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💬 "American Idealism and American Betrayal"

Sway - A New York Times Podcast

Photo by Brad Huchteman / Unsplash

Table of Contents

Host: Kara Swisher
Guest: Stacey Abrams, Voting rights activist
Category: Biz & Tech | 💬 Opinion

Podcast’s Essential Bites:

[10:37] “If I’m being demonized for expanding access to our democracy and defending the rights of Americans to vote, I’m OK with that characterization. What they cannot say is that I’ve done anything that was self-aggrandizing. It means the contrast between my response to my election and Trump’s response. My response was not to sue to change the outcome of the election. I accepted the legal sufficiency once we did the work to make sure as many votes could be counted as possible, because that was the first responsibility. I asked people to vote, and I needed to make sure their votes got counted.”

[19:24] “Georgia has automatic voter registration, at the behest of Republicans. They put it in place, and they’re trying to retract it now because too many people they don’t like have started to use it. They want to eliminate no excuses absentee voting, something Republicans created. It’s when you can vote absentee without being elderly, disabled, or in the military. Number three, they’re trying to cut the number of days and hours of in-person early voting, which was used by 1.3 million Georgians. […] They’re trying to eliminate weekend days, because 36.7% of the people who use the Sunday voting opportunity were Black people, and that’s too many Black people. […] They are trying to break apart not just the action of voting. They’re actually also now attacking the mechanisms, the people who are responsible for certifying the elections and for running the elections. They have a piece that says that counties can no longer apply for grants to cover the cost of actually meeting the needs. So, in Georgia in 2020, we helped secure $30 million in grant funding to support overworked, under-resourced county officials who are responsible for elections. They are now making it illegal for them to apply for or receive those grants.”

[26:57] “African-Americans are the most likely to vote Democratic. In Georgia, unlike in some parts of the country, we have a stronger tendency among Latino and AAPI. But part of that is based on the behaviors of the Republican Party in the South. If you go to other parts of the country, Latino and AAPI voters may have a different voting habit. But here’s my point. We never once registered a single person based on partisanship. We don’t have the right. Georgia doesn’t do partisan voter registration. But more importantly, I have no truck with saying that you can only register people who agree with you. Democracy can only work when it works for everyone. When you break any part of democracy, you break it for everyone, no matter who your target is. As a partisan, I’m going to try to get my people elected, but elections are not partisan. Elections are completely open. The people you choose may be partisan, but the process should not be. And that’s what causes me annoyance.”

[32:11] “[To turn other states blue] the first is, you’ve got to understand what your customer base is. Florida and Arizona are not the same as Wisconsin or Utah. And so you’ve got to do the analysis of where you are, understand what your opportunities are, and understand what the pathway is. […] So let’s think about who’s still there who is unhappy with what they thought would occur when their elected leadership did this. So you got to figure out what your opportunities are where you are. Then the building blocks are the same. The building blocks are, you’ve got to build political power within your actual party. Your party has to be effective. You have to understand what the party is and what the party isn’t. You have to have political leaders that are willing to take risks and work with other political leaders, not worrying about who gets the credit. You’ve got to raise absurd amounts of money, but that money can be raised. […] You’ve got to work with the grassroots organizations and recognize that they don’t have to have the exact same methodology that you have. But they have to have a combined ethos and an intentionality of working together. And then you have to wash, rinse, repeat, and evaluate what you did that worked and what you did that didn’t work and whose fault it was.”

[34:50] “[For the 2024 presidential elections] I think Texas is one of the states we talk about a lot. I think Missouri can actually be a more competitive state. I think Ohio can’t be written off yet. I think there are a lot of states that, in 2008, came over to Obama. Those are states we can look at again.

[35:22] “I think that there’s always a battle between party and power. And I think there are those for whom the party is preeminent. And that’s what they’re going to fight for. I think that’s the strain of Republicanism that we see in a Mitt Romney. And then there’s the naked attempt to always hold power, and that is why we see the remarkable and almost regularized vacillation in Mitch McConnell. That happens in both parties, but in the Republican Party, what is so terrifying is that rather than this being a theory of the case, we’ve actually seen evidence of the consequences. And too many of them are still grappling with whether they want an effective party or if they simply want naked power. And that’s the dynamics I don’t think has been resolved in their party yet.”

[38:23] “There have always been tensions. […] I kind of push back on this civil war notion because we have people along the spectrum. If I’m in Missouri, I’m a progressive. If I’m in California, I’m a moderate. If I’m in certain parts of California, I’m hyper conservative. And in other places, I’m a liberal. We live in a spectrum nation, where we have to fight for progress from where we are. I do my work, I define my work as translating progress into Southern. It doesn’t diminish the importance and utility of the work I do, but it may not look like what other people expect progressivism to look like, Democratic values to look like. And that’s OK. We’re a big nation, and we are a big party. And it is a good thing that we have tension. It is a good thing that we don’t have this uniform orthodoxy that denies the very real differences in where we live and where we are.

Rating: 🍎🍎🍎

🎙️ Full Episode: Apple | Spotify
🕰️ 46 min | 🗓️ 03/04/2021
✅ Time saved: 44 min