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tv   After Words Greg Bluestein Flipped - How Georgia Turned Purple and Broke...  CSPAN  August 19, 2022 12:58pm-1:56pm EDT

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not all white people are similarly situated and not all black people are disadvantaged and it cripples our children so we are talking about white children or black children, they are crippled by critical race theory and it been taught and pushed across america and unfortunately we will find it and secular schools as well as religious schools and it's become like a religion and something people need to understand fully and one reason i wrote the book but i want americans to understand what critical theory is, where it came from, how it impacts our society and how we can fight back against it. i think it is very important and that americans seek solutions and unite across racial ethnic and political lines uniting
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against critical race theory because they in no it's morally wrong. >> in-depth live first sunday of every month. you can watch this program and all previous episodes in their entirety at the, in-depth tab near the top of the page. >> greg, it's good to have you here with us to talk about such an important moment in our political history in the state of georgia. i've been a fan for a while and i've followed you on social media so it's an honor to be able to ask you these questions that we can't fit into tweets. >> it's an honor to be here, thank you for having me. >> can you tell people not familiar with you, who you are and what you do and how you got to this position. >> i grew up north of the city wants to be a journalist the fourth grade and billy jumped
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into it starting in high school was editor of the school newspaper at the university of georgia. when i first started covering camp, is senate candidate running incumbent democrat when democrats ran the state and he flipped the seat so that was maybe the first i covered was in 2002 and bryan kemp ran that and since then i covered the rise of sunny paducah as a first republic and governor since reconstruction and documenting two terms as governor of georgia. ...
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>> you got a few elections to go including one this year so that 2020 election could be trumped to use a popular overused term right now. i wanted to get back to your history of political journalism. when you were a student did you know this was thepath you wanted to be in ? >> as a young student, and elementary students, i wanted nothing more than to cover the atlanta braves. we grow up in the era of the braves when they went from last-place the first place in the 90s and became a dominant powerhouse and i wasobsessed . as a constitution the reporter came and spoke to my fourth grade class, i became obsessed with covering the braves and my mom told me to do that means you have to type and at the time that seemed way too daunting so
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i'll do something easier. i want to be a doctor for a while there i had this dream of becoming a doctor even though i had bad grades all my science classes and my ap exams and it was in high school where i recaptured the bond bug to go cover politics and at the university of georgiathe editor of the school paper , i got very involved in covering campus movements, political groups and the rise of the time the rise of republican politicians in georgia politics because again democrats raneverything at the time . >> for better or worse as you know politics can sometimes very much feel like sports and you're seeing some figures from the sports world and her politics that you probably wouldn't predict while you were in, people like herschelwalker. has that race been a surprise to you at all ? >> it's a great segue because it has. someone like me who grew up
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in atlanta, grew up in georgia, i wasn't born when he led the ug eight to its first national championship in decades but i do appear in stories about him and that's why he hassuch high name recognition . even folks like me who never got to see him play grew up hearing stories about his athletic beats and allthat . so that helped put him in the position he's in right now. he had both donald trump's endorsement and mitch mcconnell's endorsement . he's at 60, 70, 80 percent in the polls we've seen. a commanding lead over his rivals. closer of course in the general election but he's in a solid position to win the nomination and it's partly because he probably doesn't need mcconnell's endorsement for donald trump's endorsement. he can be in the same general area without their support because of that highname recognition but he's ablank slate as a candidate . we still don't know where he stands on a number of issues . we still at the atlanta journal conversation
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constitution haven't had an interview with him and many mainstream outlets haven't, mostly with friendly audiences. there's a lot that remains to be seen and certainly how he navigates the troubled past that includes allegations of domestic abuse, erratic behavior and questions about his business background will loom very large and that race . >> i want to get to 20/20 in your book but i want to stay on this 2022 race for a while. how much herschel walker selection by the gop do you believe is a response to how the republicans did in 2020 in the senate race? >> a lot of it is a response to wanting to have a new face, an outsider. georgia republicans and really republicans through the country i think particularly in georgia are obsessed with the idea. david perdue is not a candidate for governor who ran for u.s. senate with
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outsider label. it was front and center and it was about everything he talkedabout, he was the outsider politician and there's no outsider like herschel walker . he has lived in the state for years. and he certainly wasn't involved in conventional politics. he was a big trump surrogate but he wasn't involved in day-to-day politics in georgia so he's running as an outsider, also running with the trump brand. it might not matter, you might have been in this position even without trump's endorsement but certainly these looked at as part of this program from slate coming to georgia and part of the former president's image is his attempt to remake the republican party in georgia in his own mind, his in his own image. he wants to oust a lot of incumbents who either align with governor or he feels like a light against him in the 2020 election even though there pretty much lockstep support for the former
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president among the gop here a lot of this 2022 election is already inching on the republican side at least around a fascination with 2020 and these walls claims of election fraud in georgia. >> you mentioned republicans in george's obsession with an outsider and then you went on to say or at least an outsider label and quite frankly you talk about that in your book a bit when it comes to perdue and i think that applies to wofford. these are people who aren't actually outsiders, they're very familiar to republicans in the state who been paying attention for a while. is that fair? >> their first time candidates in herschel walker's case now but their namebrand figures. herschel walker is almost universal recognition among voters in georgia because in part because of his athletic needs and david perdue, even though he himself is not well-known when he ran for
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2014, he comes from one of those famous families in georgia, sonny perdue's first cousin was first republican georgia governor in georgia since reconstruction so he had some labor to produce network and political operation at his side as he ran his campaign but even brian who ran as an outsider for governor against the lieutenant governor casey cagle at the time in the republican side but brian even though he called himself an outsider, his office was directly across the rotunda casey cagle, he was secretary of state you see that in politics everywhere but especially in georgia you see people who literally elected statewide officials still say their outsiders to political gain even though they've been in state office for years. >> who does not appeal to? certainly people know these are individuals who are not literally outsiders but when
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they defined themselves as outsiders who are they helping, hoping to reach? >> the conservative base in states like georgia. you hear it over and over again when you're out there on campaign stops talking to voters. they want somebody who can shake up atlanta, shake up washington and they don't want the status quo. there's the sense that there is corruption or there's malaise or gridlock and they want someone who can help fight for them and it has been sort of a calling card for republican officials especially in georgia to say that they can be that candidate who can maybe channel a little bit of donald trump. the same sentiment we saw republicans flock to with donald trump, they're trying to harness that same power and it's been hard for the insider candidates . casey cagle was lieutenant governor at the time was defeated by brian at a real challenge with that because event of return senate governor, apicture of the state capital . that was who he was and to see those forces kind of be
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turned against him, the same things that got him to become a front-runner of the republican side was turned against him just a fewyears later . >> and with that appeal to the conservative base because of dissatisfaction with the base, with the status quo in the gop? >> it's a feeling that folks are being left behind. forgot in. that their values are not being embraced. it is a lot like donald trump's line in 2016 fighting for the forgotten man and there's a lot of voters especially in ruralgeorgia feel like their aggrieved , who feel like their forgot and even though the people in power often timesare rural what georgians just like them . >> you mentioned the desire to turn out the base. that's something that both the democrats and republicans focus on quite a bit understandably but it seems times as if democrats are a little more concerned about winning people from outside of their base, maybe
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independence and even republicans. you see that at all with the republican party because it seems like these candidates may not be able to be as successful in turning out people who are true believers, is that fair? >> republicans in georgia believe they can keep that coalition together. keep the same coalition of power them for years in the last two decades and they can win. that they can turn out their base, the change we've seen on the democrat side for a long time in georgia especially in the early 2010 , late 2000, we saw democrats really try to win back suburban voters who had gone to the gop . you know, moderate middle-of-the-road voters who felt alienated by national credit policies and that's why we had democratic candidates who embrace issues like extending gun rights. who didn't really wait wade into culture wars for or
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against. we stayed away from barack obama and other national democratic figures when they came to town. we saw that change with stacy abrams and stacy abrams ran in 2018, not only did she support gun restrictions but boasted of her rating with the nra and years later gubernatorial statewide candidate called themselves and and are a democrat so you saw this sort of seachange of democrats laying to their base for the first time aggressively rather than going towards them. >> but that's not necessarily what happened at the democratic party at the national level and even now the desire for the white house to appeal to people beyond the base is something that makes biden the object of quite a bit of criticism. we see often from those in the base. have you seen that in georgia as well? >> there's a feeling among democrats this cycle that it
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would be hard to re-create what happened. the magic in 20/20 where you had a huge surge in turnout voters and suburban voters and the base showing up in urban parts of georgia. to re-create that won't be easy especially without donald trump on the ballot. especially without the extraordinary consensus we had with a surge in mail in voting and that's why stacy abramsas she's running for governor , she's already locked down the image among liberals of being this progressive icon . right now her campaign is revolving and it can be summed up in two words: expand medicaid. that's an issue she feels has a broader base of support and one she ties back to every question she gets whether it be about infrastructure, economic development, whatever it is she finds a way to tie that back to expanding medicaid. >> you mentioned the magic of
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20/20, the coronavirus pandemic, trump being on the ballot and the social justice movements which you talk about as making people think differently about a lot of issues that they perhaps hadn't reflected on quite a bit but you also mention in your book that what happened with the democrats in georgia , the success they've experienced didn't come out of anywhere. they were strategizing and organizing work involved and that had been in the making for years. can you explain some of that to people? >> it's important for a national audience to know this was not some kind of overnight success , a miracle that just happened . it took years of work from stacy abrams but also organizes on the grassroots level to have this plan 10 years ago to build the party back up and engaging with voters who felt disengaged, alienated from the process on
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issues that matter to them rather than trying to run as republican lights or stick to the middle on every issue, democrats started embracing their core authentic values. whether that be gun-control or criminaljustice reforms and decriminalizing marijuana . whether that meant different taxing policies that involve more income tax credits for middle-class and lower income families. all those played into this higher, broader pitch that also included expanding medicaid which was an issue in 14, 18 and in 2022 in georgia so all these played together with democrats saying we can still win the middle that we don't have to necessarily alienate the left by aiming at the middle the entire time. so we started pushing for democratic leaning core voters particularly those younger voters, voters of color who didn'tvote often in midterm elections and even
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skipped presidential elections . >> republicans in terms of expanding their coalition he talked about that earlier . can you explain to people who may not know what the collection or the gop looks like in georgia and how it may look hitler or different from the national gop coalition? >> the democratic coalition of 20 years ago was in tatters, basically rural white democrats, yellow dog democrats, they been democrats for ever and urban mostly minority black democrats, voters of color in cities like atlanta and savannah and columbus . as that pattern of republicans picked up to the point now where rural counties that went 80 percent donald trump went 90 percent brian kept just two years later so republicans are basically trying to lean up every vote they can in rural parts of georgia knowing that
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, there's no guarantee. these are places where population is dwindling. they're going to struggle in the long-term to keep on relying on these rural counties but in the short term they feel like it's enough to keep them in power. and that's going to be a strategy of governor or david purdue or whoever ends up the republican nominee will be part of their strategy in november as wellin the suburbs of atlantahave gone not just , they bond decisively democrat . cobb county, when it counts, popular counties northeast and northwest and northeast of atlanta where many million people live combined. those are counties that used to be republican fortresses and as they've grown more diverse and gotten more out-of-state residents who lived there, and as the state has become more politically competitive those states have flipped solidly blue. when it county particularly so is pushing 60 percent democratic support right now. and those have become the cornerstones of democratic
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success while at the same time their growing exerts just north of those counties have become much more important to republican base right now. the republican party is keeping those counties not just red but solidly red. so that's how we seen the republican strategies evolve. but no, republicans aren't necessarily aiming their messages at the middle of the electorate. they're trying to bring out as much support as they can for the base and we're seeing that right now as georgia's legislative session continues with a number of basically culture war issues that are meant to energize republican voters. >> so it's been a steady identity politics in every way possible when you look at the changing demographics of georgia and the cities and rural communities over the past decade and how that affects state and national politics it seems.
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>> your right and they used to be the same. there was two georgians, there's rural and urban now there's four george's, and each have very different voter compositions and very different electorates. very different issues and that's a challenge for any state , finding this sort of package of messaging appeals to all of those various electorates because very different priorities. agriculture is still by far the number one industry in georgia and voters who are in the industry have distinct concerns from voters like saint up in natural to suburbs or voters in just a little further out can rarely come into atlanta but live in the exerts and like it that way. >> what are some of the lessons learned that you have witnessed from the republican party since 2020 that can influence how things turn out this fall. >> in one sense, they can learn from democrats in terms of engaging voters who rarely vote. it became troll of support
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for stacy abrams, for rafael warnock in the last election cycles. to capture those votes and energize those voters who skip midterm elections and felt like they were part of the process. you didn't find a candidate who can keep that message objectively. that takes years of work and the republicans have done that. it's not something that they were not constantly thinking of in georgia. they knew this blue wave was on its way. they were trying to build what they called the big red wall to fight back. in 2020 it was the big red wall was not cold enough to keep the wave from crashing over them but they feel like they're already starting to work to energize their base and reach out to those voters that skipped 2018 and might have stayed home in 2020. their biggest issue though still continues to be trump. the former president endorsed seven candidates in georgia including the challengers to
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better, candidate personal water force including a lot of challengers for down ticket races that most georgians frankly are paying that much attention to right now. and these fuel dynamic continues to impact race, trump even had a rally a few days ago in exerts of northeast georgia he talked about voters staying home in november as brian kent was the party's nominee. that will continue for republicans in georgia and potentially help democrats who can just kind of pointed across the party i'll and say they're still fighting. >> what you think republicans were so aware or anxious about the blue wave coming in 2020 as the gop has been incredibly successful for more than a decade in the state when it comes to some of the biggest races . >> your right, they control up until 2020 control every statewide office.
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they controlled themajority of the georgia legislature. they control a majority of the national delegation . there's a good question, why worry? they'rewinning every election . in another sense you look at just the track. in 2014 they can deal 1.8 points to be elected as governor. in 2016 donaldtrump wins by five points . captures the state by five points. in 2018, brian wins by a point and a half so the track getting more narrow but also republicans were very well aware of those efforts from democrats who believe that the graphics is important but it's not necessarily destiny . we need to find those ways to energize voters so republicans were looking , david purdue. he's a corporate executive so he's always interested in what the competition is doing so he paid very close attention as did other senior republicans to what stacy abrams and her allies were doing to energize their voters, to mobilize,
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register, all those things they need to do to get a groundswell of new support, they were paying attention to that and wondering how they can do it as well how divided is the state republican party when it comes to trump? we know the former president has and george are handful of candidates and also walked away from some that he seemed to be in good terms, on good terms with back in 2020 or even before. are you seeing the party not be completely sure where they want to go in terms of the future of the gop west and mark. >> i think georgia is the biggest test of doldrums crowds in the nation and it's not just because of the sheer number of candidates season doors . it's because of that nature of the candidacy . these endorsed, these are humans, he endorsed a bunch of incumbents that are unlikely to win. he endorsed challengers going up against strong incumbents with high name recognition
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that have been in these races for years and in some cases incumbents who kind of done nothing to alienate donald trump other than being supported by governor so georgia is that test case and we'll see a mate on may 24 during our primaries republican mainstream voters come out in force behind governor or if you see this sort of groundswell of pro-donaldtrump support , and crash wave over republican incumbents who are backed by him but certainly there's issues. that continue to divide republicans and their stories on the number of times and also included in my book but the very fact that republicans now there's affection of republicans in georgia that say we need to focus on 2022, on inflation, on the global supply chain issues. on healthcare, different
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issues that are priorities among georgia voters there's a faction of republicans that says hey, will look at that too but 20/20 is our main arena. going back to 2020and all this , all these conspiracy theories and falsehoods about election fraud in georgia which are all false . there multiple election officials have said there's no indication of any fraud and that three tallies of votes, with the audience. even trump's own attorney general said there was a free and fair election but there's this obsession in 2020 and i saw firsthand donald trump's rally a few days ago when issues that used to be an applause line like trying got an applause but when donald trump or any of the speakers talked about 20/20 there was a roar from the crowd so it showed at least among trump supporters of that rally there's still significant motivation in talking about 2020 rather than 2022. >> but when you think of these voters and these even elected officials who seem to be consumed with 2020, what's the end result that they are hoping for? and if they don't get that which is unlikely that they
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won't get whatever their end result is that there desiring, would they let go of this focus on 2020 and 2022 or is this going to be the new priority for these people? >> i was shocked in mid-november 2020 when we were talking about contesting the election and republican trump supporters were fixated on that. i had no idea it wouldstill drag on into 2022 but that's what's happened . there are rallies around the state where people wear trump one shirts. i interviewed voterswho were convinced at this rally that donald trump would be president now, not in 2024 but that somehow he would be reinstated . and you see statewide candidates for attorney general who are secretary of state, some of the top offices in georgia who said their first steps would be to launch investigations into
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what happened in 2020 and to quote, hold full to countable . which has a number of meetings but when david purdue says something along those lines, they are locked in chess corrupted right behind him that was in reference to brian. so again, it becomes this, it still becomes this energizing fuel, rocket fuel and sent to the donald trump supporters in georgia and i'm sure leon who still think that there was some sort offraud , rampant corruption, rate election, all these conspiracy theories donald trump has been talking about is firmly rooted itself in at least a faction of the georgia republican party. >> as someone who's been paying attention to brian for. >> sometime, what's it been like covering his decreasing popularity with some people in the gop for you, have come as a surprise for did you see that coming before this
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moment? >> it's been head spinning because remember, governor in part poses election victory in 2018 to donald trump. six days before the runoff republican vote donald trump sent out to saint essentially governor can, brian would be the best republican on the ticket and gave him his full throated endorsement that changed the game. he was in the lead in the polls but in a tight race against lieutenant governor casey cagle at the time. and he went from close likely win but close to a runaway route. he won every one of george's hundred 50 counties but to. so that shows you even when casey wasthere, that shows you what the trump endorsements meant in 2018 . you could see their ties were starting to straight a little bit during the pandemic and particularly by going into some great detail in the book governor hit kelly leffler for a senate seat against or
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not with the full political approval of the president at the time . that was when it strangely started but accelerated during the election process and afterwards where trump wanted brian kemp to call a special session that could have resulted in lawmakers trying to overturn the election that he did not want brian to sign off on the results of the election to certify those results even though the governor was bound and there were other trump supporters and felt brian should be on the airways talking up these conspiracy theories. brian can't use to be secretary of state so heknows election laws better than most people around the nation in georgia because he has his hands on approach to all these issues and he wasn't ready to go there for donald trump . that key donald trump to the point where you saw this outrage that ended in donald
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trump not only calling for brian kemp to resign but saying early last year he would hold rallies and be back in georgia to rally against donald and that is what he's done. >> based on your conversations with insiders, people who have known kemp or a wild, what's it been like for him to see someone have such a major role in their success and perhaps their failure if they continue to go theway the former president wants ? >> at first it was according tofull surround him it was frustrating, it was maddening . they felt like brian kemp had doneeverything possible to support the president'sagenda and support his time in office . now it's kind of baked in . now whatever donald trump says at his rallies, anything he can do. he's already said itall. he's already gone so far as to say and september the
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rather see stacy abrams as governor than brian . and in the republican world there's not much worse you can do and say you'd rather see the arch nemesis of georgiarepublicans be the governor than brian kemp . in that sense you still won't see ryan, not here brian can't say a bad word publicly about donald trump. when he's asked about the endorsement and about his opponents trump backed campaign, he'll focus on david purdue or his own agenda and he'll say i can't control what other people are doing, i can only control what i'm doingand that's been the standard . you're not going to hear him bash the former president. you won't hear him try to engage in a fight with him because he's not going to win that fight . he doesn't have more twitter followers. he doesn't have more email followers. he doesn't have the same megaphone the former president has for the same appeal nationally what he has that is running on his record that he thinks conservative voters can end up supporting.
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>> speaking of stacy abrams winning instead of brian kemp if that were apossibility, what is the democratic party saying as a whole in terms of abrams ? is there a way that believes that maybe the democrats could have been more successful in the last governor's race if they had someone who was not as associated be it perception or fact with the most progressive parts of the party? >> that's a great question because in 20 18th there was not never abrams wing of the party thatthought she would be an ineffective governor . that sees the wrong candidate to run statewide but you saw that pretty much effectively stamped out . fairly quickly . she be a formidable democratic opponent in 2018 will have a more conventional approach to running for office. her opponent stacy evans ran the same sort of campaign that many other statewide
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democrats ran which was trying to appeal , keeping the left energize and try to appeal and she was trounced in a primary competition and that was seen as a mandate for stacy abrams approach and when she came within a point and a half to beating brian kemp and then parlay that to even more national higher profile, even governor marveled how stacy abrams and her defeat seems to become an even bigger figure than brian kemp became in victory and certainly shedid . she was on talk shows, she wrote a string of best-selling books. she went on national tours and that sold out. i was with her not that long ago in san antonio texas in a ballroom that was packed to the gills and i was looking around, this isn't the stacy abrams new i knew a decade ago and was fairly anonymous and now she's selling out
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crowds and all over the nation . so she's become this superstar nationally but of course democrats, sorry the republicans would be used against her to say she's more interested in using the governor's office as a steppingstone for presidency and she is in georgia right now you're seeing a united democratic party behind her. she has noprimary opposition . very few democrats or elected officials if any are willing to speak out against her or see any say anything negative wasthere on the same page . they're all eating popcorn watching republicans fighting across the i. >> it definitely seems like one of those cases where losing was the real waiting for her in terms of everything that came from her defeat after the election . >> it really did. not long after election schumer, at the time the senate minority leader was urging her to run for u.s. senate. gave her a chance to give the official rebuttal to donald
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trump's state of the union speech. she was a fixture on national tv shows and national podcasts and the group she founded right after her election seat, they are quite action raised $100 million in just over a year so she became this fundraisingb as she expanded her national profile which set her up all to do what she's doing right now which we in georgia always figure. i never really thought she was going to run for senate and asked a lot of, there's a lot of talk about whether or not she would run for governor again. i was convinced for better or worse the moment she ended her campaign against brian kemp i was convinced he would relax and here we are it's interesting kemp would suggest abrams is more focused on our national platform and higher office than leaving georgia because many people have made it
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clear that is what he wants. people who know her well and her plans when others have suggested it's actually kemp who had he won would have maybe wantedto do something more outsideof georgia . is that fair or accurate ? >> it's interesting because david stacy abrams has never been shy talking about her ambitions. she feels like she shouldn't be shy. she wants to be an inspiration to other young women of color to talk about what they want to doand not be reserved about higher ambitions so as early as , and this has become a famous story but as early as she was 18 years old when she trotted out her career trajectory on a spreadsheet included at the time at least atlanta mayor. she kind of demanded that idea and replaced it with the in governor and her ultimate goal was to be president and she stopped openly that she has white house ambitions . when she was, when joe biden was recruiting a running mate she made it clear she wasn't
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going to be shy and ho-hum about. she was actively engaged in trying to be his running mate . it didn't work out that way and that meant she could completely focus her attention on being governor but that is why you see some of these tax because she's talked about white house ambitions, not running for senate but having a role in the executive branch one day. brian kemp, who knows? i know he loves being in athens where he's from. i know he likes being with georgia, a lot of those politicians say they hate washington, it's become a standard coastline of how much theyhate washington but we've heard from congress members, they don't like washington yet still run every two years to get up there . >> that's very true. one of the main talking points on democrats has been that they perhaps did not win
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because there was something wrong with the system. maybe there was some type of advantage republicans had that was unfair or unethical but are you seeing much conversation among the democratic party about reflecting on what they actually did do wrong that led to their defeat? >> in 2018. you know, there was concern that the system is not use of the word raid was set against them because brian kemp was secretary of state and that means he oversaw the election system in georgia and even as he was republican secretary of state was running for governor, stepped down despite calls from stacy abrams and many of her allies so that was the first strike against governor kemp, brian kemp in that election. but there is a strict use, a strict adherence to georgia election laws.
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and that meant that provisional ballots that had questions around them were thrown out. that meant that absentee ballots that didn't exactly match signatures could have been questioned. that meant that if you use a nickname in one document and your formal name on another that your vote could be kind of questions. scrutinize heavily. so that was maybe the top concern of stacy abrams was that pool of votes was being questioned and she filed litigation doing what i always call it the purgatory period but the 10 days after the votes in november in 2018 and before she conceded or she ended her campaign, never conceded, she ended her campaign filed a number of litigations trying to get those ballots counted all over again. and it wasn't enough. it probably wouldn't have changed the outcome of the
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election even if every single one of them was counted but there's a number of questions that has played in majorly in 2022 because last year in georgia republican led legislature passed a rewrite of georgia election laws. includes new obstacles to vote, includes photo ids for absentee ballots in georgia. it includes your limits on absentee ballot deadlines and includes more limits on ballot boxes at a number of other changes and we're not sure exactly how that will affect the election. could it affect thousands, could it affect more? we won't know until it's stress tested and we haven't had of a dress test of that election yet. we had municipal votes last year and those werelower turnout . that will be the biggest test and that will be a way for us to see how much that has changed . >> assumptions from liberals
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in the state are that it will change turnout in terms of how the election goes disadvantaging the left, is that correct ? >> there's a worry among democrats that yes, this will target voters of color disproportionately. it will protect poor voters who might not have voter ids that might not be aware of these changes. who are used to the way things were in 2020 and before and who got used to the idea of ballot drop boxes being in more abundance that they will be in 2022. a lot of education beyond that just between districts. a lot of voters have different representatives. they live in different districts now so that will be a major factor. but again, the outcome will help shape this because if we're looking at a very close race like we had between president biden and donald
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trump in 2020 where the total was affected by about 11,000, then yes. even the most minor change and i'm not saying these changes are minor. even minor changes could have affected the outcome is that it is divided by 200,000 votes , then whoever's on the losing end it will be a lot harder for them to make that. >> obviously there's been a lot of attention to the gubernatorial race and even the senate races in washington after the 2020 election. the basis of these changes we saw implemented last year from the republican legislature in athens, have you seen the democratic party at all but increased emphasis on the need to vote in more local elections fortheir members ? >> yes. there's this best effort to recruit strong down ticket
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candidates on party lines. we have more democratic candidates involved in elections in georgia andwe've seen in decades . a number of democrats are running even in unwinnable races. legislative districts where it's drawn to be not just safe republican impossible for democrats to win your seeing democrats raise their hand and run in part because they want to challenge and theythink maybe they can pull off a miracle but really , on the party level to engage voters even in these unwinnable races just to energize every book counts so it's a local democrat who has no chance of winning but can still get 50 extra people to the polls who wouldn't otherwise vote, that could add up. but we're seeing republicans do that to rid republicans are waging congressional campaigns and legislative
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campaigns against undefeatable democrats in such safely blue districtsas you can imagine . and really the interesting thing about redistricting in georgia is republican majority could have been much more aggressive in a sense. they could have read drawn lines to the cup to congressional seats rather than one in the u.s. house and multiple legislative seats but instead they decided to play it safe for in order to retain their majority through the rest of the decade because some of those seats they could have potentially flipped two seats in the house this election cycle. but both those seats could have been vulnerable in 2024, 2026 and instead they drew one seat, barely save republicans, it's not democratic control and another seat could be safely democratic so there hedging their bets. >> what are the ideas that you are seeing takes center stage that they're hoping will be more winsome this year that perhaps we are not,
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primary or back in 2018? >> on the republican side we are seeing a return to culture wars in georgia that we haven't seen in a long time. one of the first things governor kemp did when he took office was signed a sweeping antiabortion law and was something his predecessors try to avoid and he's expected to soon sign a very broad range of gun rights expansions into law. first that energizing voters but there's been a return to culture wars. we're seeing legislation that seeks to so that teachers can talkabout race and gender in the classrooms, what republicans called divisive content . your seeing legislation that gives school officials more powerto ban what they see as offensive books , obscene books . restrictions on transgender athletes from competing in
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certain high school sports. so we'reseeing a broad range of those issues , in the georgia legislature that governor kemp will put front andcenter in his election campaign . as a motivating factor for republicans to vote and on the democratic side as i mentioned earlier if stacy abrams campaign can be summed up its medicaid. she has many of the same platform ideas she had she's not talking about them to the same degree that she is expanding medicaid but on the federal level are also seeing something different. democrats acknowledge and embrace the fact that in inflation and global supply-chain problems and rising fuel prices are going to be a major factor in how voters decide how to support in november so shortly after senator rafael warnock qualified to run for another term the first things out of his mouth were i'm going to go back to washington and help fight rising prices so right now, is top priority is
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federal gas income tax rate for gas. it is capping insulin. it's the price of insulin at $35. it is going after what he says and sees our price counters on the global supply-chain is going after issues like that that are frankly not divisive, they're not really partisan . there more populism than anything. >> but warnock is a candidate who his critics are being very aggressive and somehow trying to associate with identity as opposed to issues and symbolism far more so than some type of resort. have you seen that campaign push back on that in a way that could be effective with voters that maybe aren't quite sure how they feel about warnock? >> we saw that to a major degree in the 20/20campaign . a lot of the same attacks
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wedged against barack obama during his presidential runs were leveled against rafael warnock. in a debate he had with kelly leoffler so many times he she called him a radical liberal. it plays into the fears of republicans that the nationis slipping down on more leftward path . and certainly rafael warnock has a progressive track record and if you look at his biggest issue of last year , when he was most identified with was federal voting rights expansion. the john lewis act that got held up in legislative gridlock. but this year course he has not abandoned support for that at all but this year you're not seeing him emphasize that issue nearly as much as he's emphasizing these other issues . fighting rising inflation, federal gas tax breaks.
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capping the price of insulin. all those things are the message that he is pounding every day and it's meant to show that you can work across party lines and embrace them of these more consensus driven,nonpartisan issues . >> when you think about warnock and ossoff, were their victories surprising still after a bidens or after, or were they expected i guess after bidens if and how democrats turned out? >> the biggest challenge for all four of those candidates was trying to get, they all captivated very early that they could get the exact same coalition and help the left, that they can get the same group of voters out they'd win because turnouts generally have lower runoffs generally have lower turn out but what it ended up being was basically a crapshoot. more than half $1 billion was spent on tv ads though it was hard for any individual ad to stand out, if you turn on a
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computer, turn on your tv, there to look at something on your smartphone you were going to see an ad for one of these for candidates or their allies. even watching christmas specials or holiday movies, my kids were treated to all sorts of videos about rockdale warnock being a radical liberal or whatever it mightbe at the time . no one was scared in georgia as my head as much as you might havethought . it became this all out battle and both parties and all four candidates again retreated to their course. rafael warnock and john ossoff made the calculation they could reach the base again and if they could get as many joe biden voters as possible to come back up,they win . and kelly leoffler and david purdue made the same calculation but there was donald trump kept moving the
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goal posts, kept insisting on more test of loyalty that culminated in his call for both david purdue and kelly leoffler to object to the electoral college and both of them ended up saying they supported donald trump's attempt to block his opponents electoral college confirmation. >> i've been clear that trump has been vocal in these races in georgia and will continue to be. do you see that happening with people in washington like biden or paris or other popular lawmakers? >> it will be interesting to see how rockdale warnock and other democrats treat joe biden because certainly they welcomed his support in 2020 and in 2021 when he came to georgia for several events. he also was here for a voting rights event earlier this year. that got a lot of attention. stacy abrams and not bypassing the personal conflict but it was seen by some as her attempt to
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distance herself on the president whereas here in georgia that is not seen nearly as anything that she can possibly do because a, she tried to be hisrunning mate . she tied herself directly to him and even as she tried to distance herself republicans have everything they already attack her and put her on every flyer and tv ad alongside no biden so i don't think there's any real effort for stacy abrams at this point to distance herself. democrats will take the same approach republicans have which is we will take all the help we can get you saw john ossoff take this approachwith bernie sanders . he's geared clear of national politicians every chance he could in 2020 the said you know, now item i'mbracing their support . he felt like now they could help. >> do you think people outside the state of georgia
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don't understand about the state politics that your book willprovide some clarity and insight on ? >> you talked about earlier that this was not some overnight success. this years of work and years ofdifferent approaches to messaging and it wasn't because republicans were school leaving a will . they did everything they could to stop it . another major part is the suburbs. people like the new suburban areas as these really lily white monolithic enclaves and in georgia and in the rest of the nation but particularly in georgia that's not the case at all. when it county is one of the most diverse demographic areas not just in the state but in the eastern seaboard and suburbs are changing fast and politicians are changing their messages with it. and that's another thing is authenticity. voters can smell when someone is being phony. it doesn't mean that voters will punish people for holding views they might not
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necessarily believe in but democrats embraced that authenticity. they stop running as the republican lite is a good way to put it and they were rewarded. it took years but they were rewarded in 2020 four that embrace of core values and republicans have been doing that in georgia as well. moderate is a bad word in the republican were world and you seem republicans go back to theircore values to . another point that we may intentionally in the book is there was not this sort of lurch to the middle in 2018 or in 2020. we will see what happens in 2022 but there was not this pivot to the middle in either of these races because parties realized that they would get more bang for their buck if they tried to energize disconnected voters, voters who stayed home or voters who were apathetic in generalabout the political process .they felt if they could maximize that turnout
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it would be more economically and efficiently worth it and going to the middle and trying to spend time and resources to win the few swing undecided voters these days. >> greg, i greatly appreciate your taking time to talk with us about your book and politics in the state of georgia and not only in 2020, and 2018 but this year and perhaps in the future as well . >> thank you for having me, this was the last. >> absolutely. >> american history tv saturdays exploring the people and events that tell the american story. at 8:50 p.m. eastern, mark clay professor of musicology and american culture at the university of michigan recounts the history of the star-spangled banner and how its meaning has evolved and at 10 pm eastern author and professor latrice donaldson
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reports onhow soldiers use their military service to further civil rights . exploring the american story. watch american history tv saturdays on c-span2 and find a full schedule on your program guide or watch online time >> uc berkeley scholar stephen hayward will be our guest to talk about leadership, ronald reagan's political career and the american conservative movement . he's the author of several books including two volumes on the age of reagan series about the scholars who changed the course of conservative politics in america. join in the conversation with your phone calls, facebook comments and tweets . in-depth with stephen hayward live sunday, september 4 at noon eastern on tv, c-span2.
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>> there are a lot of places to get political information but only at c-span do you get it straight from the source. no matter where you're from or where you stand on the issues, c-span is america's network. unfiltered , unbiased, word for word. if it happens here or here or anywhere that matters. america is watching on c-span , powered by cable. >> he's got a masters in history as a hollywood director and he's changed the world consistently and constantly with his cage rattling messages and his wisdom. thus the changemakers award tonight, it's a new award we're starting. from his movie next and toany given sunday, the joy luck club to the peopleeversus la


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