Aug 18, 2019

Stacey Abrams: Ending voter suppression is "fundamental" to the Democratic agenda

Former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams said on ABC's "This Week" Sunday that she is focusing her efforts on voter suppression, rather than running for president, because the ability to vote is "fundamental" to solving the most pressing issues facing the Democratic Party today.

LINSEY DAVIS: "You've decided not to run for president. Why is it a better personal choice for you to focus on voter suppression than to run for president?"
ABRAMS: "I've been privileged in my life to try many different things. I've been an entrepreneur. I've been a writer. I've been a tax attorney. I've been, what my mother calls, on a trajectory of downward economic mobility by taking on public service opportunities without regard to what the pay is. Because I don't think you go into politics for the money and you don't go into it for the title. You go into for the work, and with each decision that I've made about the jobs I apply for, which is what you do when you run for office, I make certain that it's the right job, that I'm the right person and it's the right time. And when I looked at this current crop of candidates running for the Democratic nomination, I think they're extraordinary, and I think voter suppression is an intrinsic problem that is bigger than just Georgia."

The big picture: Abrams rose to national prominence after running against now-Gov. Brian Kemp (R-Ga.) during the 2018 midterms and was viewed as a potential 2020 presidential candidate before ruling out a 2020 run last week. In the wake of her loss, Abrams refused to concede and strongly condemned tactics by Kemp to purge voter rolls in Georgia as secretary of state, labeling him an "architect of voter suppression."

  • Abrams will concentrate her efforts on a new voting rights program called Fair Fight 2020, which will work on gubernatorial elections in Louisiana, Kentucky and Mississippi.

Other highlights:

  • Abrams was also asked during the interview whether she believes President Trump is a white supremacist, as some 2020 candidates have labeled him: "I have said many times he's a racist, but more importantly, he does not value Americans and he does not value humanity."
  • She also defended former Vice President Joe Biden's controversial comments on race, saying: "I think if you listen to the whole of what Joe Biden says, it is consistent with Democratic values and always has been."
  • Abrams further noted that she'd consider a vice presidential gig, saying she is "open to the conversation, but we need to make sure we have a nominee first." Axios reported earlier this year that Biden advisers were debating the idea of packaging his presidential campaign announcement with a pledge to choose Abrams as his VP.

Go deeper: Beto O'Rourke says he will put Abrams in charge of voting rights if elected

Go deeper