Stacey Abrams: 'We can't simply win the race. We have to win the system.'
I am Jonathan Kaye Barton. Welcome to Cape Up Talk about a great accident of timing. The same day senator. Kamla Harris dropped out of the presidential race. I sat down with Stacey Abrams at the John. F Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston for Ninety minutes. The black woman who lost her race for governor of Georgia last year demonstrated. Why so many Democrats want her involved? In the twenty twenty race somehow how Abrahams talks about the high hurdles based by black women running for higher office how voter suppression keeps us from having America. We say we want and why she would absolutely consider being the vice presidential nominee president. The thank you very much. Thank you very much director price. Stacey Abrams nice to see you again. We've done this once before we Have you came on my my podcast. It's called Cape Up. This is this is the closest going to get to the cave where they could hear my voice I wanted Cape cast in it was taken so I'm just saying putting it out there so it's been doing I've had some time on my hands and In all in all seriousness. It when I got on the plane today sat down. Buckled buckled. My buckle in the news was coming over on my text next sought on twitter that Senator Calmly Harris dropped out of the race for for president. Your reaction I think number one one. We owe her debt of gratitude for mounting such a vigorous campaign. I think there is there a lot of lessons to be learned from not only the campaign but the reaction to it. It's hard to run for office under the best of circumstances and as my experience has shown shown and I think Camilla's even more so wanting someone to be. The person doesn't just happen through wishes it requires deep investment and the suspension of disbelief. That often has to accompany supporting women of Color. Particularly Black women is just a difficult hurdle in my primary in two thousand and eighteen. We faced some of the most difficult times raising money from people who knew us and believed even us but who often refused to invest because they just didn't believe a black woman could become governor toured in fact friends former friends in some of them form some of them were revived. But they're people who tell me well. I think you're the most capable bowl. You certainly have the most experience by a black woman and they whispered to me like it was a terminal illness I know and I think microcosmic experience of I think what part of what Kamla faced which is that the strongest enthusiasm Suzianne and the greatest sentiment is not a substitute for investment. And we have to reach a place where either the investment doesn't have have to be driven by narratives that are outside of our control or where we level the playing field so the candidates can run and win win based on their capacity and not based on the vicissitudes of system. That doesn't always recognize value. You know one of the things that I was seeing being talked about particularly by the so-called K.. Hive the very diehard supporters of Senator Harris. was that not only was has the fundraising or problem. It was also the coverage of her campaign. That seemed to be a double standard. Did you did you see that. And do you share that experience in your own way of run for governor. I think the Lens used and applied to non-normative campaigns is always harder because you're not only proving your capacity to do the job. You have to prove your right to be in the race and I think that was part of what she faced. She has a complicated story which anyone who's been effective in politics must have the differences rather than being given the benefit of the doubt or more importantly having a fair set of questions asked about everyone who shared her past the focus on what might be considered for foibles outshone any celebration of her successes. And that was something certainly faced there there and it happens in politics. Of course people are going to be more animated by your mistakes than they are by your successes. But you'd like for them to acknowledge that one time you tight or shoe properly as opposed to in. Did you see what she did with that other shoe and that's sort of the constancy of some of the coverage. There is sexism in there is racial Dole. We didn't call racism sometimes. It's just racial blindness and mean that in the sense that people don't realize that's what's driving arriving. What they see is different? And when you're a black woman that combination and for her black woman and South Asian woman that combination can be we almost impossible to surmount and I think they're legitimate critiques of every candidate and legitimate critiques of every campaign but the balance balance with which the stories are told for her did not I think lift up the successes as much as they micro did microscope in detail. The concerns speaking more about about sexism. Do you think the United States is prepared to ready to elect a woman to be president of the United States. Absolutely the I mean we treat the primaries as a referendum on America. That's not the way this works. It is a gauntlet that is the CO creation of fifty states with their varying degrees of of process. A party. That is trying to serve. Its past and predicted future and a financial system system that has been completely shattered by the removal of norms due to citizens united. I think if we had the slate of candidates we have have today with a fair system of fundraising we would be having a very different conversation. There would also be forty nine people running for president and that's that's after one hundred and thirty two had dropped out but but it would be very different conversation and I think it's I think it's disingenuous to look at solely one part of the problem we have to recognize that. Systemic problems require systemic solutions. And you can't simply fix one piece of it to solve it and the systemic challenge L. Inch for women has been that I. It was the issue of confidence although Iceland figured it out decades ago as did England and at the end India. And we could do this all night. Yeah Liberia that's why I was asking the question. All of these. Other countries around the world have elected women and yet the weekdays on earth has not been able to. Because we make it to this. There are some other parts to the system. There are some other impediments to people being able to to choose reflective leadership and those impediments namely voter suppression Have a very. They're they're very effective. They not only convince you of what is impossible. They convince you that what is improbable cannot be and so what what we find as a result is that we. They don't even have to do it anymore. You no longer need someone to say. This can't be possible we have the conversations ourselves we say hi Ha. I'm not sure we're ready for the the friends of mine. Who Am I kid you not? I sat at a table because when you start running for office your first job is to start begging and you beg I to your friends and family. My family has no money so I started with friends and when I would have these people people who had helped fund my first campaign who helped me become Democratic leader who helped me stave off a supermajority when Republicans gerrymandered our state. Who had watched I to me? Help rebuild the State party to position us so that we could have credible candidates. Their response to me was when they said. But you're a black woman. They pretend that they were speaking for this other group but they were telling me there truth and the problem is they had been convinced because it hadn't happened that it couldn't be in America. We've become convinced because we haven't done it although we did do it and just didn't count that he it's GonNa ask you. We did do it with the election twice of President Obama. Why was that not enough to keep the ball rolling on the American imagination for what can be what we did do it in sixteen as well? Yes yes they referred to but but the reality is. We can't simply win the race. We have to win the system system. The Electoral College is a racist and classes system. That was created not for all all of the arguments that it's because we were afraid. That North Dakota wouldn't have sufficient representation. We didn't know about North Dakota. What we did know is that the south had had slaves? We.