Georgia voting explosion marks beginning of the end for Stacey Abrams

Photo illustration of Stacey Abrams
Getty Images/Madeline Monroe

“Jim Crow 2.0 is about two insidious things: voter suppression and election subversion. It’s no longer about who gets to vote; it’s about making it harder to vote. It’s about who gets to count the vote and whether your vote counts at all. It’s not hyperbole; this is a fact.”

That was President Biden in January during a speech in Georgia pushing the Democrats quest to federalize voting rights. Biden has played the Jim Crow 2.0 card multiple times, during his presidential campaign and while in office. His vice president, Kamala Harris, was tapped to lead the administration’s “voters rights” effort after doing such a fine job fixing the border crisis. 

“I don’t want an America of the future for my kids to be in an America where we … are suppressing the right of the American people to vote,” Harris declared in echoing her boss. 

And then there’s two-time gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams (D), who alleged that the Georgia law purposely suppresses minority turnout.

“There are components of it that are indeed racist because they use racial animus as a means of targeting the behaviors of certain voters to eliminate their participant and limit their participation in elections,” Abrams said in Senate hearings after the law was passed in 2021.

Fortunately for those who embrace sanity, Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) opposed blowing up the filibuster, thereby making it impossible for the voting bill to achieve the necessary 60-vote threshold. On cue, the usual suspects in the media accused Manchin and Sinema of destroying democracy, because without this bill passing, voting would become as hard to do in this country as buying baby formula. 

“Failure on Voting Rights Would Be Historic” — New York Times 

“Manchin, Sinema join with GOP in rejecting attempt to change filibuster rules, effectively killing Democratic voting bill” — Washington Post

“How Joe Manchin Knifed the Democrats — and Bailed on Saving Democracy” — Rolling Stone

Georgia has become the front lines of the voting debate. Last year, Republican leaders made some changes to existing laws to restore public confidence in the system. Democrats, followed by major corporations in the Peach State including Coca-Cola and Delta Air Lines, cried foul while making laughable claims that the voting law changes would make voting noticeably harder in the state. Major League Baseball even moved its annual All-Star game out of Atlanta last summer. 

But a funny thing happened this month in Georgia. Early voting records were set. More people voted in a primary than ever before. 

In three weeks of early voting, more than 857,00 votes were cast, marking a 212 percent jump over the 2020 presidential primaries and a 168 percent jump over the 2018 gubernatorial primaries in Georgia, according to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger last Friday. 

But how can that be? The president once declared that if you’re on the side of keeping voting laws in the hands of individual states, as they’ve always been, you’re the 21st century version of Bull Connor and Jefferson Davis.

“I ask every elected official in America: How do you want to be remembered?” the president asked not too long ago. “At consequential moments in history, they present a choice: Do you want to be on the side of Dr. King or George Wallace? Do you want to be on the side of John Lewis or Bull Connor? Do you want to be on the side of Abraham Lincoln or Jefferson Davis?”

What malarkey. Because if Joe Biden has always been this champion for making voting as easy as possible, he might have done something about it while representing the state of Delaware as a senator for decades. Not many states make it harder to vote than the home of the Blue Hens, which, though primarily under Democratic leadership for decades, never allowed early voting until this year. 

Meanwhile, the nonpartisan Center for Election Innovation and Research found that Georgia is listed among the easiest states to vote. And when Delaware finally does allow for early voting in 2022, it still will offer seven fewer days of it than Georgia affords its citizens. 

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who has also been especially vocal on this issue, might want to check her hypocrisy at the door. Warren called Georgia’s new voting laws “a despicable voter suppression bill.” Yet, Massachusetts allows for only 11 days early voting compared to Georgia’s 17. Whoops. 

As for some quarters of the media, let’s just say the coverage has been, well, confused. 

“Voting is surging in Georgia despite controversial new election law,” reads a Washington Post headline. “Tuesday’s primary is the first big test of the legislation, which was opposed by voting rights groups and Democrats.” 

“Early Voting Surges as Georgia Watches for Impact of Election Law,” says the New York Times. “Republicans argued that their new election law was not suppressing votes. Democrats said voters were simply overcoming new hurdles. Ultimately, it is too early to draw firm conclusions.”

Ah yes, overcoming new hurdles. It’s called acting like an adult and taking advantage of all the wonderful options that early voting, absentee voting and simply showing up on Election Day at a polling center near you provide. 

Democrats overplayed their hand again by invoking racism, alleging suppression and saying democracy is imperiled if X, Y, Z doesn’t go their way. 

Voting rights will no longer be an important issue come the November midterms. Because as Georgia shows us, it’s not really an issue at all. 

Stacey Abrams just lost her signature issue. She’ll be facing off with Gov. Brian Kemp again. And Biden is at 33 percent approval in the state. Abrams is now a candidate without a central message in a state where the leader of her party is approved by one-third of voters and her opponent is relatively popular, if his decisive victory over David Purdue is any indication. 

Those aren’t political headwinds, that’s a full-blown squall. 

Joe Concha is a media and politics columnist.

Tags Brian Kemp Elizabeth Warren Georgia governor's race Georgia gubernatorial race Jim Crow Joe Biden Joe Manchin Kamala Harris Stacey Abrams Stacey Abrams Voting laws voting rights

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