During a Sunday morning appearance on CNN with Jake Tapper, former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams (D) declined to say whether left-wing sloganeering, such as “defund the police,” could hurt Democrats in the upcoming Georgia Senate races, as some Democrats believe it did in the 2020 congressional races.
“You just heard Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, earlier in the show, talking about how some of the sloganeering — his word, not mine — by progressives reminded him of ‘burn, baby, burn’ during the 60s turning voters off,” remarked Tapper. “He told Politico this week that if Democrats quote ‘run on Medicare for All, defund the police, socialized medicine, we’re not going to win’ the Georgia Senate races. Does he have a point?”
Instead of answering Tapper’s question — a question that seems to be on the mind of many swing-district Democrats in Congress — Abrams decided to talk about the coronavirus and predict Georgia Democrats would actually win the Senate races.
“I have watched John Ossoff and Raphael Warnock run smart, disciplined campaigns that speak to the needs and the desires of Georgia voters. We live in a state that is being overrun by COVID with failed leadership from our governor, failed leadership from Donald Trump, and they have a plan to make certain that we survive and recover,” she said.
Abrams proceeded to bring up the topics of “access to justice” and “corruption,” and added that ultimately, Georgia voters would be convinced to vote in the special elections. And earlier in the interview, she called it an “anachronistic notion” that Democrats are doomed to fail in the races.
In an interview published Sunday, Congressman Conor Lamb (D-PA) suggested that Democrats need to be more forceful in their opposition to “defund the police.”
“I think we can do it much more clearly and repetitively and show it with our actions. We need to have a unified Democratic message about good law enforcement and how to keep people safe, while addressing the systemic racism that I do believe exists and the racial inequities that absolutely do exist,” Lamb told The New York Times.
But with two special elections for the U.S. Senate seats from Georgia slated for January, time may be running out for Democrats to sufficiently distance themselves from such rhetoric, particularly if other members of Congress don’t seem to believe that the sloganeering was a problem in the first place.
“If you look at some of the arguments that are being advanced, that ‘defund the police’ hurt or that arguments about socialism hurt, not a single member of congress that I’m aware of campaigned on socialism or defunding the police in this general election,” Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) told Tapper on Sunday.
“These were largely slogans, or they were demands from activist groups that we saw the largest uprising in American history around police brutality,” continued Ocasio-Cortez, who has recently chalked up criticism of the slogans to “racial resentment attacks” from the political Right. “So the question that we have is, how can we build a more effective Democratic operation that is stronger and more resilient to Republican attacks.”