Last week, we noted that the big “fact checker” sites all passed on correcting Stacey Abrams as she runs around unfactually claiming “I won” the Georgia governor’s race. On Friday, PolitiFact took up Sen. Kamala Harris endorsing the view that Abrams (and Florida gubernatorial loser Andrew Gillum) were winners, except for “voter suppression.” PolitiFact’s Amy Sherman offered the quote:
"Let's say this loud and clear — without voter suppression, Stacey Abrams would be the governor of Georgia, Andrew Gillum is the governor of Florida," Harris told the NAACP in Detroit May 5.
David Rutz at the Washington Free Beacon asked the obvious question: “Why no rating?” Their explanation is typically lame.
It isn’t possible to prove if any election law or policy in either state cost the Democrats their elections, so we aren’t rating the statement by Harris on the Truth-O-Meter. However, our review found there’s more to the story of why these Democrats lost both races.
PolitiFact turned to Ohio State election-law expert Daniel Tokaji, your usual “mainstream media” source. “Before arriving at Ohio State, he was a staff attorney with the ACLU Foundation of Southern California and Chair of California Common Cause.” He said:
"The only really honest answer is that no one knows for sure how much voting was depressed by the alleged acts of ‘voter suppression’ by former Secretary of State Kemp," he said. "It’s not necessarily inaccurate for Sen. Harris to make this claim, but it is speculative."
These "fact checkers" are remarkably subjective. Democrats get the pass as "not necessarily inaccurate" in their red-meat speeches to the liberal base. But when Donald Trump says the Russia investigation was a "coup....an attempted coup," it wasn't just rhetoric. PolitiFact rated it as a "Pants on Fire" lie, assembling academic experts to explain that "coup" is defined in very specific ways that make Trump a liar.
Democrats are running around saying we're in a "constitutional crisis," and no one expects these liberal "fact checkers" to evaluate it.
In the case of Harris, the experts don't suggest that it's kooky to chant "voter suppression" in Georgia, even as PolitiFact admitted "55% of eligible voters exercised their right to vote, about 21 points higher than the state’s 1982-2014 midterm average."
The experts are carefully aligned with the bias of PolitiFact: "Record turnout shows more voters were interested in the election, said Barry Burden, a University of Wisconsin-Madison political science professor. It isn’t proof about whether voter suppression occurred."
At this point, PolitiFact has rated Harris as True or Mostly True on ten occasions, and False or Mostly False on six. She has zero "Pants on Fire" punishments.