During an interview with failed 2018 Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, ABC reporter Linsey Davis tossed a series of softball questions at the Democratic media darling. Davis indulged Abrams’s conspiracy theories about voter suppression, failed to push back on her claim that “we won,” and teed her up to call President Trump a racist.
The interview aired on Sunday’s edition of This Week. Before playing the segment, guest host Martha Raddatz played a clip of Abrams’s “non-concession” concession speech. Abrams lost the Georgia gubernatorial election to Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp; who beat her by a margin of 1.4 percentage points and more than 50,000 votes.
Davis began the interview by asking Abrams “Do you believe that elections are essentially rigged?” Abrams made it perfectly clear that she believes this by citing voter ID laws, the purging of voter rolls, and the closing of precincts as examples of voter suppression; apparently failing to realize that minority turnout surged in Georgia in spite of the so-called “voter suppression” in 2018.
It did not take long for the conversation to focus on the 2018 election; when Davis asked Abrams why she told a crowd in Las Vegas recently “we won” despite the fact that she did not win. Davis deserves credit for asking the question but she failed to follow up on Abrams’s ridiculous answer.
After Abrams finished arguing that accepting she lost the election would diminish the will of “the 1.9 million people who voted” for her, Davis promptly changed topics; first asking Abrams if she wanted to be Vice President and then playing identity politics by claiming “I have heard in the black community people saying it’s going to take an old white man to beat an old white man.”
Towards the end of the interview, Davis asked the main question: “Would you say that President Trump is a white supremacist or a racist?” Not surprisingly, Abrams chose to answer that question in the affirmative; reminding Davis that “I have said many times he’s racist.” Abrams went on to claim that President Trump “does not value Americans and he does not value humanity and that should be more disturbing to everyone than the title that we prescribe to him.”
Davis had a golden opportunity to do the job the so-called “fact checkers” have failed to do by calling out Abrams for failing to abide by one of the norms of American democracy, where the loser of an election concedes. Likely as a result of liberal media bias, she blew the opportunity. It looks like Abrams will continue to get away with her false claim of victory for the foreseeable futures.
A transcript of the relevant portion of Sunday’s edition of This Week is below. Click “expand” to read more.
This Week With George Stephanopoulos
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STACEY ABRAMS: I acknowledge that former Secretary of State Brian Kemp will be certified as the victor in the 2018 gubernatorial election. But to watch an elected official, who claims to represent the people in this state, baldly pin his hopes for election on the suppression of the people’s democratic right to vote has been truly appalling. So, let’s be clear, this is not a speech of concession.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARTHA RADDATZ: That was Georgia’s Stacey Abrams last November at the end of her bid to become the first African-American female governor in the US; mincing no words that she believed voter suppression gave the election to her opponent. Now, after months of speculation about her political future and whether she would join the crowded 2020 presidential field, Abrams this week launched her new initiative, Fair Fight 2020; focused on taking on what she calls voter suppression in the upcoming election. ABC’s Linsey Davis traveled to Atlanta to discuss Abrams’ efforts.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LINSEY DAVIS: Do you believe that elections are essentially rigged?
ABRAMS: What I mean by rigged is this, we have a right to vote in the United States that is afforded to eligible American citizens. But we have seen over the last 20 years, a constriction on who has the right to use that right. We have seen it through voter I.D. laws. You can’t get on the rolls and if you get on the rolls, you can’t stay. You may not be able to cast your ballot because they close your precinct or they change the rules. That’s rigging the game.
DAVIS: You have suggested that voter suppression is more insidious now in 2019 than it was even in the 60s. How so?
ABRAMS: We have always struggled with voter suppression. But what’s happened in the last 20 years is that it’s gone underground. It’s no longer hoses and laws that say you cannot vote. It is this insidious nature that says it’s race neutral; that we’re just putting in these…these laws in place for everyone. But we know that it has a disproportionate effect on the communities that have long been marginalized.
DAVIS: In the last presidential election, there was a decrease in black voters for the first time in two decades, your initiative obviously is to make sure people can vote. How do you make sure they show up at the polls?
ABRAMS: In America, we can choose to vote or not vote. Good candidates give you a reason to vote but good government makes certain you can cast that vote and what I take exception to is that we do not have people in government who are living up to their obligations. In fact, they are thwarting the will of the people by denying them access and that’s just wrong.
DAVIS: You have decided not to run for President.
ABRAMS: I have.
DAVIS: Why is it a better personal choice for you to focus on voter suppression than to run for President?
ABRAMS: I’ve been privileged in my life to try many different things. I’ve been an entrepreneur, I’ve been a writer, I’ve been a tax attorney, I’ve been what my mother calls on a trajectory of downward economic mobility by taking on public services opportunities without regard to what the pay is because I don’t think you go into politics for the money and you don’t go into it for the title. You go into it for the work and with each decision I have made about the jobs I apply for, which is what you do when you run for office, I make certain that it’s the right job, that I’m the right person and it’s the right time and when I looked at this current crop of candidates running for the Democratic nomination, I think they’re extraordinary and I think voter suppression is an intrinsic problem that is bigger than just Georgia. Georgia was emblematic of it and certainly was a singularity in terms of how grotesque the process was. But we’re not alone. And so for me, the decision not to run for President was one of saying “where could I do my best work?” And that’s making certain that we set up voter protection teams across the country.
DAVIS: You know, the polls show that Democratic voters, they’re worried about the economy and health care and immigration and abortion and gun control. It rarely comes up that people are worried about voter suppression. You feel this is more important than those other issues?
ABRAMS: No, I think this is fundamental to tackling those other issues. The ability to vote is how you tackle climate change. We can’t have climate change legislation simply by wishing it, we have to be able to vote into office our representatives.
DAVIS: You have said as recently as this past Tuesday, in front of the crowd in Las Vegas, that we won. Why continue to use that language; we won?
ABRAMS: Because winning an election is not simply about a candidate getting to cross the finish line and get the job. What I wanted, what the thousands of people who joined me wanted, what the 1.9 million people who voted wanted; they wanted to be seen and heard in ways they hadn’t been before. And they were and I don’t ever want to diminish that because one of the other parts of voter suppression that is so pervasive is that it starts to depress your sense of possibility. When you find it hard to exercise your right to vote, you start to think it’s not worth it.
DAVIS: Would you like to be Vice President?
ABRAMS: I am open to the conversation but we need to make sure we have a nominee first.
DAVIS: I have heard in the black community people saying it’s going to take an old white man to beat an old white man.
ABRAMS: I think that any candidate who is standing for office right now is electable because I believe Donald Trump is eminently beatable. But he’s not the target. The target is victory for our values and so the goal that I have is to make certain that we have a candidate who has the right policies but that we have a platform and a capacity to ensure that the votes are cast and counted so that that person, male or female, black, white, or Latino, becomes the next President of the United States.
DAVIS: But why do you think that Joe Biden’s message seems to be resonating more with black voters than say, Senators Harris or Booker?
ABRAMS: Vice President Biden is a known quantity, he’s been a part of the national conversation for decades. What I believe electability means is that you can tell the people not only what you’re going to do but why it matters and I am looking forward to the end of this process so we see who comes out on top.
DAVIS: Do you have any concern about some of his commentary about race?
ABRAMS: I think if you listen to the whole of what Joe Biden says, it is consistent with Democratic values and always has been. I think we, we lose out if we spend so much time focusing on missteps or malapropisms and not focusing on the content and right now, every Democratic candidate, I think, is talking about the right things and that is protecting America, renewing America, and ensuring that we are restored in our values and in our standing in the world.
DAVIS: Would you say that President Trump is a white supremacist or a racist?
ABRAMS: I have said many times he’s racist. But more importantly, he does not value Americans and he does not value humanity and that should be more disturbing to everyone than the title that we prescribe to him.
DAVIS: Let’s fast forward five years, what position would you like to have?
ABRAMS: One that helps me do the work ensuring that poverty is coming to its end, that people have access to the right to vote, that communities are vibrant and thriving. I want to stand in office and do the work it takes to make sure that we have a fair fight in our elections, that we have a fair count about who’s here, but most importantly, everyone has the freedom and the opportunity to thrive.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RADDATZ: And our thanks to Linsey Davis and Stacey Abrams.