Georgia Voting Law: Ilhan Omar disagrees with Stacey Abrams, says 'boycotts ended apartheid in South Africa'

The Minnesota lawmaker's reaction came after her fellow Democrat and Georgia leader Stacey Abrams recently spoke against boycotts in an op-ed


                            Georgia Voting Law: Ilhan Omar disagrees with Stacey Abrams, says 'boycotts ended apartheid in South Africa'
Rep. Ilhan Omar differed with Stacey Abrams take on boycotts and said historically, boycotts have been found to be successful (Getty Images)
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They both are known for their proressive ideologies but Rep. Ilhan Omar and Stacey Abrams have failed to find themselves on the common page over Georgia’s new controversial voting laws. The Minnesota lawmaker on Sunday, April 4, said she supported the boycotts of the Peach State’s businesses over the new law, including Major League Baseball’s (MLB) decision to shift the 2021 All-Star Game.

Speaking on CNN’s ‘State of the Union’, the Somalian-born representative told host Jake Tapper after being asked whether she supported a boycott or the position taken by Abrams: “We know that boycotts have allowed for justice to be delivered in many spaces”. 

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Abrams, a voting rights activist and a former minority leader in Georgia’s House of Representatives, recently said in an op-ed penned for USA TODAY that corporations that are based in the state shouldn't face boycotts “yet”, saying such a reaction would hurt the working people, including those who have worked at the All-Star game. 

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Georgia Governor Brian Kemp (Getty Images)

 

Corporations in America have faced growing threats of boycotts to publicly oppose the GOP-backed election reform in Georgia and other states which, according to critics, will be detrimental for the Black people’s voting rights. Last week, Georgia Republican Governor Brian Kemp signed the election overhaul bill into law which brings in new identification requirements for absentee voting while empowering the Georgia legislature more on running elections. Civil rights groups have put pressure on some of the state’s big corporates, including Delta Air Lines and Coca Cola, to oppose the law. These companies initially did not oppose the legislation prior to the passage as vocally but their CEOs recently condemned the law. The opposition to the law took a serious turn last Friday, April 2, when MLB came up with the decision to move the All-Star Game in Atlanta this summer with commissioner Robert Manfred saying the league “fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box”. 

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'Boycotts are complicated affairs'

In her op-ed, Stacey wrote: “Leaving us behind with boycotts won’t save us. I ask you to bring your business to Georgia and, if you’re already here, stay and fight. Stay and vote.”

“[B]oycotts are complicated affairs that require a long-term commitment to action. I have no doubt that voters of color, particularly Black voters, are willing to endure the hardships of boycotts. But I don’t think that’s necessary — yet,” the 47-year-old Democrat, who is expected to run for Georgia governor next year after her unsuccessful bid in 2018, said. 

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Boycotts have helped justice to prevail, says Omar

Omar differed with Stacey’s take on boycotts and said historically, boycotts have been found to be successful. “We know that boycotts have allowed for justice to be delivered in many spaces. The civil rights movement was rooted in boycotts. We know that, you know, apartheid ended in South Africa because of boycotts,” the 38-year-old Squad member said. 

“And if we are to continue to be a beacon of hope for all democracies around the world, we must stand our ground,” Omar said, though without taking the name of Abrams. 

When Tapper asked Omar whether every state should re-examine their voting laws, the latter said yes. “They certainly should be,” she said, adding: “I mean, Minnesota is not number one in voter turnout and participation because we are special, even though we are. It's because we have made voting accessible for people. And it is really important that every single state reexamine their voting laws and make sure that voting is accessible to everyone.”

“It’s also going to be really important for us to continue to push H.R.1, which makes it accessible nationwide and strengthens our democracy,” Omar, who won her second term last November, added, mentioning a voting bill that passed the House in early March, but has almost zero chance of picking up 10 GOP votes in the Senate to avoid a filibuster threat.  

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President Joe Biden (Getty Images)

 

President Joe Biden also slammed the bill, calling it “Jim Crow on steroids” the day after it was signed. Recently, he also expressed a strong support for the decision to move the MLB event out. In an interview with ESPN last week, he said: “I think today’s professional athletes are acting incredibly responsibly. I would strongly support them doing that. People look to them. They are leaders.”

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The proponents of the bill have insisted that the new voting law of Georgia will help in dealing with what the GOP called voter fraud in last year's presidential election. Georgia went to Biden who became the first Democratic candidate to win the state since Bill Clinton carried it in 1992. Besides, the Dems also won both the Senate run-off elections in the state in January to flip the upper chamber, adding salt to the GOP's injury. 

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