October 17, 2018 10:20 AM
Brian Kemp’s television ad attacking Stacey Abrams for “walking out” of an important vote is the biggest waste of money this campaign has seen. To the untrained eye, accusing a member of taking a walk on a vote sounds menacing. In reality, this claim is just a poor shot from a candidate struggling to find fault in their opponent.
The ad featuring a mother named “Kayla” claims that she cannot support Abrams because Abrams walked on a vote related to sex trafficking. The ad attempts to minimize several important factors.
Members of the legislature walk out for reasons other than the vote at hand. Sometimes members miss a vote because they take a … wait for it … bathroom break. During a vote a loud bell is rung from each chamber informing members they have only a moment to get to their desk to vote yes or no on a measure. However, it is not uncommon for members to miss a vote because they were finishing a phone call, in the other chamber handling important business, talking to a constituent, or taking a bathroom break. A member not voting on a measure is not always a political trick. Although reviewing a member’s voting record or lack thereof can be a larger indication of bad habits, in the case of Abrams it is a complete exaggeration.
What the ad also misses is the work that led up to the vote. Abrams and other Democrats worked with the Republican leadership to get the bill to a place they could all live with. However, living with a bill and being happy about all of the bill’s provisions are two separate issues. Elected officials use the less bad strategy all the time. Abrams was a master of it during the Republican majority. The goal is to negotiate a bill before it is presented and during the committee process to reduce the negative effects. Despite its “less bad’ status legislators still oppose the overall bad legislation in the end. Abrams has eloquently explained her opposition to the legislation.
During caucus meetings, Abrams led the democrats and gave them important information about legislation prior to every vote. If the she was truly against this measure she would have urged caucus members to oppose the bill from the well and with a “no” vote. A bi-partisan majority, 169 members out of the 180, voted yes for this legislation. There was not a chance that the bill would have failed with or without Abrams’ individual vote. Abram’s presence could not and did not hurt any Georgian.
What this ad shows is true political gamesmanship. The Republicans think their voters are simple and dumb. Anyone with even the minimum amount of knowledge about the political voting process or any child who has taken one field trip to the Capitol, knows this “walk out” claim is scraping the bottom of the barrel to come up with things that are wrong with Abrams.
Is that it? In response to Abrams’ ad on Kemp’s lack of policy surrounding healthcare all he can say is she walked on ONE vote? In response to the information that Kemp ran a failing business and took out more money than he can afford his best retort is she wasn’t vote 170 out of 180? In response to claims of Kemp’s ongoing voter suppression, the best they had for a television ad was she both convinced Republicans to change their bill and she still demanded perfection?
If the worse Kemp can say about Abrams is she is too liberal because she supports healthcare for those who need it and that she took a walk on a bill that passed with a bi-partisan majority, then they are struggling to find a message to sell their candidate or motivate their base.