It was a terribly awkward moment. Presidential candidate Joe Biden and Not Georgia Governor Stacey Abrams held a town hall on MSNBC’s The Last Word Thursday night, leading Lawrence O’Donnell to speculate there might be a running mate announcement made. O’Donnell opened the show by pressing Biden:
Stacey Abrams is here because Joe Biden invited Stacey Abrams to be here, and so, Mr. Vice President, do you have an announcement to make? Is this an audition? Is there — what is the reason that you decided, it’s time for me to get on TV with Stacey Abrams?
Some say that Biden punted the opportunity, but he actually spoke quite a bit of truth, perhaps accidentally:
Well, because Stacey Abrams has done more to deal with the fair vote and making sure there is a fair vote than anybody, and she has a great, great capacity to explain things and the layout, exactly why it’s going to be so critically important during this election.
Bingo. Stacey Abrams is there because Team Biden knows that Joe cannot handle an entire town hall alone. To use a term I believe my colleague Bonchie coined, it would end up as an episode of Biden Word Salad. Biden absolutely needs a mouthpiece to answer an hour’s worth of random questions from voters, but Abrams isn’t it.
Take, for instance, Abrams’ comments on voter suppression, which she alleges cost her the Georgia governor’s race in 2018.
Responding to a question regarding how the US can protect the 2020 presidential election from supposed Russian interference and ensure that everyone can vote during the pandemic, Abrams first blamed Mitch McConnell for any potential insecurity, then contended that Dems must ensure:
“[T]hat people understand that vote by mail is not only safe and acceptable; it is not subject to fraud.”
Well… not really. But that’s a long discussion she’s probably really not ready to entertain.
“[W]e also [need to] have vote-by-mail, which is one of the most secure ways to vote, because you can audit paper ballots. If people can send in those mail-in ballots, if we have auditable [sic] technology, if we do the work, we can make our vote secure.”
Sure, if we can ensure that no one “helped” the voter fill out the ballot but only if they’re Democrats, the way Lulu in California’s 25th Congressional District (yes, the one Katie Hill ended up winning) did in October 2018. (Watch the video here.)
But then Abrams got down to brass tacks about understanding voter suppression. Brace yourselves for an earth-shattering paradigm shift:
“I’ll tell you this: what we know about voter suppression is that it works best when people don’t vote, when people are pushed out of the process because they’re afraid to vote, or they think it won’t work.”
Yes, Stacey. Voter suppression works best when people don’t vote. On second thought, maybe she really is the mouthpiece Joe Biden needs.