Georgia Businesses Are Victims of Abrams' Sour Grapes
Georgia's film industry-related small businesses are about to experience the bitter taste of Stacey Abrams' sour grapes.
After 10 days of casting doubt and aspersions on Georgia's election results, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate offered a no concession-concession this week. “Let’s be clear: This is not a speech of concession,” Abrams said in formally ending her campaign against Republican Gov.-elect Brian Kemp. “Because concession means to acknowledge an action is right, true or proper. As a woman of conscience and faith, I cannot concede that.” Abrams also announced she would be filing a federal lawsuit to challenge Georgia's election system.
While the vast majority of Georgians seem ready to put the contentious election results behind them and move on with their lives, Abrams' stance has motivated some in Hollywood to organize a boycott of the state's film industry. Small business owners who lose out on economic opportunity as a result will know whom to thank.
Frank Rich, an executive producer on HBO’s “Veep” and “Succession,” reacted to Kemp’s victory by writing, “If Kemp wins in Georgia, Hollywood should put its money where its mouth is and pull all production out of the state.” And this week, actor Ron Perlman took it a step further, arguing, "If you choose to shoot movies and TV in Georgia, don’t bother to call me." Other actors and actresses have also voiced their support for the nascent boycott.
While this boycott amounts to just the latest political stunt for self-indulgent Hollywood, it could have real consequences for Georgia's economy. The state has been dubbed Hollywood of the South, but it is actually the top filming location in the country. Film and television productions generated $9.5 billion in economic impact in 2017, including $2.7 billion in direct marketing and 28,700 jobs. There are about 320 film and television productions shot in the state, including several Marvel movies, Netflix's "Stranger Things" and AMC's "The Walking Dead." Some of these projects now may be in peril because of politics.
The media suggest the combative stance by Abrams is a well-founded rebuke to the state's voter registration process that attempts to ensure only legal votes are counted. Yet by removing absentee voters from the rolls, Kemp was merely following state and federal election law, including the federal 1993 National Voter Registration Act that calls on states to “conduct a general program that makes a reasonable effort to remove the names” of voters who are ineligible “by reason of” death or change in residence. State voter turnout was 16.4 percent above 2014 levels.
The comments made by some of Abrams' supporters indicate that this controversy has more to do with seizing power than election integrity. “If Stacey Abrams doesn’t win in Georgia they stole it, it's clear," said Ohio Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown in an admission that the election outcome is more important than the process. "If she had a fair election, she already would have won," remarked Hillary Clinton.
This coordinated attack on the integrity of the elections is part of a new linguistic war used by Democrats, according to former House Speaker and Georgia Rep. Newt Gingrich. In this war, he writes, "[w]anting to obey the law in counting votes becomes an effort to disenfranchise poor people, minorities and immigrants." Anything short of victory in a close election becomes a tainted vote, which Democrats can complain about to try to occupy the moral high ground and stoke support for their next campaign.
While Abrams has officially opposed the Hollywood boycott, her actions speak louder than her words. Every person in the state whose pocketbook is impacted as a result should lay the blame squarely at her feet. Meanwhile, voters across the country should see Democrat hand-wringing over election integrity for what it really is: a new linguistic front in their war for power.