Senate GOP Never Guessed Voting Law Expert Stacey Abrams Would Know So Much About Voting Laws
It's quite a treat watching Stacey Abrams spank Republicans during the Senate hearings about voting rights. They clearly didn't expect that this fierce Black woman would come correct. It's as if they assumed she'd melt under the pressure of their rigorous questioning and confess that she knows nothing about voting laws or birthing babies.
That didn't happen.
Abrams has delivered a master class on the subject of Why She Should Be Georgia's Next Governor. It's informative but also entertaining, especially when she humiliates Republicans so much their own mamas don't want to talk to them.
Tuesday, Texas Senator John Cornyn tried to push the rightwing talking point that Georgia's new voter suppression laws are no more restrictive than similar laws in so-called “blue" states. But Democrats just won Georgia's presidential and Senate elections. They're not the sore losers here. This is a dumb argument even if it were based in facts, which it's not.
CORNYN: Georgia has a no-excuse absentee voting provision in that law. As Miss Jones, I think, has said, certainly in her written statement, Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York do not have any no-excuse absentee voting. Are the voting laws in Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and New York racist?
ABRAMS: I would say that they are behind the eight-ball and they need to be improved. And that's why I support For the People Act voting rights provisions that would expand access to no-excuses absentee voting.
See how seamlessly she dropped that promo for the H.R. 1 bill? She should host a podcast. Abrams went on to say that what's relevant is how certain behaviors are targeted.
ABRAMS: The state of Georgia targeted communities that used these resources for the first time to their benefit. And thus, after 15 years of Republican-dominated use of absentee balloting, it suddenly changed its mind about the utility, the processing, the timeliness, and the ability —
The lady was making too much sense, so Cornyn cut her off and kept trying to press her on whether states that vote for Democrats are racist. When she wouldn't fall for his clever ruse, he accused her of “filibustering" his question. Yeah, now Cornyn resents the filibuster. Eventually, Abrams told Cornyn, "I'm happy to respond to your questions. But if you're going to mischaracterize my responses, that's inappropriate." She might've sent him to his room, as well.
Republicans had tried to grill Abrams on voter ID, which polls show most voters support, but apparently no one of their staff informed them that Abrams very much supports voter ID. There was no “gotcha" there. Instead, she explained, without breaking a sweat, that she opposed "restrictive voter identification laws that narrow the set of permissible materials." Glad that was cleared up.
They spent a lot of time defending the honor of perfect angel GOP officials who just wanted to pass a racist voting law without people calling them racist. Abrams had to remind these dummies that Jim Crow laws were covertly racist. That was the point. If they could've flat-out banned Black people from voting, they wouldn't have bothered with poll taxes and jellybean jar quizzes. That's a lot of extra effort, and they could've eaten those jellybeans.
ABRAMS: The intent always matters, sir. And that is the point of this conversation. That is the point of the Jim Crow narrative, that Jim Crow did not simply look at the activities. It looked at the intent. It looked at the behaviors. And it targeted behaviors that were disproportionately used by people of color.
Then came Louisiana Senator and Foghorn Leghorn impersonator John Kennedy. His grand plan was for Abrams to just tell him what she didn't like about Georgia's voter suppression laws. Maybe he thought she'd forgotten. It's been almost a whole month and the Negro's short term memory is limited, at least according to Kennedy's childhood encyclopedias. (OK, I made that up. There's no evidence Kennedy has read an encyclopedia, for children or otherwise.)
KENNEDY: Tell me specifically, just give me a list of the provisions that you object to.
Oh, the clever old white man's got her! She never could've prepared for a question that's the bar exam equivalent to “Why is law?" Fortunately, Abrams just happened to have noted voting rights activist Stacey Abrams right here!
ABRAMS: It shortens the federal run-off period from nine weeks to four weeks, it restricts the time a voter can request and return an absentee ballot application, it requires that voters have a photo identification or some other form of identification that they are willing to surrender in order to participate in the absentee ballot process ...
He'd gone about 50 seconds without interrupting her, which few men can do without exploding. He asked, “What else?" and she kept telling him while he kept trying to interrupt before he gave up and said, “I get the idea." (He doesn't get any ideas. He's a fucking idiot.)
I could watch Stacey Abrams outclass Republican men all day, but I should probably eat dinner at some point.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."