I can’t believe we’re still doing this in September 2019, nearly a year after her defeat by Brian Kemp, following numerous critiques of her claim, and months after Abrams herself stopped insisting that she won. “I have no empirical evidence that I would have achieved a higher number of votes” if everyone whom she believes should have been allowed to vote had done so, she told the NYT in April. She was questioning the basic fairness of the election, she stressed, not necessarily the outcome.
So why are Democratic presidential candidates still not only questioning the outcome but insisting forthrightly that she won?
It *is* possible to do a stump speech about voter suppression without name-checking Abrams.
A man from Georgia asked me what I will do about voting rights.
That’s because, were it not for voter suppression, Stacey Abrams would be governor right now.
We need a New Voting Rights Act, so every voice is heard and every vote is counted. pic.twitter.com/miXl7Xkq2n
— Beto O'Rourke (@BetoORourke) September 6, 2019
It wasn’t just Beto:
Here's your Friday reminder that if the GA Secretary of State hadn’t been allowed to hold back 53,000 voter registrations, Stacey Abrams would be the Governor of Georgia right now. We have to stop the discrimination at the ballot box and restore the Voting Rights Act!
— Amy Klobuchar (@amyklobuchar) September 6, 2019
It’s amazing to see them doing this after a week of Trump proving anew that he can’t admit failure in even the tiniest dispute, let alone something like a national election. It’s beyond question that he’ll claim he was cheated next year if he loses regardless of how steep the margin of defeat is. Why would Democrats complicate their post-election messaging that he’s a sore loser and a reality-denying crank by handing him and his team this tu-quoque ammunition? Do Beto or Klobuchar really think they’re in line for the Stacey Abrams endorsement if the field narrows to one of them versus a true-blue progressive like Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren?
We may yet see a decline in the “Stacey wuz robbed” line in stump speeches, not because the imperative to signal concern about voting rights has diminished but because Abrams’s own standing in the party may have slipped a little. I knew people would hold it against her that she’s not trying to win one of Georgia’s two open Senate seats next year:
There’s still some hope that Bullock and O’Rourke, despite their disavowals of interest, will run for the Senate after they scratch their presidential itches. The case of Abrams is more perplexing. She has said it would be “arrogant” to think she’s the only Democrat who could win a Senate seat in Georgia. Yet it appears she’s holding out for a vice-presidential nomination. “I would be honored,” she told WBUR’s “On Point” on Tuesday.
With the retirement of the ailing Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), both Georgia Senate seats will be on the ballot next year. And the Democrats’ best candidate won’t run for either? That’s a gift to Trump’s enablers.
Why? For the “honor” of a vice- presidential nomination? Preserving herself for another office, another time? I hope Abrams reconsiders. History won’t be kind to those who stepped aside in democracy’s time of need.
If Democrats lose one or both of those seats narrowly with lesser-known nominees, the party will remember. Imagine Trump getting a SCOTUS nominee confirmed in his second term on a 50/50 vote with Pence as the tiebreaker and both of Georgia’s Republican senators in the majority. Abrams could have blocked him if she’d run and won!
Anyway, back to the question in the headline. Has any Democrat in elected office anywhere in the country dared to offer the opinion that they’re skeptical that Abrams “really won” last year? How about the more politic opinion that they’re agnostic about the outcome of the Georgia race but that it’s irrelevant to the question of whether Democrats need to be extra vigilant about voter suppression next year? There are all sorts of ways to signal support for the underlying issue of counting every vote without embracing the Trumpish belief that she personally lost due to cheating. Anyone know of any Dems — at any level — who have voiced that opinion? I’m curious; if you can think of someone, let me know and I’ll update. In lieu of an exit question, here’s a reminder that Klobuchar has somehow managed to win three Senate elections in Minnesota, each by 20 points or more, despite delivering laugh lines as though she’s brain damaged.
Amy Klobuchar has a joke she'd like you to hear pic.twitter.com/5mh5IQepva
— The Daily Show (@TheDailyShow) September 6, 2019