The data doesn’t back up claims that Stacey Abrams’ GOTV efforts – which focused almost exclusively on getting black Americans registered and out to the polls – were key to Joe Biden possibly edging out Trump in Georgia.
Even as votes were still being counted in the state of Georgia the first time around, Stacey Abrams was being hailed in media/Democrat circles as the tireless hero who may have flipped her state blue in the presidential election.
Here were some of the headlines:
As Joe Biden edged ahead of President Donald Trump in Georgia, mentions of Stacey Abrams lit up Twitter and trended nationally as politicians, activists and celebrities credited the Democrat for helping put Georgia into play in 2020. https://t.co/bHhTYPSMSA
— ABC News (@ABC) November 8, 2020
Credited with boosting Democrats in Georgia, Stacey Abrams looks to the state's two potential Senate runoff races. https://t.co/iA1VSJ5LGW
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) November 11, 2020
If Joe Biden becomes the first Democratic presidential candidate to win Georgia since 1992, he'll have Stacey Abrams to thank. https://t.co/6ZIUrAbLom
— The New York Times (@nytimes) November 6, 2020
If you look on YouTube, there are scores of video clips from media outlets touting her work in allegedly giving 2020 Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden the edge at the polls in Georgia.
For example, CBS News reported that Abrams “is receiving widespread praise for her efforts to get out the minority vote in her state, which played a key role in the 2020 presidential race.” The Washington Post reported on “how a once reliably red Georgia underwent a political transformation in 2020 due to the work of former gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams.”
The New York Times even credited Abrams for “inspiring” an astonishing 800,000 people to register to vote:
Celebrities, activists and voters across Georgia credited Stacey Abrams with building a well-funded network of organizations that highlighted voter suppression in the state and inspired an estimated 800,000 residents to register to vote https://t.co/eX9ABEflx0
— NYT Politics (@nytpolitics) November 7, 2020
As did NBC News, who made this claim about Abrams’ “Fair Fight” organization:
The problem here is the hard data doesn’t back up the various media-driven narratives that Stacey Abrams’ GOTV efforts – which are focused almost exclusively on getting African-Americans registered to vote and out to the polls – were ultimately what “turned Georgia blue” (if the current numbers hold).
Case in point, this thread (and article) from the NYT’s “Upshot” polling/data analyst Nate Cohn:
Georgia is the first state where we have fully updated vote history data, and it shows the Black share of the electorate falling to its lowest level since 2006 pic.twitter.com/kcquppig1I
— Nate Cohn (@Nate_Cohn) November 17, 2020
As a result, Biden's gains were concentrated in a ring around Atlanta pic.twitter.com/nY8yg9NblE
— Nate Cohn (@Nate_Cohn) November 17, 2020
Reality check on the Stacey Abrams GOTV efforts —> https://t.co/DjKWQ2WS75
— Josh Kraushaar (@HotlineJosh) November 17, 2020
What also needs to be factored in when talking about Georgia elections is that, as has also been the case in North Carolina, they have been getting more competitive over the last decade or so, thanks not so much to Stacey Abrams but the state’s growing population and changing demographics. This includes the people who move to southern states to escape high-tax states up north – many of who then promptly turn around and vote for the same types of Democratic politicians who drive up the cost of living, which forces residents out.
Those types of voters have been moving to North Carolina as well, which has changed the political landscape here over the last several elections – all with no prominent Stacey Abrams-type GOTV “motivator.”
Also, the reports from the media about how Abrams was supposedly responsible for registering 800,000 voters are ridiculous:
For ppl crediting Stacey Abrams for voter registration numbers, FYI: Georgia has had automatic DMV voter registration since 2016, which according to the AJC was largely responsible for the increase in voter reg. in GA from then til now.
— Sister Toldjah Le Pew ? (@sistertoldjah) November 6, 2020
Here’s what the Atlanta Journal-Constitution wrote last month about Georgia’s voter registration numbers:
There are now a record 7.6 million registered voters in Georgia, according to voter registration rolls obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution from the secretary of state’s office after the Oct. 5 registration deadline.
Automatic voter registration when Georgians get their driver’s licenses greatly contributed to the addition of nearly 1 million voters.
Facts about Georgia’s voters:
Over 7.6 million people are registered to vote, a record high.
Automatic voter registration has led to an increase of almost 1 million Georgia voters since 2016.
We’re supposed to believe “Fair Fight,” which Abrams formed in late 2018 after losing the gubernatorial race, is responsible for registering 800,000 of those voters? I don’t think so.
While I don’t think it’s arguable that Stacey Abrams helped increase voting numbers in Georgia to a certain extent, proclaiming her as the hero of the 2020 presidential race in Georgia is overstating it quite a bit. It doesn’t mean Georgia Republicans should underestimate her heading into the January 5th Senate runoff races; it just means that some perspective is needed when discussing what Abrams has and has not done.
— Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym “Sister Toldjah” and can be reached via Twitter. —DONATE
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