April 23, 2021

If you're gonna try to trap Stacey Abrams on voting laws, you're gonna get a lesson. And if you bring her on to a normal venue and let her talk about said laws, you're going to get a fascinating graduate seminar. That was new Nobel Prize nominee Stacey Abrams last night on Joy Reid's show.

She started by saying she thinks the Republican voting laws in Georgia are "more of an existential panic and cowardice and laziness."

"Rather than confront and grapple with what it means to have a more engaged and expanded electorate, they are instead working as hard as they can to not only throw up the bricks but also to, to your point, to use this GOTV strategy to create a new boogieman for their own -- you know, for their constituents. But at the same time, they're expressing their hostility towards those communities that changed the outcome in 2020 and 2021, and those are largely communities of color. So racial animus is absolutely a part of it. But overall it is an existential crisis and existential panic leading to the tactic that worked well for so many other parties and that's voter suppression."

"At some point is there a diminishing return in your view to what Republicans are doing, where they make it so hard even their own voters get constricted from voting, and they start to lose among independents and others who say, you've gone too far?" Reid said.

Abrams said she thinks they're "reaching that inflection point."

She pointed out what happened in Arizona with the rejection of SB-1485, "which had the exact purpose of eliminating their permanent early voting list. It was going to disproportionately harm communities of color, but apparently they realized that their voters are on the list, too, and they risk the likelihood of losing access to voters. But the challenge I see and the reason federal legislation is so necessary is that we don't know what that inflection point is in every single state."

Reid wondered if there's enough concern among certain Democrats, like Krysten Sinema and Joe Manchin.

"I think that this is a broader conversation about how to make this urgency converted into action, but I do think that where we stand today is a vast difference than where we were in 2016, 2018, when voter suppression was really picking up steam and we were still trying to convince people they could use that language out loud and create change."

She said what we have failed to see from Republicans is a willingness to adjust their own outreach to the demands of the electorate. "So instead we are seeing voter suppression, which is the coward's tactic when it comes to winning elections."

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