Opinion: Stacey Abrams embraces a nasty brand of Democratic politics

Protesters disrupt a speech by Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Evans during Netroots Nation 2017 in Atlanta on Saturday. (Photo by Kevin D. Liles for The Washington Post)

Before Charlottesville happened, this stood to be the big political story of the weekend — at least, locally (from my AJC colleague Greg Bluestein):

“Democrat Stacey Evans’ speech to a conference of progressive activists descended into chaos on Saturday, as protesters interrupted her repeatedly and she struggled to make herself heard over chants of ‘support black women.’

“Evans, a Smyrna state legislator who is white, expected a tough audience at the Netroots Nation event, where her rival Stacey Abrams was treated like royalty. But she said she at least expected to be able to make it through her remarks.

“That didn’t happen.

“Almost as soon as she took the stage, a ring of demonstrators – some holding stark signs criticizing her – fanned out in front of Evans. The chanting soon followed. Pleading repeatedly for the room to speaks – ‘let’s talk through it,’ she implored – the demonstrators at times drowned her out.”

A picture is worth a thousand words, and these videos are worth more than that:

Evans’ opponent in the Democratic primary is of course a black woman. And one would be forgiven for thinking the implication of the protesters’ chants is that one cannot support black women, in general, while backing the opponent of a particular black woman in this race.

Which is why Abrams’ reaction to the disruption — which one might have expected to try to calm tensions in a campaign that still has many months to go — ranks as the second most disappointing statement from a politician over the weekend:

If the protesters’ implication was as I described, there’s also an undertone to Abrams’ statement: This behavior is OK, and Evans can expect more as long as she’s in the race.

So far, Abrams has taken the questionable (to me, anyway) approach of trying to run well to the left not only of Evans, but arguably of any first-tier Georgia Democrat running statewide in at least a decade. I call it questionable because there is hardly any evidence Georgia’s electorate has shifted sharply to the left. Yes, Democrats trying to run as centrists (Jason Carter, Michelle Nunn, Jon Ossoff, to name a few) have not moved the needle for the party at the ballot box. But it’s far more likely that’s because most Georgia voters didn’t believe their centrist rhetoric, or because they prefer conservative candidates, and not because they were really just looking for someone to run as an unapologetic man or woman of the left.

Either way, that’s for Abrams to decide, and I won’t exactly sweat it if she’s the nominee and gets crushed in the general. More noteworthy, and alarming for our state, in my view is her apparent approval of the protesters’ linking ideology to race.

Abrams’ statement indicates the protesters were really just upset about Evans’ record on education policy. If so, why didn’t their signs and chants reflect that? Instead of “trust black women” or “support black women,” why didn’t they say Evans hates public schools, or some such? As someone who has been knee-deep in those same education debates, I am all too aware that leftists know perfectly well how to accuse, even (or especially) falsely, their opponents of hating public schools. Yet, most of their signs and chants were not about education. They were predominantly about race. (One of the few signs about education mentioned “vouchers,” a policy that as far as I can recall has not come up for a vote in the House since Evans was elected.)

While some Georgia Republicans may be tempted to sit back, pass the popcorn and watch Democrats tear one another apart, that’s short-sighted. The left already, and increasingly, applies this kind of “logic” — that only certain types of people can speak truth, or even deserve to be heard — to conservatives. Think of the temper tantrums we’ve seen on some college campuses over the past several months when conservative authors and academics were invited to speak, including attempts to shout down speakers and physically block others from attending their remarks. (As an aside, I’m confused: If “speech is violence,” as some progressivists claim, then how exactly is using one’s voice — on a college campus or during Evans’ speech — a “peaceful protest”?)

That this “logic” is now being turned on other progressivists is not satisfyingly ironic. It’s a disturbing sign of how deeply this strain of political virus runs on the left. This is not a mere tactic; it’s an ideology unto itself. And the spread of it within Democrats’ ranks, as opposed to being used only against Republicans, may be less a sign of opportunism than of even more fanatical belief in it. That doesn’t simply disappear after a primary. On the contrary — especially if, as is expected at this point, Abrams wins the nomination.

On a personal note, I’ve known Stacey (Godfrey) Evans since our college days at UGA. She and I agree on a few things political and disagree about many more, but I know nothing about her that would call into question the content of her character.

And here I thought that was what mattered.


UPDATE: Shortly after this post went live, Abrams issued a longer statement on her Facebook page. In my view, it reads like a wordier version of what she said Saturday — comparable to if President Trump’s statement today had again failed to call out the KKK, neo-Nazis and white supremacists by name. But your mileage may vary, and I’m posting it here in the interest of full reporting:

Reader Comments 0

324 comments
hasako
hasako

what Adam responded I didn't know that a single mom able to make $8178 in a few weeks on the internet . Go Here.............www.decksky.com

breckenridge
breckenridge

August 16 - In an unusually public move, the nation’s top military leaders, who typically try to steer clear of social controversy, have come out strongly against racism and extremism in the wake of violent protests over the weekend.

Five of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, representing the Navy, the Marines, the Army, the Air Force and the National Guard, posted messages on social media condemning hatred and neo-Nazis, saying that the extremist violence in Charlottesville, Va., on Saturday went against the military’s core values.

Bottom line - if you share the views of the alt-right, then you don't support the troops.

TheCentrist
TheCentrist

The nasty brand of politics is that of the social conservative legacy of bigotry that has been the underpinning of a self induced conflict for 175 years. The name calling of Democrats does not alter the fact that the SOCON started taking their legacy to the GOP under Reagan.

Most SOCONS have even stopped pretending that they were philosophical in alignment to the Party of Lincoln, Teddy, or Ike. They are nowhere close to the fiscal policy championed by the likes of Jack Kemp.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

 It's the leftward move of the Republican establishment.


I cant imagine a dumber comment that that one. 

MarkVV
MarkVV

It is quite useless to debate the moral and leadership failure of Donald Trump, exposed yesterday, with those few people defending him here. They just make me sick.

But what also makes me sick is the lack of courage demonstrated by the White House staff, especially by people like John Kelly. If he expressed disapproval and quit his job, it might start an avalanche that would bury the weakling at the top. His silence makes him an accomplice to the moral decay there.

Starik
Starik

@MarkVV  I like to think that the Generals are there to try to control Trump, and to refuse any illegal orders, or orders to start a nuclear war. Duty compels them. 

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@Starik @MarkVV 

Of course the Generals are there to give the commander and chief their professional assessment of the situation and President Trump has demonstrated his policy of delegating to their advise. So, with all due respect, your comment is rather stupid isn't it?

Starik
Starik

@SGTGrit @Starik @MarkVV  Maybe you think so. A couple of these Generals are retired and serving in roles usually handled by civilians. I appreciate them risking their reputations to keep an eye on Trump. 

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

Gotta say it!

- my smallest gun is deadlier than your smallest gun 

There are weapons and there are guns.

Weapons are for killin', guns are for fun.

Have fun with your gun, PeeWee.

schnirt

You make it so easy!

Eye wonder
Eye wonder

@SGTGrit @FIGMO2

Idiots are funny. 

"Weapon" is defined as "a thing designed or used for inflicting bodily harm or physical damage." 

Thinking that through just a little, "weapons" could include "guns," "knives," "bombs," "cars," "people," "whiskey tumblers," "golf clubs," "etc."

Only a fool thinks that only "guns" are "weapons." Fools = LOL

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

One thing this controversy over what Trump says has done is expose a lot of closet liberals.

Rubio pooped in his mess kit on immigration reform and it cost him any chance of the repub nomination.

Now he immediately joined the choir of Trump criticizers meaning he can kiss good bye any national aspirations and possibly relection in Florida again.

Fox News was already headed down the pooper and the controversy is speeding their decent.

Shepard Smith was already a lost cause.

Krauthammer soiled his mess kit last evening.  He needs to join George Will where ever he went.  So long, good riddance.


JFMcNamara
JFMcNamara

@JohnnyReb You mean the Cuban wanted to denounce the Nazis?  Nazi's don't check political affiliation.   If you are not White, they pretty much want to kill you.  Maybe Marco is speaking out in his best interests.

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

@JFMcNamara @JohnnyReb

Do you guys take a training class on spin?

Oops, forgot, if a person is college educated these days they have received the liberal brainwash.

Trump criticized the neo's and has more than once.

Marco suffers from the same affliction as you.

He can't separate facts and probably has to set down when chewing gum.

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

Lou Dobbs at Fox Business is a remaining sane voice at Fox News.

Hannity is of course.

Tucker Carlson, jury still out.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@JohnnyReb 

Well what we're witnessing is actually a transformation of the Republican party that has been going on now for several years. It's the leftward move of the Republican establishment. They've cried out about traditional conservatism while the elite establishment has been moving left believing that's the direction needed to protect their political careers. Now they're being exposed because the people low and behold gave them a president who has adopted a traditional conservative agenda and the establishment Republican congress is in utter shock because now they have to act and they thought they could hide but now we see what they really are.

JFMcNamara
JFMcNamara

@JohnnyReb @JFMcNamara No, it's not spin.  It's basic logic.   If you are a Jewish, Hispanic, Indian American or really any minority Republican, this isn't what they signed up for. 


I know you lack empathy of any kind, so here is an example.   If the Black Panthers held a rally with 2,000 members where they were well armed, said they wanted to kill all white people, and during the event a Black Panther  drove a car into a crowd of people, would you be singing the "all sides" stuff?  


No, you would be asking for the army to go kill them all and calling them terrorists.   

Starik
Starik

@JohnnyReb  Trump supporters are under a delusion that a majority of people view Trump as they do. 

Starik
Starik

@JohnnyReb @JFMcNamara  If you have a college education you may have some knowledge of history and factual analysis, critical thinking, and a functioning BS detector. If you're just a high school graduate in most of the South you don't know much, and much of what you know is BS. 

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@Starik @SGTGrit @JohnnyReb 

Got us through the cold war that could have turned hot. The left since the 60's haven't shown the country anything.

Starik
Starik

@SGTGrit @Starik @JohnnyReb  The cold war is over; Russia is now ruled by a conservative religious autocrat, along with the Russian wealthy class. Nothing since the 60s by either side has been a roaring success. 

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@Starik @JohnnyReb 

Sorry but he was elected president. Hillary as Obama's succeeding surrogate was not.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@SGTGrit @Starik @JohnnyReb Sorry but he was elected president.


Yes he was. The birther stuff got his political career started with the almost all white GOP. 


Remember he was finding out amazing things about Obama's birth certificate. Whatever happened to that ?


Trump does know one thing. How to spot a sucker. 

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@Starik @SGTGrit @JohnnyReb Not only that.


But we have a President who will attack any and everyone. Even his own party


But there is one person he will NEVER say anything negative about


Putin.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@Starik @JohnnyReb @JFMcNamara 

Sorry but I've seen a lot of college educated fools who couldn't get through a basic screening interview. I ran a retained I.T.search firm for 12 years.

breckenridge
breckenridge

@JohnnyReb 

There's nothing like putting politics above what is morally right and wrong Johnny Reb.

You are a moral wasteland.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@Hedley_Lammar @Starik @SGTGrit 

JohnnyReb 

Russia, Russia, Russia, Putin, Putin, Putin...I guess that's all you have. Go back to your far-left leaders and beg for more ammunition. Tell them all they're giving you are blanks.

Starik
Starik

@SGTGrit @Hedley_Lammar @Starik  You don't think Putin and Trump have similar philosophies? (1) Get Rich. (2) Inflame nationalism and the Old Time Religion as a base.

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

Notice the Trump/Russia collusion played out and investigations are headed toward the DNC, Hillary and Bill, and the pay to play.

What happens?

Low and behold the MSM leading the LibProgs have a whole new outrage on which to attack Trump.


McGarnagle
McGarnagle

@JohnnyReb


Is Mueller still special counsel in charge of investigation. Then nothing has changed.

JFMcNamara
JFMcNamara

@JohnnyReb We have a special prosecutor.   What's the use in bringing up Russia until the investigation is complete? LibProgs wanted and investigation.  We have one.  He will be charged if he did something wrong,

Starik
Starik

@JohnnyReb @McGarnagle  Their current emphasis, as always, is ratings and advertising revenue. Mueller is working quietly. 

breckenridge
breckenridge

I just got home..........so is the fake conservative Trump having a better day today?



ROFLOL!!!!!!!!!!!!


ROFLOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


ROFLOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



breckenridge
breckenridge

I bet Ms. Abrams is an ardent supporter of Planned Parenthood which was founded in part to hold down the Black population

Planned Parenthood initially received federal funding because George H W Bush, Barry Goldwater and Richard Nixon - all republicans - lobbied tirelessly for it.  Especially George H W Bush. And it was signed into law by Richard Nixon.


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