In Georgia, it seems the only ones who routinely suppress the vote in this day and age are the Democrats. At least, as far as their own turnout goes.
In 2018, Stacey Abrams came close to winning the job of Governor, but fell at the last minute as her campaign made a terrible mistake of saying “The fix is in!” and pointing to national headlines claiming Georgia was shutting down precincts, locking down voting machines, purging the voter rolls, and all sorts of other things they claimed then-Secretary of State Brian Kemp was in charge of.
The Georgia state media realized that the facts didn’t support that (it was a Democrat-run election board that shut down the precincts in question, a Democrat-led lawsuit that forced voting machines to be locked away ahead of the election, and a Georgia law that Abrams herself had voted in favor of that led to the purge of the voter rolls), but Abrams and her allies pushed that narrative and national outlets and pundits backed her claims.
The end result was a solid early voter turnout was countered by an election-day turnout of black voters who seemingly felt there was no point in going to vote if the aforementioned fix was in.
But, the national outrage allowed Abrams to keep a spotlight long enough to tease a run for President, then scoff at Biden’s alleged attempts to woo her as a running mate, then her embarrassing attempts to loudly campaign for running mate. She has also laid the groundwork for a Democratic operation to turn Georgia blue that she is taking credit for. Some internal polling going around also suggested that, given the 2020 election controversies in Georgia, Governor Brian Kemp was unable to unite the GOP in the state, threatening his run for re-election in 2022.
Then, the Georgia voting law happened.
A law with voter ID (which 60 percent of black voters in Georgia support), 17 days of early voting and an additional Sunday option, a food and water policy that matches other Democrat-run states, and several other reasonable changes. It passed the Georgia state legislature and was signed by Kemp. Abrams and other Democrats called it the “New Jim Crow” and pushed that narrative all across the media – all of whom were ready and willing to jump in. Even President Joe Biden got suckered in, and his comments were actually fact-checked by the Washington Post.
There was a major push for a boycott against the major businesses, corporations, and organizations in Georgia or who did business there. And corporations came out to blast the law, despite having been a part of the negotiations to make changes to the bill that would make it acceptable, as Kemp pointed out.
Throughout the legislative process, we spoke directly with Delta representatives numerous times. We worked alongside legislative leadership to expand voting opportunities for Georgians, while also taking steps to further secure the ballot box. At no point did Delta share any opposition to expanding early voting, strengthening voter ID measures, increasing the use of secure drop boxes statewide, and making it easier for local election officials to administer elections — which is exactly what this bill does.
The Democrats, led by Stacey Abrams, made a massive push to raise opposition to the law, and the corporations they targeted paid lip service to the opposition. Then, the MLB All-Star game was pulled from Atlanta, and Stacey Abrams was among the first to (unenthusiastically) say “Wait. No.”
Disappointed @MLB will move the All-Star Game, but proud of their stance on voting rights. GA GOP traded economic opportunity for suppression. On behalf of PoC targeted by #SB202 to lose votes + now wages, I urge events & productions to come & speak out or stay & fight. #gapol
— Stacey Abrams (@staceyabrams) April 2, 2021
Here’s the thing, though. The move will cost about $100 million in tourism revenue, and will hurt current and future job opportunities in Georgia. All this during an economic crisis. And while Abrams will say the GOP causes this economic disruption, the facts are clear: She and the Democrats pressured corporations to take a stance, and for every corporate move that affects Georgia, the lost economic opportunities are on their hands, not the GOP’s.
The misinformation about the voter law has consequences, and as the economic consequences take shape, it will be Stacey Abrams who hands the 2022 election to Brian Kemp.