In Fair Verona

Visiting Verona? You may have heard of the charming, little Italian town from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliett, but do you know the city’s secrets? Verona is so much more than just a place of star-crossed lovers. How do I know, you ask? I just so happen to have studied there during college. So c’mon, let’s expLaur and let me show you my fair lil Verona 🙂

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SEE

Casa di Giulietta

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All right, all right–it’s touristy. But you’re in VERONA for goodness sake. It kind of just comes with the territory. Embrace your inner lover and visit the place rumored to have been Juliett’s balcony and put a love lock on the wall. Engage in a little Verona tradition and grope Juliet’s boob (don’t ask, just do) for some good luck in love, and send a letter to the famous Capulet daughter inside.”There are even volunteers to respond to these mostly lovesick people (see www.julietclub.com).”

Fun fact: Though there was no real Romeo and Juliet here in Verona, Shakespeare actually did model his famous love story after a real feuding family of verona and juliett’s now famous balcony once belonged to the real-life Cappello family.  

Piazza Bra

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Step foot into the Arena, and experience the ancient charm of this marvelous amphitheater. The amphitheater actually dates back to the 1st century A.D. (older than the famous colosseum in Rome!) and still contains most of its original stone.

Fun fact: Did you know that Verona is filled ancient Roman ruins? Due to Verona’s pristine location,  the city was used as a common resting place for ancient Romans on their way across the Alps back in the day. If you look hard enough, you’ll find many ancient masterpieces still in tact all across the city. Pretty cool, huh?  

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Get a bird’s eye view of the city by going up the clock tower in the center of Piazza Erbe. Witness the overwhelming beauty of Verona from above, and marvel at its incredible Italian charm.

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Tip: Try to visit around Valentines Day to see the town decorated to the dime in hearts and attend the “Verona in Love” festival. 

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Piazza Erbe

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“Verona’s market square, where vendors come to slice and sell whatever’s in season. People have gathered here since Roman times, when this was a forum. The whale’s rib, hanging from an archway for 500 years, was a souvenir brought home from the Orient by spice traders. Today Piazza Erbe is for the locals, who start their evening with an aperitivo here. It’s a trendy scene, as young Veronans fill the bars to enjoy their refreshing spritz drinks, olives, and chips.”

Castelvecchio

Proudly resting on the banks of the River Adige, this Medieval fortress was constructed back in 1354 and was built to keep Verona safe. If you look closely, you can find the the Scala family’s (basically Verona’s Medici) coat of arms: the ladder.

Fun fact: Today, Verona’s soccer team, Hellas Verona F.C., uses the Scala family ladder for its emblem on it’s jersey.  

EAT

La Romana

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Man oh man, La Romana. If you’re in the mood for a tasty treat and want to indulge in one of Italy’s finest and most famous delicacies, you have to take a trip over to La Romana. With its fresh, fantastic flavors such as Biscott della nonna, this gelateria is sure to live up to every expectation. I crave it all too often. I’ve even been known to go back for a second cone; it really is that good. My tastebuds don’t lie.

Can’t decide on a flavor? No problem, get a double scoop for just €2.50. Amazing, I know.

Greppia

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Looking for a local place to get some delicious, authentic Italian food? Well look no further than Greppia. Tucked away and hidden from the main road, this restaurant is anything but a tourist trap. Their rigatoni Bolognese is without a doubt one of my personal favorites. But don’t just take my word for it, try it yourself–I can almost guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

SHOP

Via Mazzini

Walk through Verona’s largest pedestrian street and indulge your fanciest fashionista. The long alleyways of streets connects Piazza Bra with Piazza Erbe, and is quite the place to be in Verona. Shops line the streets. Oh, and did I mention the street is paved with marble?

 

 

Milan

SEE

Duomo di Milano

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If there is one thing you must do in Milan, it’s see the Duomo. Its Gothic greatness is home to thousands of statues, hundreds of figures, and over a hundred gargoyles! Buy a ticket for €2 to enter the cathedral and visit its museum, or purchase a ticket for the terrace (prices range anywhere from €4.50-€13.00) and marvel at Milan’s skyline.

The Last Supper: Make your way over to Santa Maria delle Grazie, and see Da Vinci’s iconic masterpiece, The Last Supper. The famous fresco was completed back in 1495 and has gone many restorations since, but is still incredibly fragile. A limited amount of people are allowed in the convent each day, so be sure to buy your tickets ahead of time to ensure your entry!!

EAT

Princi: Want delicious food but don’t have much time? Take a quick pit stop and head over to PRINCI. With fresh food displayed directly behind its glass countertops, it’s easy to find the food you fancy–and you’ll get it quickly too. Grab it on-the-go or take a seat at one of the bar stools. But be sure to try a bit of everything, this is Italy after all…

 

Vanilla Gelati Italiani: Give your tastebuds a little treat and indulge in one of Italy’s most famous delicacies: gelato. While strolling through the Galleria, make your way over to Vanilla Gelati Italiani and choose between unique handcrafted flavors such as salted pistachio and bitter gianduia (a blend of bitter cocoa and hazelnuts).

 

SHOP

Via Montenapoleone: Indulge your inner fashionista and visit this famous street for some of Italy’s most luxurious shopping. The street is located in Milan’s Quadrilatero d’Oro, or golden square, and boasts high-class names such as Prada, Gucci, Salvatore Ferragamo and Fendi. If your budget doesn’t quite allow such spending, it’s just as fun to wander through the street and window shop!

Tip: If your schedule permits, visit Milan during Fashion Week to get a true taste of the city’s passion for fashion. 

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

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Wander around one of the world’s oldest shopping malls and engage in a little Milano tradition. About halfway through the galleria, you’ll find a beautifully crafted, mosaic bull on the floor. Lock your right heel into the hole around the bull’s groin and spin around three times. Tradition says it’s good luck. Call me crazy, but I really think it worked!

7 Beautiful Places to Visit in Barcelona

1. Park Guell  

Experience the utter enchantment of Catalan architect, Antoni Gaudí, and wander through his 42-acre wonderland, Park Guell.

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(And one of my own personal favorites spots!)

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Step into a dreamland and explore the park’s whimsical shapes and sculptures. Get lost in its mystical alleyways and feel its strange natural familiarity.

Though visitors can explore 95% of the park for free, you’ll need a ticket to the monumental zone if you want to see the park’s most iconic sites. To avoid all the lines, book your tickets online.  Trust me, it’ll be worth it.

 

 

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Run up the central staircase and find the the colorfully crafted ceramic dragon. Feel free to snap some photos with him–I promise he won’t bite.

Before you leave, be sure to make it up the hill and see one of the park’s most famous icons: the serpentine bench. Its colorful mosaic tiles twist and turn above the city like a snake, giving the bench its name.

 

Oh, and did I mention the view?

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I know right?! Paradise.

 

 

 

Address: 08024 Barcelona, Spain

Website: http://www.parkguell.cat/en/

 

2. La Boqueria 

While inevitably strolling down the famous street of La Rambla, make your way over to La Boqueria. Walk through the grand iron gates and let your senses soar in this vast and vibrant marketplace.

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La Boqueria is as colorful as a crayon box, and a mixing pot of cuisines and cultures. You can find almost anything here, from fruits and meats to cheeses and treats, La Boqueria is truly a food lover’s paradise.

Saunter through the market in the morning while it’s still in full swing. It’s a perfect place for people watching. Oh, and I forgot to mention the best part:  IT’S FREE (if of course, you manage to walk out of there without succumbing to the thousands of tasty temptations…)!!

Hours: Monday – Saturday 8:00 – 8:30

Address: La Rambla, 91, 08001 Barcelona, Spain

 

3. Palau de la MĂşsica Catalana

Visit the famous Art Nouveau music hall and give your eyes and ears a little treat. As a  UNESCO World Heritage Site, this place is sure to please.

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Stop by the Concert Auditorium, where you’ll find a gorgeous interior decorated with flower motifs and a colorful, stainglass skylight said to represent the sun.

Guided tours are available in multiple different languages, but note, the palau is still a working music hall with live performances, so tours may not always be available. Check and book online before planning to tour.

If you wish to attend an event as well (I highly recommend it!) you can find a schedule of events here.

Address: C/ Palau de la Música, 4-6, 08003 Barcelona, Spain

 

4. Casa Mila

Venture over to Casa Mila for another one of Gaudi’s mosaic masterpieces. Also known as La Pedrera, the building is famous for its unique shapes and sculptures.

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Head up to the roof and find yourself transported into a psychedelic dream filled with strange statues and winding walkways.

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Tip: You can also purchase the ‘Gaudi’s Pedrera: The Origins’ ticket  and experience the museum by night to enjoy an audiovisual show with lights and colors.

Address: Provença, 261-265, 08008 Barcelona, Spain

Hours: Monday-Sunday 9AM-6:30PM, 7-9PM

 

Be sure to check out the view from the roof here as well!

5. Hospital de Sant Pau

Take a little trip to the neighborhood of El GuinardĂł, and discover the surprising beauty of Sant Pau Hospital. Yes, that’s right– a hospital. But don’t be fooled, it feels more like a fairytale city than a collection of hospital buildings.

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Still in use until 2009, this collection of former medieval hospitals is not only a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but according to their website, it’s also the largest Art Nouveau Site in the world! Who would’ve thought?

Purchase tickets for the guided tour and learn about the hospital’s fascinating history. With its domes, towers, sculptures, gardens, mosaic ceilings and stain glass windows, this site is sure to delight.

Address: Carrer de Sant Quintí, 89, 08026 Barcelona, Spain

Phone: +34 932 91 90 00

 

6. The Barcelona Cathedral (La Seu)

Journey over to Barcelona’s Gothic quarter and marvel at the raw splendor of the Barcelona Cathedral.

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More commonly referred to as La Seu, the cathedral proudly sits in Pla de la Seu, almost at the center of the Gothic Quarter.

Note its famous 13th century architecture including its spires and gargoyles.

Tip: Try to visit the cathedral on a Saturday at 6:30 P.M. or Sunday at noon for a true taste of Catalan culture. Watch in amazement as people gather in front of the cathedral and hold hands to dance the Sardana (a traditional Spanish circle dance).

 

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Address: Pla de la Seu, s/n, 08002 Barcelona, Spain

 

7. La Sagrada Família

Last but not least, head over to one of Barcelona’s biggest attractions: La Sagrada Familia.

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Though its first brick was laid back in 1882, construction on the church still continues today. Gaudi fused Gothic elements together with that of Art Nuevo to create the iconic exterior found in pictures and postcards alike.

Though it may slightly look like a clump of mud from afar, like most things in life, everything is not what it seems.

 

 

 

Its hidden details tell stories, so look closely and I guarantee you’ll be rewarded.

 

Get a glimpse of heaven as you walk inside and take in all its glory.

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Its light, airy and bright interior is a stark contrast from its dull, harsh-looking outer walls.

Address: Carrer de Mallorca, 401, 08013 Barcelona, Spain

Website: http://www.sagradafamilia.org/en/

 

 

 

Enjoy Barcelona’s brilliant beauty!

xoxo,

your expLaurer

36 Hours in Prague

Making your way over to Prague but not sure how to spend  your time? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. After studying abroad in Czech’s charming capital, I compiled a list of my favorite spots and sweets. So go ahead, get expLauren!

BREAKFAST

9:00

Start your morning with a classic Czech treat, called a kolach. You’ll find the delicate pastry in most local bakeries and sweet snack shops.  Get it in a to-go bag and make your way to the metro.

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The Metro: With only three lines, the metro in Prague is easy to follow. The metro is about 40 years old, which translates to a clean, modern and user-friendly environment, according to myCzechRepublic. Trains arrive every 1-3 minutes during peak hours and every 4-10 minutes during the late evening hours. Stations open at 4:45 a.m. and close at midnight. For 310 CZK, about $15, you can buy a 72-hour pass that gives you access to the metro, tram and bus systems. You can also purchase 30-minute, 90-minute and 24-hour passes. Be sure to validate it before entering the station.

Kolach: According to the Kolach Factory, this traditional Eastern European pastry dates back to the 1700s. The name originates from the Czech word “kola,” meaning wheel, for its round shape. The warm, sweet pillow of dough traditionally encompasses a fruit filled center, though variations of the Czech classic include meat, cheese or Nutella filling.

Fun fact: Prague, Oklahoma, hosts a Kolach Festival every May, celebrating the Czech culture that has influenced the city since its foundation in 1902.

Where to find it: Erhartova Cafe
Address: Vinohradská 125, Prague 3
Hours: Monday-Sunday: 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Website: www.erhartovacukrarna.cz/en/interier.html

SNACK
10:00

The subway stop at Staromestska is the one that will bring you closest to Prague’s tourist-centric Old Town Square. While in this historic plaza, enjoy a customary Czech snack called trdelnik and climb up the iconic Old Town Hall Tower.

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The Tower and the Astronomical Clock: Built in the 14thcentury, the 69.5-meter tower gives a bird’s eye perspective of Prague’s unique towers, turrets and domes. Red roofs span for miles, creating a view that Prague City Tourism calls the most beautiful view of the entire city.

Descend the tower to visit the Astronomical Clock, one of Prague’s most famous icons and an intrinsic feature of Old Town Hall, according to Prague City Tourism. Forged in 1410, the clock chimes at every hour signaling the crowds to gather and witness the animated display of the carved characters, planets and the calendar date.

 

Fun Faview from towerct: At the top of each hour, 12 apostles and figurines pop out of the window above the astronomical dial to announce the time. Huddle around the clock for a fun show.

Trdelnik: This chimney-shaped pastry gets its name from the Slovak word “trdlo,” meaning “a churn staff” since the cake is made from rolled dough roasted around a stick. After it turns a crispy golden-brown, the treat is lightly dusted with cinnamon sugar and bits of walnut.

Where to find it: These classic Czech treats are almost impossible to miss — stands are located on almost every corner throughout Old Town Square.

BOAT RIDE
11:30

Once you’ve roamed around Old Town Square, give your aching feet a break and enjoy a scenic boat tour along the Vltava River.

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Experience Prague’s panoramic views and historic landmarks in “one of the most wonderful ways to see the city,” says Prague Boats. The 50-minute or two-hour cruise, which is offered every hour in more than seven languages, includes views of the Prague Castle, Charles Bridge and the National Theatre.

Where to find it: Cechub Bridge, Pier No. 5
Price: 50-minute cruise: CZK 290, or $14, 120-minute tour: CZK 450, or $22

LUNCH
2:00

For lunch, a walk across the Charles Bridge takes you to the bohemian area where you will find a variety of options. Shorty’s, a small restaurant where you can buy a classic Czech sausage, is one choice. Just around the corner you’ll find the John Lennon Wall. sausage_walljohnlennonwall

The John Lennon Wall: What once was an ordinary white wall is now a colorful creation that pays homage to the famous 60’s rock group, The Beatles. Located in Mala Strana, the wall is covered with Beatles lyrics, odes to Beatle’s vocalist John Lennon and beautiful illustrations. According to Prague.net, Lennon was a hero to the Eastern European youth stifled by totalitarianism and communism. His songs spoke of liberties that ceased to exist here. After Lennon’s death, Prague residents painted his picture on the wall, along with messages of freedom and peace. New paintings are added daily, displaying messages of peace, love and, of course, Beatles lyrics.

Fun Fact: “The original portrait of Lennon is long lost under the layers of new paints, but if you look hard enough you can still find tributes to Lennon and a yellow submarine!” — Prague.net

Where to find it: Velkoprevorske Namesti, Mala Strana

Czech Sausages: If you’re looking for a quick bite to eat in the midst of your sightseeing, buy a traditional pork sausage. Filling, satisfying and easy to eat on the go, Czech sausages are highly rated by travelers on Tripadvisor.

Where to find it: Shorty’s
Address: Malostranske namesti 272/1 | Mala Strana, Hlavni Mesto

The Castle
4:00

Work off those lunch calories by making your way up the hill to the Prague Castle.

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The Prague Castle: As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Prague Castle is the most-visited place in the city, according to Prague.net. Covering more than 753,000 square feet, the castle grounds are so vast that the Guinness Book of World Records named it the largest castle complex in the world. Built 1,100 years ago, the complex has survived wars, fires and invasions and featured numerous rulers and architectural styles. Home to more than four churches, four palaces, three grand halls, and eight gardens, the castle grounds require time to explore. The Gothic-style St. Vitus Cathedral and Romanesque Basilica of St. George are among the complex’s most famous works.

Fun Fact: Every hour on the hour from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., watch the ceremonious changing of the guards.

Dinner
8:30

Come back to the Charles Bridge and eat dinner at the Mylnec Restaurant overlooking the river for a scenic way to enjoy a traditional Czech favorite: goulash.

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The Charles Bridge: Built between the 14th and 15th century, the Charles Bridge is the oldest bridge in Prague, according to Prague.cz. The Gothic masterpiece allows pedestrians to leisurely stroll down its cobblestone pathway and gaze into the surrounding Prague cityscape. Adorned with 30 statues around its edges, the bridge’s 16 arches rise 1,700 feet above the Vltava River. Visit around sunset to enjoy a view of the Prague Castle silhouetted against the changing colors of the night sky.

Fun Fact: In 1965, the site became a pedestrian-only bridge due to the threat carriages, buses and cars posed to its preservation.

sunsetGoulash: The dish originates from Hungary but is also “quintessentially Czech,” according to National Geographic. The meal is a soup or stew filled with savory pieces of tender, seasoned meat and vegetables. In the Czech Republic, no goulash is complete without bread dumplings to soak in the sauce and spices.

 

 

Where to find it: Mylnec Restaurant
Address: Novotneho Lavka 9, Old Town
Hours: Daily 12:00-15:00 & 17:30-23:00
Website: www.mlynec.cz

 

NEXT MORNING 

Breakfast
8:00

Begin your day at Mama Coffee and order a traditional cake called babovka. Take your breakfast around the corner to the Prague TV Tower.

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The TV Tower: The 700-foot tower provides Prague with TV and radio as well as a beautiful 360-degree view of the city, according to myCzechRepublic.

Fun Fact: In 2000, the artist David Černý added sculptures of babies to the tower’s edges, making it seem as though babies are crawling up and down its façade.

Where to find it: Mahlerovy sady off Ondříčkova street, outside of Vinohrady in the neighboring district of Žižkov
Hours: Daily 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Babovka: More commonly known as a pound cake, this light and fluffy pastry is a common delicacy in the Czech Republic. Baked fresh every Sunday by mothers and grandmothers, the pastry contains ingredients that change based on the season, says a Mama Coffee clerk.

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Where to find it: Mama Coffee
Address: Náměstí Jiřího z Poděbrad 12, Praha 3
Hours: Mon-Fri: 8:00 am – 7:00 pm. Sat-Sun: 9:00 am -7:00 pm.
Website: www.mamacoffee.cz/kavarny

Beer Garden
11:00

The Czech Republic has the highest consumption of beer worldwide, according to Czech Beer Tours. If you want to be part of the beer culture the Letna Beer Garden offers an afternoon outdoors that features Czech classic beers and cheese.

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Letna Beer Garden: Atop a hill, this green haven hosts rows of canopied trees that stand over long, wooden picnic tables. Guests can overlook Prague’s famous red-roofed cityscape without even having to leave their seats. With a beer in hand, this site is great for relaxing and enjoying Czech tradition, beauty and nature.

Beer and Nakládaný hermelín: Nakládaný hermelín is a Czech cheese soaked in oil and spices that give it a traditional flavor and soft, gooey texture, according to Prague.net. Paired with beer and bread, this cheese is a Prague classic that compliments the country’s most famous drink.

Where to find it: Letna Beer Garden
Address: Letenské sady (Letná Park)
Website: www.praguebeergarden.com/pubs/post/letna-beer-garden

Is Purple the New Peach?

By: Lauren Sloan

Athens, Georgia – Although election polls predicted a deadlock race in Georgia in 2016, Republican nominee, Donald Trump, won the state 51-45, but political experts still agree the peach state is on a path toward purple.

Georgia has not “gone blue” since Southern Democrat, Bill Clinton, took office back in 1992, making 2016 polls rare and enticing. But Ryan Williamson, a PhD candidate studying elections, warns to take election polls with a grain of salt.

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“Polling is really finicky,” Williamson admitted. “Polling is exciting, but at the same time I think it can be misleading sometimes too.”

Dr. Charles Bullock, a political science professor at the University of Georgia, knows this all too well. Many of the earlier polls were conducted right after the Democratic National Convention, he noted, thereby giving Clinton a deceptive advantage. He also mentioned speculation occurring in the political science world known as “the bashful Trump voter.” The phenomenon assumes Trump supporters were less likely to respond candidly to the polls, if they even agreed to respond at all. Moreover, Bullock warned that people may not have necessarily voted for Trump, but it may have just been a vote against Clinton.

The 2016 Candidates

“Hillary Clinton is not a good candidate.” Bullock admitted. “She’s not charismatic, she’s not inspiring, and so if she had to compete against, say Marco Rubio or John Kasich, I think she’d have been blown away.”

Dr. Barry Hollander, a professor at the University of Georgia teaching an undergraduate course on public opinion, agrees. Clinton was not an exciting candidate, he said, and noted her inability to galvanize voters in a way that got them to the voting booth. She had the experience, he said, but that was part of the problem. The people wanted change and the 2016 exit polls proved it. In fact, this year’s exit polls showed that 4 in 10 Georgians thought the most important quality in a candidate was his or her ability to bring about change. Of those voters, over 80% voted for Trump.

“I think Trump was the right message at the exact right time,” Hollander said. “There was a large chunk of society that wanted change. They’re tired of the status quo. They’re tired of the gridlock in DC,  they’re tired of nothing ever getting done….that isn’t the American way. The american way is to get stuff done.”

Trump’s message resonated with many Americans that felt left out, Dr. Hollander explained, especially those in the white, working class. In fact, even after Trump’s crude and misogynistic comments, exit polls showed Trump was still able to secure 70% of the white women vote in Georgia, a whopping 44% higher than Clinton.

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Though some of the exit poll results may seem surprising, Hollander admitted, with hindsight they are not that hard to believe. People have an incredible way of looking past things, he noted.

“I think it’s always been the case in American politics that jobs beat everything. Paying your bills beats everything. Sending your kids to school beats everything, putting food on the table beats everything,” Hollander said.  “And so they can look past his stuff about women.”

Geography

Despite this year’s results, not all hope should be lost for Georgian Democrats, Bullock admitted. Just twelve years ago, he said, there were only 3 blue counties in Metro-Atlanta: Fulton, DeKalb, and Clayton. Obama added three more to it in 2008, he said, and this year, both Cobb and Gwinnett went blue as well. It was the mountain counties where Trump got the victory, Bullock admitted.

“The state itself will turn blue or turn purple when the urban vote outnumbers the rural vote,” Bullock predicted. “I think we will start seeing that in the 2020’s.”

Demographics

Although exit polls show Clinton won 89% of the black vote, and 67% of the Latino vote in Georgia, the two minorities only make up 34% of the state’s overall population. However, according to a PEW Research Center study, Georgia’s demographics are changing. The organization found a gradual increase in Georgia’s minority populations while showing a steady decrease in the state’s overall white population.

Jamie Carson, a political science professor at the University of Georgia who specializes in American politics, said that these demographic shifts are not usually mirrored in the voting booth. The issue, he explained, is that the demographics of the state are actually quite different than the voters of the state.

“Demographics are improving for the Democrats, but the turnout still reflects more of a Republican pattern,” Carson said. “You’d have to increase voter registration rates and participation rates among African Americans and Hispanics–and then they all have to turn out.”

In fact, Ryan Williamson, a PhD candidate studying American elections at the University of Georgia, said that lower income voters, minority voters, and younger voters are all significantly less likely to show up at the polls than their more conservative counterparts. However, he still believes that these demographic shifts will mix Georgia’s red and blue voters together in the future.

“Demographic shifts are contributing to a more purple-ish Georgia,” Williamson admitted. “But that appearance is being exaggerated by the presence of Trump. I don’t know that we’d see that close of a race with a more popular Republican candidate.”

For more, click here to watch a video about this story or watch below.

 

*If you would like to view this story which has been published on Grady Newsource website, click here.*

Is Purple the New Peach?

Although summer polls suggested Georgia might lose its red state-reign this 2016 election year, political experts agree that Georgia is not becoming blue, but is on a path toward purple.

In more recent peach state polls, Republican nominee, Donald Trump, has only been able to garner a very moderate GOP hold in Georgia, which is rare considering the state has not voted Democratic in almost 25 years. In fact, Georgia has only voted for two Democratic presidential candidates in the past 40 years: Bill Clinton back in 1992 and its very own Jimmy Carter in 1976 and 1980. Barry Hollander, a professor at the University of Georgia, teaching an undergraduate course on public opinion, believes Trump’s continuous, controversial remarks might explain why Georgia seems to be swinging this election cycle.

“The easy answer is Trump,” Hollander said. “It’s like barnacles on the bottom of the ship that accumulate and slow down that boat. Trump has all these barnacles growing on his campaign, the things he’s said, the people he’s pissed off, that is hurting him among enough traditional Republican voters that he’s doing less well than he should be.”

Trump’s contentious remarks about women, race, and religion have even caused Republicans such George W. Bush and John McCain to withdraw their support. However, data has shown there might be more to the equation than just Trump himself. According to a PEW Research Center study, Georgia’s demographics are changing, and point to a steady increase in the state’s minority populations, all of whom tend to vote more liberally. Jamie Carson, a political science professor at the University of Georgia who specializes in American politics, does not expect to see these demographic shifts mirrored in the voting booth. The issue, he explained, is that the demographics of the state are actually quite different than the voters of the state.

“Demographics are improving for the Democrats, but turnout still reflects more of a Republican pattern,” Dr. Carson said. “You’d have to increase voter registration rates and participation rates among African Americans and Hispanics…and then they all have to turn out.”

In fact, Ryan Williamson, a PhD candidate studying American elections at the University of Georgia, said that lower income voters, minority voters, and younger voters are all significantly less likely to show up at the polls than their more conservative counterparts. However, he still believes that these demographic shifts could mix Georgia’s red and blue voters together in 2016.

“Demographic shifts are contributing to a more purple-ish GA,” Williamson admitted. “But that appearance is being exaggerated by the presence of Trump. I don’t know that we’d see that close of a race with a more popular Republican candidate.”

Both Williamson and Carson believe the peach state is still at least decade or two away from being a true swing state like that of Florida or North Carolina. The two agree demographic shifts take years to happen, let alone for them to change the entire outcome of a presidential election.