A New York Times opinion video published Monday suggested the 2018 Georgia governor's election—lost by Democrat Stacey Abrams—was "tampered with."
The New York Times‘s Taige Jensen and Nayeema Raza produced a video making the grim case that the United States cannot be considered great, let along the "greatest country in the world." The stylized video, which combines animation and archival news footage, argued the U.S. could even be compared to a "developing country" at times.
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"It's gotten to a point where I think there are specific times and places where you can confuse America for a developing country," the narrator said, "as elections are tampered with, water can't be drunk from taps, citizens don't trust uniformed officers, infrastructure is crumbling, and where a dual system is emerging when public services are available to the highest bidder."
As the narrator spoke about elections being "tampered with," b-roll played of Abrams on a CBS Evening News report about her claims of voter suppression during her race. Abrams protested during and after her defeat that Republican opponent Brian Kemp systematically suppressed the vote through a variety of tactics and tainted the race. She has said Republicans "stole" the win from "the voters of Georgia" and even declared "I won."
She refused to officially concede, and prominent Democrats like Hillary Clinton, former Vice President Joe Biden, former Attorney General Eric Holder, former Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D., Texas), Sen. Cory Booker (D., N.J.), Sen. Kamala Harris (D., Calif.), South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) have backed her claim that Kemp's victory was rigged.
While this charge has often been uncritically repeated in the media, fact-checks from the Free Beacon, National Review, and the Weekly Standard showed voter turnout increased under Kemp's tenure as secretary of state, rural precinct closings occurred outside of his office's purview, and the so-called voter roll "purge" through enforcement of exact-match laws and "use it or lose it" regulations were part of Kemp's duties.
Abrams won more votes than any Democrat in Georgia history, but she still lost by more than 54,000 to Kemp, who played up his support for President Donald Trump to appeal to the state's rural voters. No Democrat has won a gubernatorial election in Georgia since Roy Barnes in 1998.
Abrams would have cleared the field of Democratic Senate hopefuls if she'd decided to challenge Sen. David Perdue (R., Ga.), who is up for reelection in 2020, but she decided against it. She could still run for president or challenge Kemp again in 2022.
The Times video, which bore a similarity to the opening scene of Aaron Sorkin's HBO series The Newsroom, also took exception to the idea the U.S. is "great" by citing factors like the U.S.'s rankings in childhood poverty, voting participation, academic prolificacy, and health care spending among the developed world.
"We got so caught up in the rhetoric about America being the greatest country on Earth that we've long ignored the cracks in our system," the narrator said. "And while a bit of patriotism is great, jingoism is dangerous, especially when it's built on old or fake news … America may once have been the greatest, but today, America, we're just OK."