Yikes. So now even Stacey Abrams is insufficiently woke? Ilhan Omar took issue with Abrams’ opposition to boycotts over Georgia’s new voting laws in this interview with Jake Tapper on CNN’s State of the Union yesterday. Omar scolds Abrams for ignoring the history of boycotts in the civil-rights movement, which should go over like a lead balloon in Georgia with Abrams and her allies:
TAPPER: Major League Baseball — if I could shift topics for one second to another issue of — having to do with justice, Major League Baseball pulled the All-Star Game from Georgia because of that state’s new restrictive voting law, more restrictive. Stacey Abrams says she understands why people would want to boycott Georgia in protest, but that she thinks such actions hurt the working people who would be working at the Major League Baseball game, for example, and who are disproportionately minorities. Do you agree with Major League Baseball’s decision, or do you side with Stacey Abrams when it comes to boycotts of Georgia in general?
OMAR: We know that boycotts have allowed for justice to be delivered in many spaces. The civil rights movement was rooted in boycotts. We know that apartheid ended in South Africa because of boycotts. And so our hope is that this boycott will result in changes in the law, because we understand that, when you restrict people’s ability to vote, you create a democracy that isn’t fully functioning for all of us. And if we are to continue to be a beacon of hope for all democracies around the world, we must stand our ground.
Please let it be noted at this point that Rep. Ilhan Omar represents Minnesota, not Mississippi, and that she arrived in the US decades after the civil-rights movement beat Jim Crow in the South. Abrams, on the other hand, grew up in the post-Jim Crow South and grasps the difference, even if she’s currently demagoguing on this law for her own purposes. That’s why Abrams understands that the boycotts in this case will backfire spectacularly — they’re unjust, and they will undermine support for Abrams and the Democrats in the state because they’re unjust. In many cases, they will punish people who might be sympathetic to their cause, and the economic damage of outsiders demanding boycotts will get taken out on the demagogues and Democrats.
Tapper points out the demagoguery over this bill to Omar as well. One can certainly view the Georgia GOP’s push to amend the voting laws with suspicion, especially after all the nonsensical conspiracy theories they floated after the last election. But by any measure, Georgia still do better than most states at ballot access, especially in early voting. Shouldn’t we be boycotting all of the states, using Omar’s logic?
TAPPER: There’s no question that this law is — it restricts voting, and there’s no question that it’s understandable why people are wary of the Republicans who passed it, given the big lie about the election.
But I have to say, the Georgia law, even with the new restrictions, is still more open when compared to other states, like New York or Delaware, in many ways, places that don’t have no-excuse early voting, places that don’t have early voting at all in some cases. Should everybody — should every state be reexamining their voting laws?
OMAR: They certainly should be. I mean, Minnesota is not number one in voter turnout and participation because we are special, even though we are. It’s because we have made voting accessible for people. And it is really important that every single state reexamine their voting laws and make sure that voting is accessible to everyone. It’s also going to be really important for us to continue to push H.R.1, which makes it accessible nationwide and strengthens our democracy.
In other words, it’s a publicity stunt for House Democrats. If this is about HR1, then it’s not really about Georgia, is it?