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Tipsheet

Stacey Abrams Criticizes Buttigieg Over Identity Politics

AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton

Stacey Abrams, the Georgia lawmaker infamous for refusing to concede last fall's gubernatorial election, won by Republican Brian Kemp, recently spoke out in defense of identity politics. In her speech, she criticized Democrats who refuse to claim the ideology because at its core it's "who they are," she said.

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“The notion of identity politics has been peddled for the past 10 years and it’s been used as a dog whistle to say we shouldn’t pay too much attention to the voices coming into progress,” Abrams said at the Center for American Progress’s Ideas Conference. “I would argue that identity politics is exactly who we are and exactly how we won.” 

Her remarks appeared to be an indirect response to one 2020 Democratic contender in particular. South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg recently disparaged the "so-called identity politics” as a divisive term that has resulted in Americans' “crisis of belonging.”

"These divisive lines of thinking have even entered into the consciousness of my own party," Buttigieg said at a speech before an LGBT rights group last week.

Buttigieg recently admitted that he needs help attracting support in minority communities, perhaps more so after the renewed controversy over his handling of secret police tapes which reportedly included police officers making racist comments about an African-American police chief.

Yet, Buttigieg may have more in common with Abrams than she thinks when it comes to political language. He recently suggested that typically taboo terms are being twisted by conservatives. Take the word “socialism,” for example. They mayor remarked at a recent Washington Post 2020 Candidates event that while socialism used to be likened to communism, nowadays Republicans were trying to tag any idea that’s left of center as “socialist.”

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Abrams vs. Buttigieg isn't the only instance of Democratic infighting as we head toward 2020. Many of the candidates are targeting Joe Biden - unsurprising seeing how the former vice president is consistently polling at the top of the field. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Buttigieg have recently criticized Biden for his role in the 1994 crime bill and how it led to "mass incarceration." Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), meanwhile, is busy exposing Biden's un-progressive record.

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