MSNBC: ‘Non-Partisan’ Abrams, Warnock Activists Are Trying To Save Democracy

News & Politics

As the midterms approach, podcaster Trymaine Lee was invited onto Friday’s MSNBC Reports to promote his Into America series about the black vote. As part of this promotion, Lee portrayed those working to elect Stacey Abrams and Raphael Warnock in Georgia as “non-partisan” while they portray voting for those two as a way to save democracy itself.

During a voiceover of some B-roll footage, Lee highlighted one activist in particular, Janiah Henry, who is “Harnessing the power of young black voters, just like herself. She’s the co-chair of CAU Votes, a non-partisan voter mobilization group that encourages students to engage in civic life.”

Lee further explained that, “They’re an army of student organizers that helped get young black voters to the polls during the 2020 election in record numbers. Black people made up one-third of all young registered voters in Georgia, the highest concentration in any state, but concerns over low voter enthusiasm could mean an uphill battle for Janiah.”

Now doing an interview with Henry, Lee wondered, “So, in 2020, you know, Stacey Abrams is running. You have this huge turnout, but the numbers had been actually down here on campus. Did you get a sense there was either a lack of enthusiasm or a lack of organizing?”

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Lee got his elections mixed up, Abrams ran in 2018, not 2020. For her part, Henry lamented, “People were in the streets, they were protesting and all that. It’s so easy to get a turnout when things like that happen because automatically, people think, this is how I can get my voice heard, but it’s so hard to explain to them that this is where your voice stops. It stops on the street. It has to carry on to the polls. So, I think it was just a lack of people understanding the– where that real power resides. So, that’s just been the constant, constant battle.”

This partisan activism was confirmed by Lee, “The voters of Georgia will not only decide who wins the governor’s race rematch between Stacey Abrams and incumbent Republican Brian Kemp, but could also determine the future of the U.S. Senate as incumbent Democrat Raphael Warnock is challenged by Republican Herschel Walker in a dramatic neck-and-neck race. For Janiah, the stakes feel higher than ever.”

The allegedly non-partisan Henry than rattled off typical DNC talking points for why those stakes are so high, “A woman’s autonomy, voting as we know it, honestly our democracy.”

For Lee, that democracy is about to be tested because, “Georgia’s new voting law, which critics say is an attack on the black vote by limiting things like absentee ballots, mobile voting sites and bars passing out water and snacks by anyone, but poll workers at polling stations. Janiah says all of this could contribute to a lack of engagement.”

Henry added, “Listen, many people feel like their voice doesn’t matter and this is why. They feel as though every vote doesn’t count because mine keeps getting removed, somehow, over the decades.”

Sounds more like a partisan pre-emptively trying to make excuses to cover for a potential loss. 

This segment was sponsored by Dell.

Here is a transcript for the October 14 show:

MSNBC Reports

10/14/2022

11:53 AM ET

TRYMAINE LEE: Harnessing the power of young black voters, just like herself. She’s the co-chair of CAU Votes, a non-partisan voter mobilization group that encourages students to engage in civic life. 

JANIAH HENRY: Have you thought about voting locally to affect local politics?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Okay, sign in here. 

LEE: They’re an army of student organizers that helped get young black voters to the polls during the 2020 election in record numbers. Black people made up one-third of all young registered voters in Georgia, the highest concentration in any state, but concerns over low voter enthusiasm could mean an uphill battle for Janiah. 

LEE: So, in 2020, you know, Stacey Abrams is running. You have this huge turnout, but the numbers had been actually down here on campus. Did you get a sense there was either a lack of enthusiasm or a lack of organizing? 

HENRY: People were in the streets, they were protesting and all that. It’s so easy to get a turnout when things like that happen because automatically, people think, this is how I can get my voice heard, but it’s so hard to explain to them that this is where your voice stops. It stops on the street. It has to carry on to the polls. So, I think it was just a lack of people understanding the– where that real power resides. So, that’s just been the constant, constant battle. 

LEE: The voters of Georgia will not only decide who wins the governor’s race rematch between Stacey Abrams and incumbent Republican Brian Kemp, but could also determine the future of the U.S. Senate as incumbent Democrat Raphael Warnock is challenged by Republican Herschel Walker in a dramatic neck-and-neck race. For Janiah, the stakes feel higher than ever. 

HENRY: A woman’s autonomy, voting as we know it, honestly our democracy. 

LEE: This election will also be a test of Georgia’s new voting law, which critics say is an attack on the black vote by limiting things like absentee ballots, mobile voting sites and bars passing out water and snacks by anyone, but poll workers at polling stations. Janiah says all of this could contribute to a lack of engagement. 

HENRY: Listen, many people feel like their voice doesn’t matter and this is why. They feel as though every vote doesn’t count because mine keeps getting removed, somehow, over the decades.  

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