Hey, everybody, it's Tommy Vietor. You are about to listen to the first episode of Crooked Media and tenderfoot TV's new podcast, Gaining Ground The New Georgia in the series, two of Atlanta's own two villainies finest, frankly, journalists Rembert Browne and Jewel Whicker detail the hard fought battles and evolution of Georgia politics that made Joe Biden's win in the state possible. And they talked to organizers, strategists and voters hoping to change the South forever. Check it out.
It's going to be great.
When she laid out her vision, this idea that we were going to add a million people to the voter rolls, I tell you, if I had thirty three reasons why this would never work, say like thirty four reasons why it absolutely would work.
And she was right, as usual.
This is NASA CEO of the new Georgia Project talking about a chance encounter in 2014.
A mutual friend said, you know, are you coming home for the holidays? And I was like, yes, of course. She said, I would love for you to meet this state rep. Her name is Stacey Abrams. She saw some incredible things. And I think you guys need to connect. And I was such an asshole. I don't know. I'm really coming home to hang with my family. I don't really need any new friends. Like, there's just a lot, you know, and she's like, no, you guys should really have brunch.
And I was like, well, I should have led with that. Of course, I have brunch with this random state representative because that is the national pastime in Atlanta. We had brunch on New Year's Day and twenty fourteen I have packed my truck by, I guess, drove the twenty four hours from Ottawa in Canada, where I was living at the time, back home to Atlanta. And now we are here where we are today. Today, Georgia looks very different than it did on New Year's Day in 2014, surrounded by five states that went red, Georgia is a blue state for the first time since 1992.
To understand this shift, journalists, pundits and everyday Americans have rightfully reflected on Georgia's twenty eighteen gubernatorial election. Hello. On September 18, thousands of Georgians began casting absentee ballots determined to lift their voices in the democratic process of electing our leaders for the next two years. The next four years. A few weeks later, more than two million Georgians declared their choices, heading to polling places for early votes. And then on November 6th, more than a million folks arrived in precincts around our beloved state, anxious and excited to express their patriotism through the fundamental act of voting on November 16th.
Twenty eighteen, former minority leader of the Georgia House of Representative Stacey Abrams was set to end her bid for governor. She had just narrowly lost the bid to become the first black woman to be elected governor in the U.S.. Republican Brian Kemp, who was also the secretary of state at the time overseeing the very election in which he was also a candidate, had won for these millions of Georgians.
The act may have proven tedious and hard, but they had no doubts their votes would be counted. However, this year, more than 200 years into Georgia's democratic experiment, the state failed its voters. You see, despite a record high population in Georgia, more than a million citizens found their names stripped from the rolls by the secretary of State Abram's admitted defeat, but she refused to concede.
Instead, she used her speech to criticize the man she previously referred to as the architect of voter suppression. This speech, this race and this candidacy would shift Georgia and impact American politics for years to come. Parents stood in the fitful rain in four hour lines, watching as less fortunate voters had to abandon democracy in favor of keeping their jobs and collecting a paycheck. Under the watch of the now former secretary of state, democracy failed Georgia Georgians of every political party, every race, every region against.
From tenderfoot TV and crooked media, this is gaining ground.
The new Georgia in this limited series podcast will tell the story of this historic moment from how Georgia went blue and what took so long to the upcoming Senate runoff. And what's next? Once we know the results, I'm your host, Robert Brown. Where was I the last time Georgia went blue, it was twenty eight years ago, we found something magical. Johnson That OK, where do you live in Georgia. What part of John McCain's in place? I'm OK.
That's right. For 16 Matthews in place southwest Atlanta.
It's a brick house less than two miles away from where my mother went to high school and where I first won the tennis racket. Only a few turns away from streets that make you feel something.
If you're from Black Atlanta, Hill, Kaskade, Bija, MLK, Abernathy, Benjamin Mays. I took the local politics early.
I wrote a letter to then Mayor Bill Campbell when I was ten and tacked it on a bulletin board hoping he'd walk by and see it six years later, when then Mayor Shirley Franklin came to my high school the day of school, she asked the student body who was interested in public service. I raised my hand and she actually called on me, asking what job I'd like to pursue yours. I said that dream didn't exactly pan out, but I stayed close to becoming a journalist.
I went to Ferguson in twenty fourteen, Selma in twenty fifteen and by twenty sixteen was covering the presidential election. Growing up, I'd always heard the phrase, There's Atlanta and then there's Georgia. I'd listen to adults talk about the prospect of Georgia flipping every state and national election my entire life. But when it came down to it, I was used to Georgia being called for Republicans by dinnertime. But this year, not only as Georgia flipped blue, but the two Georgia Senate races are headed to runoffs and will decide the balance of power in Washington.
NPR estimated that about one hundred and fifty eight million Americans voted in this year's general election, 20 million more than in twenty sixteen, with sixty six point five percent of eligible voters mailing in. Ballots are turning out at the polls. Voter turnout was the highest it's been since nineteen hundred. Even outside of Georgia. This election was historic in many ways.
Turning back now to our election coverage. Over the past three weeks, we have seen record early voting here in Georgia and it is not expected to slow down today.
Good morning to you, Michael. I just want to underline something here. I have lived in this state for more than 20 years. And if Joe Biden is able to win this state, he will have accomplished something that we rarely see here.
It's official. Georgia has certified Joe Biden as the state's 20 20 winner after hand counting nearly five million ballots. The Trump campaign has until Tuesday to. When we started asking people why they thought Georgia flipped blue, more often than not, the answer was Stacey Abrams, who has become a patron saint of voting rights since her twenty eighteen loss. But there are two things that Stacey Abrams has continuously reminded us of since this year's general election. The first is that flipping Georgia blue is not something that happens overnight, over months or even over a year.
It takes years of collective effort fighting on many fronts. The second is that this wasn't her fight alone.
I think that the work of organizing is organizing people or organizing resources to address an issue. And I say issue not necessarily in the negative way, but what is of importance? What are your hopes for yourself, for your family, for your community? What are your fears and concerns for yourself, for your family and your community?
Again, this is so far from that story about thinking Stacey was crazy and never turning down branch.
I am the CEO of the New Georgia Project and the Georgia Project Action Fund and the founder of the New South Super PAC. New Georgia Project is a nonpartisan civic engagement organization. We're probably best known for having registered half a million young people and people of color to vote in our one hundred and fifty nine of Georgia's counties.
The work of the new Georgia project is a year round three sixty five, we are party to dozens of lawsuits, thousands of means, all a part of our organizing to build a better Georgia, to build a better country.
But elections are only opportunities for us to test the power that we're building, that we're constantly building power. And so Leader Abram's election was a big opportunity to test our power, but it was also an opportunity stress test, Georgia's election system. And the truth of the matter is that voter suppression was very much alive and well. And we have been talking about it for quite some time. And people, particularly like the national press, ignored it like no one cared.
I spent the better part of 2017 and 2018 talking about all of the weaknesses in Georgia's elections infrastructure and talking about all of the ways that white Republicans steal votes and mutes or neutralize this sort of voter enthusiasm. And no one wanted to cover it. They started covering it around Halloween of twenty eighteen a couple of days before the general election. And even then it was only covered in the context of is Brown going to count every vote?
And by Brian, she means then Secretary of State Brian Kemp, the person that's the chief elections officer who's supposed to ensure the integrity of the election, was also a candidate at the top of the ticket. People were questioning whether or not that was going to have an impact. Of course, it was. It allowed people to see in real time what modern day voter suppression looked like.
I think, too, it radicalized a whole new generation of young voters who are like democracy defenders and democracy crusaders. We had to register eighteen thousand 18 year olds and twenty eighteen. It was a boom. It was an explosion. Most of them wanted to vote for Stacey Abrams and then they saw their votes basically being invalidated and they have become some of our most vocal, aggressive, loyal volunteers. So now. The folks that were born in 2001, 2002, and they were voting for the first time in these presidential elections, they've seen themselves flip a state they are on their way to flipping control of the United States Senate.
Sort of connecting the dots between the vote and the change that they want to see, like there's no amount of focus grouped messaging that we could have done that connects the dots in the minds of a new voter, the way flipping a state has and the way the entire country is talking about Georgia, they know their vote is powerful and that's going to have implications for elections to come.
Even though she didn't become Georgia's governor in twenty eighteen, Stacey Abrams still wanted to make an impact. Frustrated by the results of an election she believed was largely impacted by voter suppression tactics, she launched the voting rights organization Fair Fight. To understand how we got here, we have to go back beyond the most recent past and look at the larger history of voter suppression in the South.
But I grew up in the south. I was born in nineteen forty nine. Obviously, if you do the math, you realize in 1954 when Brown vs. Board came down, which was all about school desegregation, he was just about to enter the first grade. I was in Alabama and Alabama resisted. It wasn't until I was a junior in high school that we desegregated.
By the time I've landed, my first job in journalism, voting rights was just sort of the most pervasive topic. I could be a reporter in Mississippi covering voting rights any more than you could be a reporter in Iowa and not cover agriculture. My name is Hank Klibanoff and I teach at Emory University. I'm in the creative writing program and I am here, I'm sure, because I teach this course called the Georgia Civil Rights Cold Cases Project.
Hank is here for that reason and about 20 more. He's won a Pulitzer, a Peabody and is the former managing editor of the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
And it's an examination of unpunished, racially motivated killings in Georgia history. The efforts were legion. First of all, they were constant. They were ongoing. White people who were satisfied with the status quo did not want African-Americans to have the vote in community after community in the south, county after county after county was heavily, predominantly black. I mean, you had counties Holmes County, Mississippi, is seventy six percent black and there are 12 registered voters who are black.
That's why white people didn't want to give it up because they would lose an Uncle Charlie wouldn't have been sheriff for thirty two years, would it be sheriff anymore? And Uncle Billy, he was going to be a county commissioner any more. And and if Uncle Billy is not the county commissioner, then, you know, where's aren't really going to work. And of course, I don't know if it's underlay an overlay. I think it's an all around lack of fear.
And that was demagogical fear. That was fear. It was whipped up by the politicians who wanted to win election and to hold on to their office. And that's what they learn to do. You needed to have somebody who could bully the early years.
I mean, there was some really offensive things done in the 50s. Not redistricting for racial purposes isn't offensive. But, you know, you've heard the stories of the county registrars who would sit at a table on the other side of black people trying to register to vote and there'd be a jar jelly jellybeans there and say, OK, can you guess how many jelly beans are in this? That was the technique. Or to recite sections of the Constitution backwards from memory.
And they would just laugh and laugh and laugh. And I think about how when the US Commission on Civil Rights was created by the 1964 Civil Rights Act and they go into the south, they're holding a bunch of hearings.
And there was one and I think this was in Jackson in which they had some county registrar from a rural county. And he's just talking about, here's how we do it. They can't read them. We can't have them register. And somebody in Civil Rights Commission, I think, handed over a piece of paper to said, OK, would you mind reading the following? And good. You couldn't. So we shouldn't be shocked now when people say things that we think are so obviously going to be viewed by everyone as either dissembling or just an outright fabrication or a real twisting of things, you know, because I'm sure that Registar was able to go back to that county and get easily re-elected after that.
There was no shame in those techniques. And that's I mean, the poll tax is almost mild compared to those sorts of things that were designed to humiliate people. So when I'm coming of age as a young reporter, it would be things like moving certain offices from being elective to being appointed, shutting polling places without notice, you know, Election Day, making people stand outside in the rain when there was a gym that they could go seek shelter in.
I mean, anything to discourage black people from voting. I cannot emphasize enough how purposeful it was. These weren't just, oh, what a coincidence. We happen to think of a strategy, come up with a strategy because we don't have enough poll workers for this that the other. This was craftiness and there was a toolbox, there was a tool box of techniques to use, very effective. The people who would do that are a little sharper than they used to be, they're more media savvy.
When our governor, Brian Kemp, was then running for governor and he is the secretary of state, there's a county down near the counties that I do my podcast, Investor Rights, Cold Cases on Randolph County. The last minute they close all these polling places and every one of them into my memory, most of them or all of them were in African-American neighborhoods. You know, it was so blatant. And I still don't know.
That's why we had you know, we're trying to consolidate and they they reversed themselves because they got caught. But guess what? How many times are people not being caught? This episode is gaining ground, the new Georgia is brought to you by Magic Spoon, let me tell you, Magic Spoon has become my favorite cereal during quarantine.
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Dotcom, cricket. I've really been politically active since I was a teenager, and I loved I've always loved politics. Back then, though, I was batting for the other team, the first campaign I actually remember volunteering or was Newt Gingrich.
It's kind of cliche, but I saw Obama on Oprah and I went and purchased both of his books and read them.
And I was like, huh? I kind of feel the same way that this guy does. And I kind of agree with a lot of stuff that he's saying.
But it was something that I had never, like, really considered.
This is Tamara Stevens of Roswell, Georgia. She's been a volunteer and organizer for decades and recent years. She's helped mobilize thousands of women in the metro Atlanta area.
So I did a lot in 2008. I actually ended up being asked to be a surrogate for the Obama campaign. They would send me to go and speak country club of the South men's groups and that kind of stuff, because I spoke fluent Republican. So in 2012, I did a little bit more in twenty sixteen for Hillary. We did nothing, nothing. I'm embarrassed to say that, but I think like myself, like a lot of other women and and men, we just took it for granted that there is no way that there's the buffoon is going to be the most qualified person to have ever run for president.
It was it was shocking. And so when I was up in New York on election night, twenty sixteen at Javits Center, and we saw the returns going in, it was devastating.
When I got back to Atlanta the day after the election, that night, we kind of crawled up into the fetal position and cried and worried.
And then all of a sudden we had a special election here in Georgia. Thanks to Trump nominated Tom Price. It gave us a place to focus our energy.
Congressman Tom Price had been nominated to lead the Department of Health and Human Services. Running to replace him in a special election was a candidate named John USCIRF, someone all eyes would turn to yet again in twenty twenty.
It was a jungle election. So there was I think there was eight or nine candidates. He came very, very close to getting over that 50 percent threshold in the initial election.
And that was actually the first time that we noticed there might be some irregularities with Georgia's voting. But he ended up going into a runoff with Karen Handel. Karen Handel was, you know, a Republican stalwart, like she had been around forever. She had been secretary of state very well. No. We were just all through the fire. It was an amazing experience, but it was exhausting. And John came so close, so close, unfortunately, Karen Handel won and John grew so much during that campaign and it's been amazing to watch the transformation in him.
From twenty seventeen now to the Senate race in twenty twenty just to watch how he has matured. And it's just a great, great candidate and I think he'll be a fantastic senator. But during that time, it allowed us to build an infrastructure that prepared us in twenty eighteen next person to run for that seat and challenge that seat, which was our now Congressman Kucinich. So Lucy is now in that seat, which is amazing considering it is a seat that was once held by Newt Gingrich.
As Tamara mentioned, Lucy McBath, a former flight attendant, managed to flip Georgia's 6th District following Assad's defeat. Her victory signaled that Democrats were gaining ground in Georgia as historically Republican suburbs. Crooked Media interviewed McBath in twenty eighteen as she was beginning her campaign.
I say that my neighborhood is one of those old fashioned neighborhoods where all the people that I live among, we know their names. Jordan, I really liked living in Marietta. He really was a leader among his friends. We would have discussions about who he was going to be.
And I'd always say, Jordan, I see you as an activist. I see you as somebody in the community. I see you as someone standing up for a cause.
But bad son Jordan was killed on the day after Thanksgiving in 2012 when a 45 year old white man fired 10 shots into his car at a gas station after complaining that Jordan and his friends were playing loud thug music. Jordan Davis was 17 years old.
I just remember screaming crumbling on the floor. Everything went black and I just started screaming.
I remember hearing this wail come out of me, something so ugly that I didn't really think it was coming from me. But the fact that everything I tried to protect Jordan from every fear that I had know that one day he would, you know, be hit by a car or be in an accident or get in a fight or all those things, everything came down on me that one very moment. Jordan's death and the subsequent response help motivate McBath to run for office.
It just began to dawn on me that everything that my father, my mother worked for, all those experiences had probably without my knowing, prepared me for what I believe God was calling me to do now. And that's the reason why I started speaking out about the gun culture. Why were our legislators not talking about these tragedies? Why were they not working to protect the people that put them in office? Why was the clergy silent in order to change the culture?
People need to hear me because I'm not a no, I'm not a statistic, but I'm a real human being that can tell you earnestly and honestly what this devastating culture looks and feels like. This is me carrying on the mantle of my father and my mother. All the work they did in the civil rights movement to make sure that people had equality and access to everything that, you know, democracy is supposed to fordice in this nation, that I now get to carry on their mantle.
And I kept thinking how proud they would be of me, how proud Jordan would be. I think that sometimes people have felt like they didn't have a voice or people have felt disengaged. For whatever their reasons, they believe that maybe the politics didn't speak to them. People are anxious, they're afraid, they're concerned about their futures. I think that the people that are standing up now are willing to fight on behalf of their communities. We're not career politicians.
Most of us haven't been trying to figure out for all of our lives how to how to be in, you know, an office, but we've decided to stand up and fight for our communities. Lucy McBath wasn't the only person to be inspired to run for public office for the first time in twenty eighteen. This is my Gaining Ground co-host Joel Whicker. She's an Atlanta native and has reported on news and politics for Teen Vogue. So one of the things that really stood out about Lucy McBath story and I think the twenty eighteen midterms in general was that she was a part of an election during which women played a historic role.
Time reported that a record number of 117 women were sworn into Congress in twenty nineteen. And this is in comparison to the 89 women who were elected in 2016. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez became one of the youngest women ever to be elected to Congress, proceeded to leave in Illinois. Omar also became the first Muslim woman elected to Congress that year. Now, of course, this group of women varies when it comes to political leanings, even amongst the progressive congresswoman.
But it's worth contextualising the moment during which McBeath and even Abram's campaigns were taking place. Women were at the forefront, organizing, running and winning. It's a trend that would continue through this year when Kamala Harris was elected as the first woman and the first South Asian and black woman to the role of vice president. Gaining ground, the new Georgia is brought to you by policy genius, the holiday season sure knows how to lighten your wallet, huh?
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Gaining ground, the new Georgia is brought to you by Audible Audible is the leading provider of spoken word entertainment and audio books ranging from best sellers and new releases to celebrity memoirs, languages, business motivation and more. And now Audible is giving members even more with the all new plus catalog. All members have access to the growing plus catalog, with thousands of select audio books, podcasts, audible originals, guided fitness and meditation programs, sleep tracks for better rest and more all included with membership.
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Yeah, I basically read the book over the weekend. It's really good, although it would be cool to have had it read to me.
Emily is listening to it be audible. So she's cool. She's I did I did most of Michelle Obama's book with Audible and it was a very nice experience. Yeah, it's good stuff.
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This is Matthew Wilson, the state representative for House District 80 in Georgia, covering the north Atlanta suburbs of Brookhaven, Sandy Springs and Shamblin being in an out and proud gay georgeann.
When we would have these nasty bills that popped up at the legislature, I would go down and I would testify. I'd go talk to my legislators. They would send me to talk to other legislators, try to share my story with them. And I was watching and just sort of lobbying as a citizen. Fast forward to 2016. Trump gets elected. Everyone in my world is devastated, including me. I stayed on the couch for three days trying to figure out what does this mean?
And one of the things that I couldn't get over was that the house district where I lived had flipped from blue back to red. We had just flipped it in a special election the year before and felt that demographics were destiny and we were going to keep it blue for the foreseeable future. And lo and behold, it flipped back to red by only two hundred and eighty six votes out of twenty four thousand votes cast. Two hundred and eighty six votes flipped it back red.
And I had to be real honest with myself. You know, I worked on campaigns before. I know what's involved. And I hadn't done a single thing to help my House candidate who I knew personally other than I wrote him a check and I voted for him. And so many of my friends sort of had the similar story. I voted, but that wasn't enough. And that was the big takeaway for me in twenty sixteen is voting is not enough.
You've got to do more.
So fast forward a year and we're looking at twenty eighteen looking at this particular House race like we got to find somebody to run. So I jumped in the race, we went from two hundred eighty six vote deficit to me winning by five percentage points and fast forward two more years. I just won reelection by 18 points.
In addition to me flipping my House seat in twenty eighteen, the northern Atlanta suburbs were really ground zero for the blue wave in Georgia. That's when losing adath won her congressional seat with my house race. But we also flipped 10 other House races, mostly in the northern Atlanta. Arek, as you go from one end of the city to the other, to the extent that there are themes and takeaways, it's that we all went door to door and spoke to voters in person.
That was a major part of what we did was canvassing and having real conversations at people's doors with them about why they need to vote and what in particular is at stake. It's not just talking to Democrats, not just talking to Democrats who vote every election.
If you do the math, there's not enough of them to win.
In Georgia in particular statewide races, we've got to talk to people who don't vote all the time, find out why they're not voting, and make sure that we're tailoring a message that speaks to them.
We've got to talk to Republicans. As we've seen, Biden was able to successfully pull away enough traditionally Republican voters to kind of build this new coalition. So I think that's proof that we've got to continue talking to them and not being afraid to engage with them on the issues.
Republican leaders in Georgia made national news this year for their handling or mishandling of the covid-19 pandemic. But this certainly isn't the first time all eyes have been on the Georgia GOP. Last year, Republicans passed a law that would ban most abortions at six weeks. A federal judge blocked the law earlier this year. Issues like these likely played a major role in galvanizing voters ahead of the general election and helping to flip the state for a lot of modern history.
Georgia has sort of had an outsize impact on the dialogue and the conversation, and I think that does have something to do with how people voted in this particular election in twenty, twenty four.
Sure, I know people came out and and voted blue because they were upset about some of the laws the legislature passed over the last two years. I know that for a fact because I talked to voters and they have told me that.
A lot of people I talked to said, you know, well, I grew up Republican, but the more and more I see these social issues put in the middle, this anti-abortion bill or whatever, the particular social issue is to have one party who just harkens on those time and time and time again every election cycle. I really just want people to go back to governing. I heard that a lot. Of course, Democrats fighting against the anti-abortion so-called heartbeat bill are also governing on social issues just in the opposite direction.
This is State Representative Shelley Hutchinson, who was elected in twenty eighteen to Georgia's one hundred and seven House District, serving parts of Snellville, Lawrenceville, in Lilburn and the north Atlanta suburbs. Obama endorsed Hutchinson, identifying the area, a conservative stronghold, as flippable in the election. I met my husband. We got married in ninety six and that's when we moved to the district that I represent now. We had our first child in two thousand. I graduated.
I didn't want a nine to five. I don't want to put her in daycare all day long. So I started a business only intended to be enough to keep me busy. So after that I started teaching at UGA. I got more active civically. I was like, why are so many seats uncontested?
There was at least like 10 or 12 seats that would never, ever contest. Every time I would vote, I was like, one day I'm going to go write my name in because I assume that's how you ran. You just write your name because I never saw signs or people even working in this district because it was on.
Nobody even ran against them. I thought it would be very easy and it, of course, was not. It was a huge, huge undertaking. Very, very expensive. In Georgia is supposed to be a citizen legislature, but when you only pay seventeen thousand dollars a year, the only citizens that can do this are people who are independently wealthy or have the most flexible schedules.
And I was just lucky that I have a business. So I look into the person who represented us for 16 years and he was ultra conservative.
Year, my district voted for Hillary by double digits by 11 percent. So I was like, well, at the very least, I can give them competition, so I signed up and as soon as I signed up, he retired.
But he convinced his neighbor to run against me, so I ran against his neighbor and I won by 18 percentage points.
Pay attention to who is representing you, because in this case, the person who represented us for 16 years was not at all representative of what this district was looking for.
Representative Hutchinson was elected in both twenty, eighteen and twenty twenty. But she still can't shake the fact that this job simply isn't accessible for most Georgians.
When we were in the last session, they voted to reduce our salaries. And nobody is really in this for the money. No, no, no one can be in this for the money. But the person who did it said this was his way of helping our budget crunch. But the flaw in that logic is when you take away 10 percent from nothing, you get nothing.
Production in our pay did not even touch the budget.
What it did, though, is further reduce the salary which further restricted actual average citizens from running or for any kind of balance because that reduction came in the House and in the Senate. It's just interesting being here and in this seat to see kind of the thought that goes behind some of the shenanigans April.
I heard the same once that Democrats had to fall in love, like they have to be in love with the person that they're supporting. And Republicans just fall in line. The only thing I can say that would help, really, is that everyone votes and knows who they're voting for and what they're getting when they vote for this particular person. Statistics and history tells us if everyone votes, everyone's voice is heard, everyone has to laugh and talk about it.
You know, we don't talk about politics generally, but talk to your neighbors, your children, talk to everyone about how important it is to vote in some communities.
It's not if I'm going to vote, but what time are you going to vote? And in other communities, it's like I vote. Doesn't really matter. I guess the count, if we're having we're still having this conversation. That's the problem. We need all the help we can to change the culture around voting, because if there's a loophole or there is a place that people can exploit, they will. And if we don't win votes, then we're going to be powerless.
This story of shifting the culture around voting and flipping Republican strongholds sounds simple in hindsight, clean even. But organizers like and Ensay, Stacey Abrams and the countless others who mobilized voters have been doing this work for years. They started long before our mailboxes were flooded with flyers and our phones were inundated with texts asking us about our voting plan still before November 3rd. It was unclear if any of these mobilization tactics would guarantee a victory for Democrats, especially when you consider the election that had occurred in Georgia just two years earlier.
Again, Stacey Abrams after her twenty eighteen loss.
I acknowledge that former Secretary of State Brian Kemp will be certified as the victor in the twenty eighteen gubernatorial election. But to watch an elected official who claims to represent the people in the state baldly pin his hopes for election on the suppression of the people's Democratic right to vote has been truly appalling. So let's be clear. This is not a speech of concession. We deserve a state that elects leaders who will not tolerate the erosion of our values, fair fight, George.
Because these votes are our voices and we are entitled to our choices, each of us, and we have always been Georgia at the forefront of speaking truth to whatever power may lay, claim to leadership, if only for a moment. And we will win because we are Georgia. This season on gaining ground, the new Georgia, there are the state times in history where the paradigm shifts and we are living in that world right now as Georgia flips blue.
We follow the count and the recount and the other recount. The secretary of state said we're going to move forward with the audit, which was essentially a hand recount. And then after that was done, Trump was allowed to request a full recount, a second recount, because the margin was so close. We take you to the front lines of the political fight for two key Senate races. Hello, Willie Robins, Georgia. Is sundeck. And they placed the preacher behind the microphone.
And we hear from voters like you who have mobilized to create change, we want fair due process to everyone. We want everyone to have an opportunity to have good health care, you know, to be able to have good paying jobs. I am an absentee up because of my age. And if I have to go in person, I'll do that to.
Gaining ground, the new Georgia is brought to you by tenderfoot TV and crooked media in association with Cadenced 13. Donald Allbright and Payne Lindsey are executive producers on behalf of tenderfoot TV. Jon Favreau and Tony So Midnighter are executive producers on behalf of Cricket Media, executive produced, written and hosted by Robert Brand Ritson and cohosted by Jewel Wicker. Our lead producer is Christina Daina. Gaining Ground. The New Georgia is produced by Jamie Allbright, Mike Rooney, Maggie Posti, Julia Beverly, Tracy Leeds Kaplin, Annie Reston, Christina Toni Schmidt and Stephanie Booker with additional production support from Shaniqua, McLinden and Justin have edited it by Christina, Dana and Mike Rooney, mixed and mastered by Cooper Skinner with additional mixing by Devin Johnson.
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