Stacey Abrams: Clyburn Wrong About My Lack of Experience

BROOKLYN, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 21: Bustle 2019 Rule Breakers honoree Stacey Abrams speaks onstage at Bustle's 2019 Rule Breakers Festival at LeFrak Center at Lakeside on September 21, 2019 in Brooklyn, New York. (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images for Bustle)
Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images for Bustle

Failed Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams disagrees with House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn’s (D-SC) belief that she lacks the relevant experience to be Joe Biden’s running mate.

In an interview with the “Into America” podcast that was released on Monday evening, Abrams told host Trymaine Lee that she would put her unique set of life and political experiences up against anyone’s.

Clyburn, the South Carolina godfather who delivered the Palmetto State—and arguably the nomination—for Biden, recently told the Financial Times when asked if Biden should pick Abrams: “I doubt it. There’s something to be said for someone who has been out there.”

Abrams disagreed.

“I think experience is a combination of issues. It’s competence, it’s skills, and it’s proven deliverables,” Abrams said. “And I would match my experience against anyone’s. It may not look like the normative experience that we are used to seeing, but that doesn’t diminish its capacity or what I’ve actually delivered: work that has led me to national stages more than once.”

Abrams said the work she has been doing is “national” and her qualifications include leading a voting rights organization in 18 states and working on various “COVID-19 responses” for those with the least amount of resources:

Currently, I lead an organization that is in 18 states, protecting the right to vote as we watch the president of the United States attempt to undermine the safest and most accessible way to vote. I would point out that I have spent the last year and a half helping build part of the network that we need to respond to a census that for the first time is going to be conducted under the cloud of a pandemic and that the hardest-to-count communities are the ones that are most affected by this and are the ones who are the most likely to not receive the resources they need, which puts into sharp relief why the census has to be accurate this time.

And I’ve been working on COVID-19 responses because I know that the people who are working the hardest and have the least amount of resources are having the hardest time getting their stimulus checks, getting their unemployment processed, getting access to the public benefits that were designed for their needs.

My work is national work because I’m doing this work in multiple states. And I’m proud of that work. And I would simply ask folks to look at what I do. It may not be what they’re used to seeing, but that doesn’t mean that it cannot contribute to the future of our country.

She also said she has experience helping Democrats build a strong infrastructure and “coalitions” to force Republicans to compete in areas they have taken for granted, saying her “experience as a candidate has been focused on rebuilding not just the capacity of Democrats to win in Georgia but rebuilding an infrastructure that had to transition from the old model of politics in the South.”

“I could not simply talk to voters of color and hope that I would win. I could not ignore voters of color and only talk to suburban white woman, which had been one of the traditional approaches and strategies. I know how to build coalitions because in the South you can’t win without them. We have to persuade those who are disappointed in Trump’s behavior and his leadership to vote a different way, but we also have to persuade those who share our ideology but do not see themselves reflected in our policies that this time if they vote, we will win,” Abrams said. “And so I’m good at that. I have done that work. I’ve done it not only for myself, but I’ve traveled this country, helping other candidates build their coalitions and try to win. My contribution right now is making sure that when people come to vote, they actually get a chance to. “

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