on average how much older), whiter, and have higher incomes (again, don’t know how much higher offhand). But I’m just not willing to make assumptions abt AU fans. It’s possible that all your sources have selection bias.
A larger question is whether its useful to consider AU fans a political market niche, like “NASCAR dads” or “soccer moms”. I’d want to see some hard numbers before I invest in an ad.

Andrew C. Pope
Andrew C. Pope

I agree that Atlanta United’s fanbase is “browner,” but that doesn’t mean it’s “brown.” The crowd is still disproportionately white for a city that is 54% Black and a metro area that is 32% Black. Obviously, there are a number of socio-economic factors behind that. For example, income disparities make attending professional sporting events more accessible for white Americans than black Americans. Additionally, soccer in America is, by and large, a white, suburban sport with limited historical roots in the Black community. But, given Atlanta United’s appeal ITP, it may be safe to say that they have a more diverse… Read more »

bethebalance
bethebalance

Also, if we’re just talking about soccer fans, I would have to say that Cagle has a leg up based upon the candidates’ responses about hosting World Cup games. If I remember, Cagle was all Let’s Do It, and Kemp was Um, I don’t know if we should share our toys with foosball fans.

Andrew C. Pope
Andrew C. Pope

In 1988, Jack Kemp stood on the floor of Congress and said “football is democratic, capitalism, whereas soccer is a European socialist sport.” 19 year old Kylian Mbappe earned $20.5 M in salary this year at Paris-St. Germain. At 19, LeBron James was making $4 M due to the NBA’s rookie payscale. At 19, Bryce Harper was making $500 K due to MLB’s rookie payscale. At 19, Tom Brady was making $0 as a student-athlete at Michigan. The irony here is that European soccer is much more capitalistic and democratic than the big 4 American sports. There’s no draft and… Read more »

FreeDuck
FreeDuck

There’s nothing democratic about American Football. It’s more Oligarchic Feudalism.

ATL_CRA
ATL_CRA

So would it blow all of your minds that I, a Kemp staffer, have season tickets for ATLUTD?

And furthermore would your mind be further blown that I’ve worn a Kemp shirt to every home game this season and get complements and “go get ’ems” at the game?

It shows that y’all haven’t been to many if any ATLUTD games. I know of at least 2 Republican state Reps who have season tickets. Soccer isn’t just a game loved by democrats.

xdog
xdog

Did someone suggest it is? Better check your definition of ‘skew’ and ‘demographics’.

alpha male
alpha male

No what it really shows is that this particular message board is not only completely removed from average Georgians, but also completely oblivious as to how out of touch they really are.

Andrew C. Pope
Andrew C. Pope

I’d agree. You, Noway, and a couple others are completely divorced from reality.

bethebalance
bethebalance

While it may be a limited agreement, this may be the only time I’ve agreed with alpha. The point of agreement is that all humans tend to be a little myopic, leading to reinforcement of perceptions. E.g., if you wear a Kemp shirt to a game, you’re going to be much more likely to get some Attaboys from Republicans. But we also tend to generalize, and if all the young white professionals you know are Dems, than when you see a young white professional you probably initially think they’re a Dem. It’s just the way the brain is wired. When… Read more »

bethebalance
bethebalance

^ with the exception of the level of political involvement, as I imagine a lot of folks who visit here have had more than average political or campaign involvement.

Gregs
Gregs

Moving on after this republican primary will be hard. The Tippins tapes added an element we haven’t seen in Georgia. Cagle said what he said but the feeling that he was “set up” will linger if Kemp wins. If Cagle wins his attacks against Kemp and his observations about the voting base of his party will come back to haunt him until November.

Sally Forth
Sally Forth

In your dreams! Tippins was lower than a suck-egg dog to pull that dirty tricks maneuver, then feed the result to Kemp in the middle of a primary run-off. And nobody knows what kind of digital rearranging Tippins did on the audio, what was taken out of context or spliced together for a desired result of Cagle’s voice.
Whatever the primary outcome, Republicans and Independents around the state, along with some disenchanted moderate and conservative Democrats whose party has left them, are likely to coalesce against the hard-left folks now running the DPG.