Stacey Abrams: If we don't secure our democracy in 2020, we might be speaking Russian in 2030

Stacey Abrams: If we don't secure our democracy in 2020, we might be speaking Russian in 2030

I’ve looked around for video of this with no luck but it must be that she was making a grim joke at Trump’s expense, a deliberately absurd exaggeration to emphasize a point. I … think?

Granted, the left seems willing to entertain any scenario when it comes to alleged collusion between Trump and Russia, up to and including that Moscow changed the vote totals in 2016. A Gallup poll taken last summer found that 78 percent of Democrats believed that Russian interference was decisive in 2016 — not just that it happened but that the Kremlin’s activities changed the outcome from a Clinton win to a Trump win. A YouGov poll taken last fall during the week of the midterms found that two-thirds of Democrats believe it’s “definitely” or “probably” true that Russia tampered with vote tallies to get Trump elected, a claim which even Barack Obama has debunked as lacking evidence. “We might actually be speaking Russian 10 years from now” feels like it could potentially show up in the D-bloc of Rachel Maddow’s show on an especially slow news night. It’s comically outlandish, but the Resistance often is.

And granted, Abrams’s endless insistence that she’s the true winner of the Georgia gubernatorial race long ago proved that she’s willing to embrace crankery if only for reasons of political expedience. Case in point, the fact that Bob Mueller found insufficient evidence to charge Trump with conspiracy didn’t deter her from keeping collusion hopes alive a few weeks ago either:

She’s a Yale-trained lawyer. She understands that Mueller didn’t exonerate Trump on obstruction but did basically exonerate him on collusion, and yet her statement conflates the two issues. She also understands why the full report can’t be released to the public, yet there she was insisting that it must be. So, yeah, it’s possible that Abrams wasn’t joking about speaking Russian in 2030. That doesn’t mean she believes it, just that she knows what her audience wants to hear and is willing to deliver it to them, like any successful politician.

Relatively successful, I mean. She hasn’t won statewide office yet, nor federal office. But the progressives and data nerds who make frequent cameos in my Twitter timeline treat the prospect of another Abrams candidacy the way baseball fans treated Bryce Harper’s call-up to the majors in 2012. We are in the presence of a star with no ceiling, at whose feet history lies whimpering. (Would’ve been true in Mike Trout’s case, actually.) That’s amazing hype for someone who’s never won an election beyond the level of George state representative, but between her SOTU rebuttal, her new status as the left’s most prominent advocate against voter suppression, and the fact that she’s the only would-be 2020 candidate besides Kamala Harris who’s actually part of the women and nonwhite constituencies on whom Dems depend, she’s essentially sacrosanct. If there’s a Democratic politician in the U.S. of any prominence who hasn’t endorsed the theory that Abrams “really” won the Georgia election, I’m unaware of them. How the hell is the competition going to attack her if she jumps into the presidential race?

I think she’s going to do it. She made her Russia “joke” at one foreign-policy forum in D.C. today before heading out to another foreign-policy forum. That’s the sort of event you do if you’re looking to build credibility as a would-be commander-in-chief, not if you’re narrowly focused on voting rights. She confirmed yesterday that she’s still thinking about getting in, then dropped the following comment at one of the foreign-policy events today. If she doesn’t run for president now and ends up losing a second bid at governor in 2022, she’s probably finished as a political force. Why wouldn’t she run?

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