DECATUR, Ga. (AP) — Stacey Abrams, who built her national reputation by advocating for voting rights, is calling on Congress to take action on federal voting rules as the Democrat launches a second bid to become Georgia’s governor.
Senators including Georgia Democrat Raphael Warnock, Abrams’ close ally, have been arguing in recent days that the Senate must try again on federal voting standards, despite earlier setbacks.
Abrams, speaking to The Associated Press on Thursday, stated that Senators should override Republican opposition for new federal voting guarantee by weakening their legislation-blocking filibuster. This will allow them to elect the senators they want. Democrats’ bare majority to pass new rules. Abrams stated that if this happens, the majority of Republican-dominated states legislatures across America will pass voting restrictions like Georgia did this year.
“Starting in January, when legislators come back into session in 2022, we’re going to see a maelstrom of voter suppression laws. It is understandable that people are resistant to removing the filibuster completely. But I do believe there’s a way to restore the Senate to a working body so that things like defending democracy can actually take place.”
Abrams lost narrowly to Republican Brian Kemp in 2018 after becoming the first Black woman to ever become a major party’s nominee for governor. She claims that Kemp used the position of secretary to tilt the favor in his favour by purging voters off the rolls. Kemp denies wrongdoing. Abrams’ loss and her response, including forming a new voting group called Fair Fight, vaulted her to national prominence among Democrats.
The year 2012 RepublicansA new Georgia voting law was passed. It cuts down on the time it takes to request an absentee vote, reduces early voting in advance of runoff elections, and restricts drop boxes.
Democrats worry that it could reduce their strength in Georgia where the President is based. Joe Biden won the state’s 16 electoral votesWarnock won the runoffs with fellow Democrat Jon Ossoff in January. This gave their party control of U.S. Senate.
Republicans argue the law is fair to all and was necessary to restore confidence in the state’s elections after claims of fraud by then-President Donald Trump inflamed many GOP voters. These claims were repeatedly refuted by the courts.
Abrams believes she is still eligible to win the Georgia election next year, even with no amendments to Georgia’s new law.
“I will do everything in my power to make certain that these new onerous voter suppression laws do not effectively block voters from their right to vote,” she said. “And so yes, there’s absolutely a pathway to win.”
Abrams said that pathway leads in a different direction than the traditional approach to policy taken by Southern Republicans, instead seeking to improve the prospects of those who don’t get a fair shot today.
“This is a state that is on the cusp of greatness. But we have high income inequality; we have low graduation rates relative to our capacity; we have a broken public health infrastructure system,” Abrams said. “But we also have the ability, if we had good leadership, to invest in our communities, in all of our communities across the state.”
Republicans oppose this strategy, arguing that it will undermine freedom and Georgia’s economy and that Abrams uses Georgia only as a stepstone to her presidential bid. Although she said she’d like to be president one day, Abrams pledges to serve a full term as governor.
Abrams attacked Kemp with a verbal attack. He claimed that Kemp failed to recognise the seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic, and that he has been insensitive to expanding Medicaid to help the poor.
“Leadership is about leading. It’s not about guessing, and more importantly, it’s not about abdicating responsibility by saying everyone just figure it out,” Abrams said. “If we wanted a system where everyone could figure it out, we wouldn’t need to elect the governor.”
Kemp maintains he’s struck the right balance between health and the economy during the pandemic. Kemp noted that he did not agree to unpopular lockdowns, and that Georgia currently has an unprecedentedly low unemployment rate.
However, the former Sen. David Perdue challenging Kemp in the Republican primary, Georgia’s 2022 governor’s contest might not be an Abrams-Kemp rematch. Abrams said Thursday that she would focus on her campaign, saying she didn’t know enough about Perdue to evaluate his record.
“I don’t really know what it is, and I’m someone who’s paid very close attention to politics,” Abrams said.
A year in which national public opinion is strong turned sourAbrams still believes that she is capable of winning despite the fact that Biden and Democrats are her main opponents. She said that’s in part because Georgia is different, with a population on the cusp of becoming majority nonwhite, and because her approach is different, with a focus on “one Georgia” where she says “I’m going to talk to every community and I’m going to have plans for every community.”
Republicans insist that Abrams won’t overcome anti-Democratic sentiment. They hope to attract white suburbanites back and also try to seize some African American and Latino voters.
Abrams teaches patience to these people.
“Winning an election isn’t about magic,” she said. “Voting isn’t magic. It is medicine. It takes time, it takes effort, it takes continued investment.”
Abrams could be changing the terrain on which he is currently campaigning in future months. Congress could create a way to offer health insurance to people who live in states where Medicaid has been denied to low-income adults. For the past decade, Georgia’s Democratic campaign has focused on expanding Medicaid benefits. Abrams declared that while she was happy for Congress to expand Medicaid benefits, Georgia still has a high rate of uninsured and a poor public health system.
Georgia may be able to end abortions in the first six weeks of pregnancy if it has its Supreme Court. This law, which was approved in 2019, is now being considered by an appeals court. Abrams called it a “forced pregnancy bill.”
“I’m going to do everything in my power to ensure that no woman is forced to put her family, herself or her life in jeopardy, simply to satisfy the political whims of a conservative man who has never had to make that choice,” she said.
Follow Jeff Amy http://twitter.com/jeffamy.