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Are there any Democrats in elected office anywhere willing to say that Stacey Abrams wasn’t the “real winner” in Georgia last year?

Westlake Legal Group sa Are there any Democrats in elected office anywhere willing to say that Stacey Abrams wasn’t the “real winner” in Georgia last year? voter The Blog suppression Stacey Abrams Georgia brian kemp Beto O'Rourke Amy Klobuchar

I can’t believe we’re still doing this in September 2019, nearly a year after her defeat by Brian Kemp, following numerous critiques of her claim, and months after Abrams herself stopped insisting that she won. “I have no empirical evidence that I would have achieved a higher number of votes” if everyone whom she believes should have been allowed to vote had done so, she told the NYT in April. She was questioning the basic fairness of the election, she stressed, not necessarily the outcome.

So why are Democratic presidential candidates still not only questioning the outcome but insisting forthrightly that she won?

It *is* possible to do a stump speech about voter suppression without name-checking Abrams.

It wasn’t just Beto:

It’s amazing to see them doing this after a week of Trump proving anew that he can’t admit failure in even the tiniest dispute, let alone something like a national election. It’s beyond question that he’ll claim he was cheated next year if he loses regardless of how steep the margin of defeat is. Why would Democrats complicate their post-election messaging that he’s a sore loser and a reality-denying crank by handing him and his team this tu-quoque ammunition? Do Beto or Klobuchar really think they’re in line for the Stacey Abrams endorsement if the field narrows to one of them versus a true-blue progressive like Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren?

We may yet see a decline in the “Stacey wuz robbed” line in stump speeches, not because the imperative to signal concern about voting rights has diminished but because Abrams’s own standing in the party may have slipped a little. I knew people would hold it against her that she’s not trying to win one of Georgia’s two open Senate seats next year:

There’s still some hope that Bullock and O’Rourke, despite their disavowals of interest, will run for the Senate after they scratch their presidential itches. The case of Abrams is more perplexing. She has said it would be “arrogant” to think she’s the only Democrat who could win a Senate seat in Georgia. Yet it appears she’s holding out for a vice-presidential nomination. “I would be honored,” she told WBUR’s “On Point” on Tuesday.

With the retirement of the ailing Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), both Georgia Senate seats will be on the ballot next year. And the Democrats’ best candidate won’t run for either? That’s a gift to Trump’s enablers.

Why? For the “honor” of a vice- presidential nomination? Preserving herself for another office, another time? I hope Abrams reconsiders. History won’t be kind to those who stepped aside in democracy’s time of need.

If Democrats lose one or both of those seats narrowly with lesser-known nominees, the party will remember. Imagine Trump getting a SCOTUS nominee confirmed in his second term on a 50/50 vote with Pence as the tiebreaker and both of Georgia’s Republican senators in the majority. Abrams could have blocked him if she’d run and won!

Anyway, back to the question in the headline. Has any Democrat in elected office anywhere in the country dared to offer the opinion that they’re skeptical that Abrams “really won” last year? How about the more politic opinion that they’re agnostic about the outcome of the Georgia race but that it’s irrelevant to the question of whether Democrats need to be extra vigilant about voter suppression next year? There are all sorts of ways to signal support for the underlying issue of counting every vote without embracing the Trumpish belief that she personally lost due to cheating. Anyone know of any Dems — at any level — who have voiced that opinion? I’m curious; if you can think of someone, let me know and I’ll update. In lieu of an exit question, here’s a reminder that Klobuchar has somehow managed to win three Senate elections in Minnesota, each by 20 points or more, despite delivering laugh lines as though she’s brain damaged.

The post Are there any Democrats in elected office anywhere willing to say that Stacey Abrams wasn’t the “real winner” in Georgia last year? appeared first on Hot Air.

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Stacey Abrams: Republicans could send off-duty law enforcement into polling places next year to intimidate minority voters

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Via the Free Beacon, there’s some agita online today about Abrams floating another hair-raising theory of corruption at the polls after insisting without evidence for months that she’s the rightfully elected governor of Georgia. Although, interestingly, she seems to be backing off that last claim now — somewhat, allowing last night that “I don’t know that empirically I would have won” last year.

Does that mean the rest of the party is now free to punt on the burning question of who the “real” governor is, or do racial politics require them to hug the “Stacey won” talking point tight even as she’s inched away from it?

Anyway, she’s on firmer empirical ground in worrying about off-duty patrolmen turning up in majority-minority districts in 2020 on behalf of the GOP. It sounds outlandish but that actually happened in New Jersey in 1981. Armed off-duty cops showed up at the polls in black neighborhoods wearing armbands identifying them as part of the “National Ballot Security Task Force,” which sounds like an official government agency but was actually just an outfit thrown together by the RNC. (There’s a Wikipedia page and everything.) It created enough of a stir that the RNC entered into a consent decree the following year in which it promised not to use such tactics for 35 years. The consent decree lapsed in 2017 and the DNC went to court to try to get it extended but lost. So, in theory, the RNC is free to try this again. Whether they’d dare do that in an age of ubiquitous smartphones and social media, when evidence of the “Ballot Security Task Force” staring down black voters in line to vote could and would be streamed in real-time on Election Day, is a separate question. But that’s the genesis of Abrams’s complaint.

The most newsworthy soundbite from her in the media yesterday wasn’t this, by the way, it was her answer to the Times when asked if she’d agree to be VP if asked. Answer: Hell yes.

So in saying you’re open to other opportunities, that includes any potential selection for vice president?

I would be honored to be considered by any nominee.

But my responsibility is to focus on the primary. And that means using the primary as an opportunity to build the apparatus to fight voter suppression. Because in the end, no matter where I fit, no matter which ones of our nominees win, if we haven’t fought this scourge, if we haven’t pushed back against Moscow Mitch and his determination to block any legislation that would cure our voting machines, then we are all in a world of trouble.

The hard truth for her is that she’s not an obvious pick for any member of the top tier. She’s a good demographic balance for Biden and Sanders but they’re each so old that her lack of federal or statewide experience would attract intense scrutiny. She’s not such a great demographic balance for Warren and Harris since Dems would worry that an all-woman ticket might scare off some working-class voters in the midwest. Her best pairing, I think, would be with someone like Buttigieg or Beto, running as part of a “youth” ticket where you wouldn’t need to worry that the president won’t make it through a full term. Plus, Buttigieg has no federal or statewide experience either; voters will have to clear that hurdle psychologically in voting for him much more so than they will with her as VP.

Exit question: When was the last time someone without federal, statewide, or military experience was put on a ticket *as VP*? Trump lacked all three as well, but Trump had to run the gauntlet of a national primary election. Republican voters sized him up and declared him worthy notwithstanding his lack of government credentials. Abrams is aiming to land on the ticket as an appointee, not as the choice of Democratic voters. I think the last person to pull that off was Sargent Shriver, George McGovern’s VP in 1972, although Shriver had served as ambassador to France and as head of the Peace Corps so he’d had some nominal federal duties before he was named. Abrams would be breaking new ground in the VP slot.

The post Stacey Abrams: Republicans could send off-duty law enforcement into polling places next year to intimidate minority voters appeared first on Hot Air.

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Stacey Abrams’s big 2020 announcement: I’m here to let you know that I’m … not running for president

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Every time I start to laugh at the idea of a candidate who’s never held statewide or federal office running for president, I remember who we elected in 2016. And then I remember that Boot Edge Edge is not only still (sort of) in contention for the Democratic nod this year, he was the single biggest fundraiser in the field in the second quarter.

Americans reeeeeally like the idea of fresh faces in politics nowadays. Abrams’s lack of congressional or executive experience might have been something of a virtue if she had jumped in.

Emphasis on “might have.” Before we go all-in on the “voters want outsiders” theory, let’s remember that the guy leading the field — and leading Trump in head-to-head polling — has been in Washington since the dawn of time.

Anyway, Abrams has finally said no to 2020:

Stacey Abrams, the Georgia politician who captured national attention during her unsuccessful run for governor in 2018, has decided not to run for president after publicly contemplating a bid for months, according to people familiar with her thinking…

Ms. Abrams made her decision in recent days, aides said, as she determined she was comfortable with current crop of Democratic candidates.

The decision by Ms. Abrams, a former Democratic leader in the Georgia House of Representatives, ends months of speculation, some of which was fueled by Ms. Abrams herself. Repeatedly, she has said she believes she is qualified to be in the presidential field, and she has held several private sit-down meetings with other candidates, encouraging them to focus on voter suppression and fair elections as they crisscross the country for votes.

She’ll spend her time instead fighting voter suppression efforts. Oh, and advancing her crankish theory that she’s the true winner of last year’s Georgia gubernatorial race, a theory which racial politics requires the entirety of the Democratic political class to accept uncritically. And which will obviously be used as “tu quoque” Exhibit A in 2020 if Trump loses the election and begins complaining that it was stolen from him.

As for the timing, I assume she had a reached a point where she couldn’t wait any longer to declare. The bar for qualifying for the debates by polling at a certain level and attracting a certain number of donors is inching higher as the weeks roll on. If she waited until September to jump in, she might have missed that month’s debate and then been at risk of being overlooked as an option by Democratic voters generally. The moment seemed opportune for her to get in, though, given how neither Kamala Harris nor Cory Booker did any damage to Biden at the second debate. Those three candidates are competing for black voters; Harris looked like she was making inroads with Biden’s black support after the first debate but then she fell back after the second, leaving Grandpa Joe to reconsolidate that support. If Harris had continued to climb, Abrams might have reasoned that black Democrats were already shifting towards a “fresh face” candidate, making it that much harder for her to grab their attention and force another shift after she got in. As it is, the competition to see who can lure black Obama supporters away from Biden remains wide open, with Harris and Booker momentarily looking like pretenders. Abrams decided to pass on the race anyway instead of taking a shot. Huh.

Chuck Schumer tried to get her to challenge David Perdue for Senate in Georgia next year but it sounds from the story quoted above like she won’t stand for any office. That’s a tough break for Dems, as Abrams would have been something of a cause celebre for Georgia Dems and might have been able to deliver enough black Democrats to the polls to make Trump sweat the state in his own contest. He won it by only five points in 2016, remember; between the suburbs there trending blue and Abrams turning out younger and black voters, maybe Georgia would have been a toss-up. Abrams probably concluded, though, that it was too heavy a lift with too much on the line for her own career. Perdue’s job approval in Georgia in the last quarter was a healthy 48/26, and unlike her opponent in the governor’s race, he’s an incumbent. Georgia is still a red-leaning state so Trump’s presence at the top of the ballot is likely to boost Republican turnout from last year, when she lost the gubernatorial race narrowly. If she ran and lost to Perdue, she’d be a two-time loser and her political star would begin to dim. Too risky.

She’s better off hanging around as a potential VP pick (although I think she’s too inexperienced for that) or hoping for a Trump victory, which would set her up well for 2022. She’d have her pick of races that year: She could run for Johnny Isakson’s Senate seat or challenge Brian Kemp again for governor. Isakson will be 77 and may be disinclined to run again if the state is trending purple. Either way, with Trump two years into his second term, Democrats would be primed for another backlash-fueled wave election in the midterms, which might be enough to lift Abrams to victory. She’s young enough that she doesn’t need to run this year. Better to pick her spots and wait for a more winnable election.

The post Stacey Abrams’s big 2020 announcement: I’m here to let you know that I’m … not running for president appeared first on Hot Air.

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ABC: Trump’s own internal polling in March showed him trailing far behind Biden in battleground states

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It makes me laugh how sensitive people get about bad polling this far out, and by “people” I mean you-know-who. A few days ago the Times reported that “After being briefed on a devastating 17-state poll conducted by his campaign pollster, Tony Fabrizio, Mr. Trump told aides to deny that his internal polling showed him trailing Mr. Biden in many of the states he needs to win, even though he is also trailing in public polls from key states like Texas, Michigan and Pennsylvania.” He didn’t like that:

At first glance, by “Suppression Polls” I thought he meant that the media was trying to suppress his turnout by publishing discouraging information — 17 months before Election Day, when there’ll be literally thousands of domestic and foreign developments between now and then that ultimately determine how people vote. That would be inane. But no, what he meant (I think?) is that the press has the “real” polls and is suppressing them in order to … make him feel bad, I guess? I don’t know. If you’re going to invent a narrative, “Tight race between Trump and Biden in battlegrounds” sounds juicier than “Biden leading Trump by margins that’ll never, ever hold up in reality.”

But Trump has been consistent about this. From the first few weeks of his administration, any news that might reflect badly on him is necessarily “fake news.” And that definitely includes polling.

The wrinkle in this new ABC report is that his own campaign manager has confirmed that these polls are real — or were. They’re now outdated, says Brad Parscale. And wouldn’t you know it, he says that in the latest internal polling Trump has zoomed ahead.

The polling data, revealed for the first time by ABC News, showed a double-digit lead for Biden in Pennsylvania 55-39 and Wisconsin 51-41 and had Biden leading by seven points in Florida. In Texas, a Republican stronghold, the numbers showed the president only leading by two points…

“These leaked numbers are ancient, in campaign terms, from months-old polling that began in March before two major events had occurred: the release of the summary of the Mueller report exonerating the President, and the beginning of the Democrat candidates defining themselves with their far-left policy message,” Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale told ABC News in a statement. “Since then, we have seen huge swings in the President’s favor across the 17 states we have polled, based on the policies now espoused by the Democrats. For example, the plan to provide free health care to illegal immigrants results in an 18-point swing toward President Trump.”

Attorney General Bill Barr’s summary of special counsel Robert Mueller investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election was released on March 24. While the Trump campaign’s full poll, which canvassed 17 states, was already in the field, it was well underway for four additional days after the release of Barr’s letter to the public.

Recently, said Parscale, the campaign has begun to conduct polling keyed to specific issues that Democrats are running on and those polls are much more encouraging, with Trump allegedly leading in Florida by eight points. (Spoiler: He will not win Florida by anything like eight points, just like Biden won’t win Pennsylvania or Wisconsin by double digits.) The trouble with his broader argument, that the March data is outdated because it doesn’t include voter reaction to Mueller clearing Trump of collusion, is that there have been lots of public polls since then showing that Mueller’s conclusions didn’t move the needle much for Trump. His average job approval on March 24 was 43.1; today it’s 44.1. That’s a good number for him and shows promise, but a one-point average gain isn’t going to completely turn around a race like the Pennsylvania one where Biden is supposedly up by 15.

Plus, Parscale neglects to mention that Biden got a big bounce when he finally entered the race in late April, a month after the internal poll described above was completed. He went from 30 percent or so in the Democratic primary average all the way up to 41 percent before cooling off and returning to the 32.3 percent support he currently enjoys. It’s highly unlikely that Biden’s announcement triggered rising support for him in various public polls and distinguished him as the clear frontrunner in the Democratic field and yet, simultaneously, saw him tank against Trump in various battleground states where he had been leading big. Even Parscale’s point about polling on the issues doesn’t really add up for Biden. It may be that some of Bernie Sanders’s more wild-eyed plans poll poorly when tested, but Biden’s guaranteed to embrace a more moderate agenda if he’s the nominee. If it’s true that even Biden’s platform is toxic to American voters than what Parscale means to say is that no Democrat can win. Trump’s victory is assured. No one believes that.

Here’s a more convincing explanation for why this internal poll can be safely regarded, from the pollster himself:

That would explain the ludicrous 16-point Biden lead Fabrizio found in Pennsylvania. But this too comes with a grain of salt: Per the Times excerpt up top, Trump instructed his aides to simply lie about the results when asked. Would Fabrizio tell us the truth about the results if they were unflattering to POTUS, knowing his job might be on the line if he did? And what does he mean specifically when he mentions that Democrats were “defined”? Defined how? If he asked voters, “Do you prefer Donald Trump or Joe Biden, who’s a plagiarist, a China dove, and a cuck?”, he might indeed have seen more voters favor Trump. But that wouldn’t be a very useful poll.

Anyway. The proper response to bad early internal polls is not to make up some nonsense about how they’ve completely turned around in the span of 10 weeks, it’s to point to the track record of polling this early and say, “Who cares?” The early general-election polls tell us nothing. They’re fun for bloggy water-cooler conversation but they’re nothing to worry about yet, let alone lie about.

In the runup to the 2016 presidential election, this same question came up, and FiveThirtyEight analyzed general election polls from 1944 to 2012 that tested the eventual nominees and were conducted in the last two months of the year before the election (so for 2012, that would be November and December of 2011). On average, these polls missed the final result by 11 percentage points.

Jump back to roughly this point in the 2016 cycle, for example, and Clinton was ahead of all eight of her hypothetical GOP opponents in a May 2015 Quinnipiac poll, with a whopping 50-32 advantage over Trump.

It’s especially foolish to invest in early general-election polls this year when Democrats are split not just among candidates but among ideologies. Is Trump going to face Obama’s VP or an avowed socialist? That’ll matter in swing states, a lot. And yet it’s a complete mystery and will remain so for months.

There’s no reason to sweat the numbers now but there’s no reason to be in denial about them either. Lots of public polling shows that Trump has work to do in battleground states, with the most recent survey dropping just this afternoon. He has a good economic argument for reelection. That may be all he needs.

The post ABC: Trump’s own internal polling in March showed him trailing far behind Biden in battleground states appeared first on Hot Air.

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Stacey Abrams: If we don’t secure our democracy in 2020, we might be speaking Russian in 2030

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I’ve looked around for video of this with no luck but it must be that she was making a grim joke at Trump’s expense, a deliberately absurd exaggeration to emphasize a point. I … think?

Granted, the left seems willing to entertain any scenario when it comes to alleged collusion between Trump and Russia, up to and including that Moscow changed the vote totals in 2016. A Gallup poll taken last summer found that 78 percent of Democrats believed that Russian interference was decisive in 2016 — not just that it happened but that the Kremlin’s activities changed the outcome from a Clinton win to a Trump win. A YouGov poll taken last fall during the week of the midterms found that two-thirds of Democrats believe it’s “definitely” or “probably” true that Russia tampered with vote tallies to get Trump elected, a claim which even Barack Obama has debunked as lacking evidence. “We might actually be speaking Russian 10 years from now” feels like it could potentially show up in the D-bloc of Rachel Maddow’s show on an especially slow news night. It’s comically outlandish, but the Resistance often is.

And granted, Abrams’s endless insistence that she’s the true winner of the Georgia gubernatorial race long ago proved that she’s willing to embrace crankery if only for reasons of political expedience. Case in point, the fact that Bob Mueller found insufficient evidence to charge Trump with conspiracy didn’t deter her from keeping collusion hopes alive a few weeks ago either:

She’s a Yale-trained lawyer. She understands that Mueller didn’t exonerate Trump on obstruction but did basically exonerate him on collusion, and yet her statement conflates the two issues. She also understands why the full report can’t be released to the public, yet there she was insisting that it must be. So, yeah, it’s possible that Abrams wasn’t joking about speaking Russian in 2030. That doesn’t mean she believes it, just that she knows what her audience wants to hear and is willing to deliver it to them, like any successful politician.

Relatively successful, I mean. She hasn’t won statewide office yet, nor federal office. But the progressives and data nerds who make frequent cameos in my Twitter timeline treat the prospect of another Abrams candidacy the way baseball fans treated Bryce Harper’s call-up to the majors in 2012. We are in the presence of a star with no ceiling, at whose feet history lies whimpering. (Would’ve been true in Mike Trout’s case, actually.) That’s amazing hype for someone who’s never won an election beyond the level of George state representative, but between her SOTU rebuttal, her new status as the left’s most prominent advocate against voter suppression, and the fact that she’s the only would-be 2020 candidate besides Kamala Harris who’s actually part of the women and nonwhite constituencies on whom Dems depend, she’s essentially sacrosanct. If there’s a Democratic politician in the U.S. of any prominence who hasn’t endorsed the theory that Abrams “really” won the Georgia election, I’m unaware of them. How the hell is the competition going to attack her if she jumps into the presidential race?

I think she’s going to do it. She made her Russia “joke” at one foreign-policy forum in D.C. today before heading out to another foreign-policy forum. That’s the sort of event you do if you’re looking to build credibility as a would-be commander-in-chief, not if you’re narrowly focused on voting rights. She confirmed yesterday that she’s still thinking about getting in, then dropped the following comment at one of the foreign-policy events today. If she doesn’t run for president now and ends up losing a second bid at governor in 2022, she’s probably finished as a political force. Why wouldn’t she run?

The post Stacey Abrams: If we don’t secure our democracy in 2020, we might be speaking Russian in 2030 appeared first on Hot Air.

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A new twist on the Bob Kraft hooker video

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Last week we looked at the efforts by New England Patriots owner Bob Kraft’s attorneys to suppress the release of a video allegedly showing him “engaged” with a prostitute and giving her cash. While Kraft’s legal team seemed to be making some solid arguments about why giving the video to the press could poison his case, Florida’s “sunshine law” seemed to make it clear that the video would have to be made public unless the state legislature ruled otherwise. A judge put the matter on hold until he could rule on the matter.

Turns out that Team Kraft has some pretty sharp legal experts on the payroll. Despite what the sunshine law appears to dictate, prosecutors have been told to keep the happy ending film under wraps for now, and possibly until the trial is done. (Boston Globe)

A Florida judge has ordered that a video police say shows New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft paying for sex not be publicly released for now.

Palm Beach County Judge Leonard Hanser accepted arguments by Kraft’s attorneys that releasing the video could harm chances for a fair trial on misdemeanor prostitution charges, and ruled Tuesday that it shouldn’t be handed to the media as a public record until a jury is seated, a plea agreement is reached or the state drops the case…

Also on Tuesday, a circuit court judge ruled that attorneys for Orchids of Asia owner Hua Zhang and therapist Lei Wang can subpoena TheBlast.com in an effort to determine who tried to sell it a video of Kraft paying for sex at the massage parlor.

Not all of the credit (?) here goes to Kraft’s attorneys. This case is turning into a mess on a number of levels. (More on that in a moment.) But the point being made by Kraft is that putting the video out in public prior to the trial would poison the jury pool and leave him unable to receive a fair trial. Depending on what exactly was captured on camera and the context of the encounter, that’s probably true. But what does this mean for the future of Florida’s sunshine law? If a judge can order an exception in one case, anyone who might be damaged by having any records made public can request the same treatment.

Getting back to the problems the prosecutors now have, this entire case is turning into a dumpster fire. It seems that the original warrant allowing cameras to be installed at the spa is being challenged on multiple fronts. First of all, the reason given was the suspicion of human trafficking. Apparently, there was no trafficking discovered, calling the basis for the original warrant into question. (That’s another line of attack Kraft’s lawyers have been taking as well.)

On top of that, the video allegedly captured more than a dozen other people who were naked and getting a legitimate massage (not a happy ending) and seventeen of them have filed suit to have the videos locked down and eventually destroyed. They are also suing for unspecified damages and it sounds like they have a strong case.

So this video is under attack from all angles. And if the warrant for the cameras is found to be flawed, prosecutors will lose their most powerful piece of evidence. In that case, it will be the prosecutors who are left holding the bag and Kraft could still wind up walking away from this scot-free. Or, at most, the trafficking charges seem to be off the table and the only thing they could tag him with is solicitation, and they probably wouldn’t have any witnesses to testify to that.

The post A new twist on the Bob Kraft hooker video appeared first on Hot Air.

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