So says the woman who spent the last three years refusing to concede she actually lost the election. Stacey Abrams might be technically accurate by the barest of margins in claiming that she “did not challenge” her 2018 election result, but only in the sense that she didn’t file lawsuits alleging conspiracies. Instead, she’s lived for three years off of those claims in friendly media environs such as MSNBC.
Speaking of which, MSNBC has thus far not posted this part of her interview on YouTube or Twitter, but the Washington Examiner picked it up:
Abrams told MSNBC host Rachel Maddow that during her time in the Virginia state legislature she worked hard to combat Kemp’s “egregious and aggressive voter suppression activities” before they faced off in 2018 and on the night of Nov. 16 she “acknowledged” she would not be governor and that Kemp had “won the election.”
That was 10 days after Election Day when she delivered what was billed by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution as a “non-concession speech” in which she said, “I will not concede because the erosion of our democracy is not right,” even as she acknowledged there was no “viable” path forward and that Kemp would be certified the winner.
“I did not challenge the outcome of the election, unlike some recent folks did,” the Democrat insisted to Maddow.
“What I said was that the system was not fair. And leaders challenge systems. Leaders say we can do better. That is what I declared. I could not in good conscience say that, in order to protect my political future, I’m going to be silent about the political present which is that we have a system under a leader that sought to keep people from casting their ballot, that threw the ballots out, that said that voter suppression was a viable tactic for winning elections.”
And … how are those claims different than the nonsense spewed by Lin Wood, Sidney Powell, or any of the other “stop the steal” nonsense in Georgia? At the time of the election, Abrams’ main gripe was the culling of deceased and inactive voter registrations, a necessary and legally required maintenance of the voter rolls in most if not all states. Georgia allows provisional ballots for those claiming registration issues to accommodate for any errors in those processes. As for throwing ballots out, Abrams lost that election by 50,000 votes.
That’s why Abrams never launched a legal challenge to the results, which is the only way in which her claim to Maddow is in any way accurate. However, let’s not forget that she was planning a major legal blizzard up until the last moment:
Abrams made no such retreat from her criticisms of Kemp, saying she refused “to say nice things and accept my fate.” Instead, she announced plans to file a federal lawsuit to challenge the way Georgia’s elections are run. She accused Kemp of using the secretary of state’s office to aggressively purge the rolls of inactive voters, enforce an “exact match” policy for checking voters’ identities that left thousands of registrations in limbo and other measures to tile [sic] the outcome in his favor.
“Let’s be clear: This is not a speech of concession,” Abrams said. “Because concession means to acknowledge an action is right, true or proper. As a woman of conscience and faith, I cannot concede that.” …
Abrams, meanwhile, sent volunteers across the state in search of voters whose ballots were rejected. She filed suit in federal court to force county elections boards to count absentee ballots with incorrect birthdates. Her campaign even planned for possible litigation to challenge the election’s certified outcome.
Instead of a legal challenge filed in court, Abrams spent the next three years pursuing a political challenge by claiming to have actually won the election. Don’t take my word for it — Twitchy curated a few tweets that bring the receipts:
— Jay Caruso (@JayCaruso) December 3, 2021
— Matt Whitlock (@mattdizwhitlock) December 3, 2021
Here’s a little more of that 2019 NAN speech in which Abrams repeatedly claimed to have won the election, from our own archives:
Abrams on why she didn't concede:
“I refused to concede because, here's the thing: concession needs to say something is right and true and proper. … You can’t trick me into saying it was right.”
Republicans "stole" the election from "the voters of Georgia.” pic.twitter.com/JvvsRSBWkw
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) April 3, 2019
And again from 2019, here’s Abrams demagoguing shamelessly by claiming Georgians don’t have “the right to vote”:
Stacey Abrams at the DNC gala: "You don’t have the right to vote in the state of Georgia. We have the opportunity to possibly think about maybe being able to participate in the right to vote in the state of Georgia. … We don’t know the truth because there wasn’t a fair fight."
— Eric Bradner (@ericbradner) June 7, 2019
Did Stacey Abrams get shunned by the media for “undermining democracy” for her three-year conspiracy-theory campaign in explaining her loss? Hardly. For just one such example, let’s look at the Washington Post, which styles itself as the light against anti-democracy darkness. The Post repeatedly featured her as a crusader for voting rights — going so far in one such profile that they took a backlit portrait shot that made Abrams look like a caped superhero. Abrams not only feasted on mainstream media support for this nonsense (at least until the “stop the steal” movement made it too uncomfortable), all that media support allowed her to rise to Joe Biden’s running-mate short list last year.
Abrams now senses that she has to back away from all of these claims, and for good reason. Her fellow Democrats had hoped to use Trump’s election challenges against Republicans in the midterms, at least until Virginia showed that no one really cares about that in the present any longer. Abrams’ long campaign of similar election conspiracies would make that almost impossible for them, and so last night Abrams set about attempting to purge her historical record of claiming to have won the election and that Kemp was fraudulently occupying the office. Unfortunately for Abrams, such records can’t be cleaned up in an era where video is everywhere and it never fades away.