Democracy Now!: Women of Color Hope to Make History in 2018 Election with Wins in Congress and Governor’s Races

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now! I’m Amy Goodman, as we turn to the historic number of women of color running for public office in today’s election in the United States. Motivated in part by President Donald Trump’s constant derogatory remarks against women and the numerous claims that he committed sexual assault, at least 255 women are on the ballot as congressional candidates, including a record number of women of color. In addition to 59 black female congressional candidates nationwide, in Georgia, Stacey Abrams hopes to become Georgia’s first black governor and the country’s first African-American woman governor.

This follows major advances in the primaries earlier this year, when Democratic Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez won an overwhelming victory against top Democrat Congressmember Joe Crowley in the Bronx and Queens for a House seat. She could become one of the youngest women ever elected to Congress. Two Muslim women, Palestinian American Rashida Tlaib in Michigan and Somali American Ilhan Omar in Minnesota, also won their Democratic Party primaries for seats in the House. Both women are running in strongly Democratic districts Meanwhile in New Mexico, Deb Haaland could become the nation’s first Native American woman to serve in Congress.

For more, we go to Atlanta, Georgia, where we’re joined by Aimee Allison, president of Democracy in Color, founder of She the People.

Aimee, it’s great to have you with us. You were going to be in New York, but I can see you could not resist. You wanted to go where people—

AIMEE ALLISON: I could not. I mean, this is Grant Park 2008. It’s the race that everybody’s watching.

AMY GOODMAN: So, talk about what you’re seeing right now in Georgia, what could be history-making.

AIMEE ALLISON: You know, it isn’t just that Stacey Abrams would make history as the first black woman governor, although that’s very significant. It’s how she ran her campaign. From the moment she declared her candidacy in Albany, Georgia, last summer, she has had organizers on the ground and a simple path to victory that turns the playbook the Democratic Party has used for decades on its head. She looked at the unengaged people of color in the state of Georgia, a state that’s nearly a majority people of color, and she said, “If we have a strategy of working with the community and registering and engaging people of color and leading deeply into the base”—black women are 1.1 million of the voters that will come to the polls today—”we have a path to victory to turn the state blue.”

And I tell you, the excitement on the ground is palpable. I was here for early voting. Every single black millennial that I have met in the course of working and traveling around Georgia has already voted. And I think, just like in the primary here in Georgia, the pollsters are going to be surprised. I’m very, very positive.

And at the same time, Brian Kemp, her opponent, has undue power. He’s never stepped down as secretary of state. So, the voter suppression tricks and the cheating on the part of the Republicans is a very real barrier that we’re going to continue to be aware of here in Georgia and try to overcome.

AMY GOODMAN: So, let’s talk about—let’s talk about some of what Kemp has done. And people have to understand, this is highly unusual. I mean, I have seen Republican after Republican now on the cable networks, who often, you know, are there parroting what Trump says, saying Kemp, Brian Kemp, who’s running against Stacey Abrams, has gone a step too far. Brian Kemp, who’s the secretary of state of Georgia—means he’s in charge of the elections—also running for governor. He has been targeting voters with robocalls featuring false claims about Abrams. In this call, Abrams is accused of stealing the election with votes from undocumented immigrants.

KEMP CAMPAIGN ROBOCALL: Radical Stacey Abrams is so extreme that she wants to allow illegal immigrants to vote in this election. We can’t let her steal this election. It’s up to you to stop her!

AMY GOODMAN: And then there is this racist robocall from some white supremacists. You know, Oprah Winfrey was campaigning there in the last week, of course joining Stacey Abrams on the campaign trail in Marietta, Georgia, days before one of this country’s most talked-about races.

ROBOCALL: This is the magical negro, Oprah Winfrey, asking you to make my fellow negress, Stacey Abrams, the governor of Georgia. Years ago, the Jews who own the American media, saw something in me: the ability to trick dumb white women into thinking I was like them and to do, read and think what I told them to. I see that same potential in Stacey Abrams. Where others see a poor man’s Aunt Jemima, I see someone white women can be tricked into voting for, especially the fat ones.

AMY GOODMAN: “A poor man’s Aunt Jemima.” I mean, this is horrifying. And we saw something similar in Florida that targeted—this racist robocall that targeted Andrew Gillum, who’s also running for governor.

AIMEE ALLISON: I want to say that Brian Kemp, it’s not illegal for him to maintain secretary—being the secretary of state, but it’s unethical. And he’s a Trump acolyte who feels emboldened not only to be openly racist in his campaigning. Instead of talking about the issues, like Medicare expansion or education or criminal justice, he’s using racism openly to try to get people to the polls here in Georgia.

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