Dem candidate Seth Moulton: "If this country wasn't racist, Stacey Abrams would be governor"

A leftover from last night. Frankly, per progressive orthodoxy, it’s borderline racist to suggest that Abrams *isn’t* governor. She won her election, after all. Just ask her. She’ll tell you. Repeatedly.

Karl Rove looked at Abrams’s claims of voter registration shenanigans in an op-ed published a few days ago. She was quiet about the law used by her opponent, then-Secretary of State Brian Kemp, to “purge” the rolls of inactive voters during her years in Georgia’s legislature, he notes.

Then there’s Georgia’s “use it or lose it” law. Passed by a Democratic Legislature and signed by a Democratic governor in 1997, it says that if a voter hasn’t shown up at the polls or had contact with election authorities (say, by signing a petition or updating an address) in three years, the state must notify him that he’s at risk of becoming “inactive.” If he then doesn’t return a postage-paid card or participate in either of the next two federal elections, he’s purged from the rolls. It’s at least a six-year process.

Mr. Kemp’s office removed 1.4 million names from the rolls starting in 2012, erasing a backlog he inherited. Still, active registrations grew from 5,033,307 when he was elected in 2010 to 6,428,581 last fall, a 27.7% increase. Much of this bump came after Mr. Kemp implemented automatic voter registration for Georgians who update or apply for their driver’s licenses. For her part, Ms. Abrams never worked to repeal the use-it-or-lose-it or exact-match law during her decade in the Georgia legislature. In fact, while she criticizes Mr. Kemp for reducing opportunities for early voting, she not only voted to require him to rein in early voting, but co-sponsored the 2011 law.

Registration of black voters actually increased by 31 percent in Georgia during Kemp’s tenure as secretary of state, noted Mark Hemingway in a piece last month, and overall turnout in the tight Kemp/Abrams race was enormous for a non-presidential year. It’d be fair for Abrams to say that, win or lose, her showing in a red state like Georgia was impressive, evidence not just that a black Democrat can win in the south but that she’s a candidate with a national future.

Problem is, Andrew Gillum could say the same thing. The “Stacey won” shtick is designed to lend Abrams a special mystique, part victim, part hero, in which she expunges an alleged injustice first by raising awareness about voter suppression and second — and more importantly — by getting elected to higher office. The idea that she’s the rightful governor of Georgia is basically an extended campaign commercial for a presidential, or vice-presidential, or second gubernatorial bid. That’s why it’s jarring to hear other presidential candidates like Moulton take up her cause. In the abstract it’s understandable: By name-checking her he’s signaling that he cares about voter suppression too and intends to make it an issue if he’s nominated. But in practice he’s promoting a potential rival candidate, one much more formidable than he is.

If she jumped in, one wonders how, and whether, the rest of the field would dare attack her. The fact that they’ve uniformly endorsed the crankish idea that she’s the “real” winner of the Georgia race shows how terrified they are of being seen as racially insensitive. To defeat her would be to re-victimize the party’s most well-known victim. Amends must be made for the debacle in Georgia; nominating her might be the only way. Until she’s a candidate herself, though, touting her victimhood is among the pithiest ways members of the 2020 field can advertise their wokeness. I may be a white guy but I’m not one of those white guys, Moulton’s saying to lefties who aren’t that keen on white guys.

Anyway, hopefully our racist country will eventually rise above its prejudices and consider a qualified black candidate not just for statewide office but for the presidency itself. May we all live to see that day!