Stacey Abrams rewrites history on the View (Update)

Source: Hot Air

Last week the NY Times pointed out that Georgia Democrats are pretty nervous about Stacey Abrams’ chances of winning the rematch against Gov. Brian Kemp. One of the concerns about Abrams’ campaign is that she’s relying on her ability to fire up the Democratic base rather than doing what Sen. Warnock is doing, which is trying to appear moderate enough to win over a small but potentially decisive number of persuadable Republicans. The Times said there was a specific problem for Abrams when it came to approaching Republican voters.

…many Republicans still associate her with her refusal to concede defeat to Mr. Kemp in that race. Ms. Abrams has repeatedly defended that decision, particularly against those who say it was no different from efforts by former President Donald J. Trump and his allies to overturn Mr. Biden’s victory in 2020.

So it’s probably no surprise then that Abrams is on the View today doing her best to rewrite history with some help from Sunny Hostin. Hostin introduced the subject of the 2018 election by saying, “When you lost in 2018, you didn’t traditionally concede which I appreciate because you cited voter suppression.”

Abrams responds to that carefully set up question by claiming she was only claiming a moral victory. “There’s this clip that’s going around and it shows me saying that we won. What I was referring to was that we won in terms of communities that were long left out of the electoral process finally participating in ’18 in outstanding numbers.”

As you can see in the second clip above, Abrams also got an assist from the “conservative” on the panel, Alyssa Farah Griffin who made a distinction between Abrams and Trump.

But as my friend Jeryl Bier pointed out on Twitter, Abrams was doing a lot more than just claiming a moral victory. Here’s a 2019 interview she gave to the NY Times which was published under the headline “Why Stacey Abrams is still saying she won.”

I saw that recently you said something like you’d won your election but you just didn’t get to have the job. Yes.

Is there any fear on your part that using that kind of language fans the same flames that President Trump has fanned about delegitimizing our elections? I see those as very different. Trump is alleging voter fraud, which suggests that people were trying to vote more than once. Trump offers no empirical evidence to meet his claims. I make my claims based on empirical evidence, on a demonstrated pattern of behavior that began with the fact that the person I was dealing with was running the election. If you look at my immediate reaction after the election, I refused to concede. It was largely because I could not prove what had happened, but I knew from the calls that we got that something happened. Now, I cannot say that everybody who tried to cast a ballot would’ve voted for me, but if you look at the totality of the information, it is sufficient to demonstrate that so many people were disenfranchised and disengaged by the very act of the person who won the election that I feel comfortable now saying, “I won.” My larger point is, look, I won because we transformed the electorate, we turned out people who had never voted, we outmatched every Democrat in Georgia history.

Notice she’s making two different claims. First that “something happened” and people who might have voted for her were disenfranchised. And second, she’s claiming “we transformed the electorate.” But those aren’t the same things. And to the credit of David Marchese, who was conducting the interview, he immediately caught it and pressed her on it. Here was his next question:

It’s one thing to say you lost that election unfairly, and it’s another to say you won because you increased voter turnout. But can you clarify for me exactly what you’re implying when you say you “won” that election? 

Again, he realized she was saying two different things at once. And here’s Abrams’s complete answer where she clarifies that she is actually saying three different things at once.

There are three things: No. 1, I legally acknowledge that Brian Kemp secured a sufficient number of votes under our existing system to become the governor of Georgia. I do not concede that the process was proper, nor do I condone that process. No. 2, I believe we won in that we transformed the electorate and achieved a dramatic increase in turnout. It was a systemic and, I think, sustainable change in the composition of the electorate and in the transformation of the narrative about Georgia and Georgia politics. Three, I have no empirical evidence that I would have achieved a higher number of votes. However, I have sufficient and I think legally sufficient doubt about the process to say that it was not a fair election.

I don’t want to belabor this forever but she’s still saying the same things, just split up differently. She’s suggesting that Kemp got the most votes but only because the process was somehow unfair. She’s literally saying “it was not a fair election.” And then she’s separately saying it was a moral victory.

So jump back to her View appearance today and she’s running with the claim that she saw her loss as a moral victory and she’s apparently leaving out everything she’s said in the past about her losing because it was an unfair election.

I say apparently because I didn’t watch this live and the full clip of her appearance hasn’t been posted on YouTube yet. So all I have are the two clips above. But based on those it really looks like she’s omitting critical parts of her previous claims about the election.

Update: Here’s a longer version of the clip above. In this one, Abrams goes on to spell out the reasons why she things the election was stolen. “The issues that we raised in ’18, the fact that 214 precincts were shut down, that 53,000 people had their voter registrations held hostage, that 1.4 million people were purged including half a million people who simply had chosen not to vote,” she said. She continued, “We were able to tackle that because we raised the issues, because I refused to say that that was a good thing we saw, as a response, the state legislature the following year in response to lawsuits that I filed and others started to fix those problems.”

This doesn’t change anything I wrote above. What she’s saying now is that a) by refusing to concede she was claiming a moral victory at having changed the electorate somewhat and b) she was raising consciousness about various voting problems in the state. But Abrams is still leaving out a critical point, i.e. back in 2018/2019 she was also claiming she might have won if not for the election being unfair. She’s still leaving out the part where she claimed she was (possibly but not definitively) robbed.