As the final minutes drained from the clock on November 6, 2018, Georgia’s gubernatorial election was over, but undecided. It would take ten more days for the losing candidate to concede. And even then, it wasn’t a concession in the traditional sense of the word. Stacey Abrams made a much less gracious announcement.
“I acknowledge that former Secretary of State Brian Kemp will be certified as the victor in the 2018 gubernatorial election.” Stacey Abrams’ admission of defeat, November 16, 2018
But she couldn’t just leave it at that.
“But to watch an elected official who claims to represent the people in this state baldly pin his hopes for election on suppression of the people’s democratic right to vote has been truly appalling.”One of Abrams’ many claims of a rigged election
Ever since election day – actually well before election day – Abrams has claimed that black voters in Georgia were suppressed and that Governor Brian Kemp, the former Georgia Secretary of State, had thrown the election. That makes for a powerful soundbite, until you review the facts.
The facts, as documented in this ABC News election recap, are that the minority vote turnout in Georgia in 2018 was 40% of the total – the highest on record. Seventy-five percent of those voters (30 percent of the total vote) were black. The 2017 census estimate indicates Georgia’s population was 32.5% black. That does not sound like voter suppression. In fact, in the history of Georgia elections, the 2018 election may have been the most diverse, least suppressed of them all. Kemp defeated Abrams by 55,000 votes.
Abrams, who served in the Georgia House of Representatives for ten years, including seven as minority leader, continues her alternate reality tour in 2020, as she lobbies for the position of President-in-waiting, a.k.a. Joe Biden’s VP nominee. From the moment Biden pledged to name a female running mate, Abrams has been clamoring for the job. She insists she is qualified, based on her ten years as a state rep and “25 years of independent study of foreign policy.”
Abrams and I are about the same age. I read a lot about politics and watch the news. I venture to say that my independent study of foreign policy is not sufficiently less than hers. I don’t have ten years’ experience in state-level politics, but I hardly think that’s a precursor for the Vice Presidency. Other women on Biden’s hypothetical short list are far more qualified. Kamala Harris, another woman of color, served as district attorney for San Francisco for six years and California’s attorney general for six years, before being elected to the United States Senate in 2016. Minnesota’s Amy Klobuchar has been elected to the Senate three times and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren is in her second term. Anyone can put their name out there, but for Abrams to says she would “be an excellent running mate,” as she told Elle recently, is fantasy. Even Sarah Palin (on paper) might have been more qualified.
Abrams played a double-header in the stadium of hypocrisy on Tuesday, appearing on two liberal network opinion programs. In an interview with Lawrence O’Donnell on MSNBC, Abrams criticized Vice President Mike Pence for not wearing a mask when he visited the Mayo Clinic, saying, “Mike Pence did that because he was trying to play to an audience of one —the man who has ruined our country in a moment where we needed his leadership the most.” Considering that Abrams herself has been playing to an audience of one recently, I took the liberty of calling her out for it on Twitter in a reply to the Washington Examiner‘s post.
The same night, Abrams appeared on CNN Tonight with Don Lemon, where the host pressed her – gently – about Tara Reade’s sexual assault allegation against Joe Biden. For an in-depth analysis of Lemon’s handling of the topic, versus his treatment of Republican guests, check out this clip from Erick Erickson’s radio show today. Here’s what Abrams tweeted in 2018 about Christine Blasey Ford’s accusations against now Justice Brett Kavanaugh:
She called Tara Reade’s comments neither courageous nor compelling. While saying that Reade should be heard, she quickly dismissed her claims, saying, “I think [Biden] is telling the truth and this didn’t happen.” She also said the New York Times did a “deep investigation” and found Reade’s claims “not credible.” The Times‘ “investigation” concluded two weeks ago and was before the Larry King video and the claim by Reade’s former neighbor (still a Biden supporter) that Reade is telling the truth.
Stacey Abrams is a smart, talented, passionate woman with the potential for a bright political career. There’s nothing wrong with swinging for the fences, as long as they are the right fences. Running for governor of Georgia was realistic. She almost won. She should maybe consider that again in 2022. If she hasn’t damaged her brand too badly by crying foul over the last election, she might have a shot.