Stacey Abrams pushes back on criticism of identity politics: That's how 'we won'

Democrats should embrace identity politics rather than running away from the issue, Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams said on Wednesday.

"I would argue that identity politics is exactly who we are, and it's exactly how we won," she told an audience at event held by the Center for American Progress in Washington, D.C.

She pointed to efforts in Florida and Georgia where, she indicated, Democrats attracted new voters.

Her comments came as the party wrestled with how moderate it should appear before the general election in 2020. Conservatives have criticized identity politics as a way of fragmenting the electorate according to their skin color and other attributes.

But according to Abrams, identity politics helped her party connect with voters.

"When we refuse to engage in the conversation of identity politics, when we refuse to acknowledge that we see you and we understand you and we understand the barriers that you face, then what we are met with is a lack of trust," she said.

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She also pushed back on criticism of the tactic, arguing that detractors used the term "identity politics" as a "dog whistle."

"The notion of identity politics has been peddled for the last 10 years, and it's been used as a dog whistle to say that we shouldn't pay too much attention to the new voices coming into progress," she said.

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"We have to recognize that the internal threat we face is a fear of who we are," she said.

Abrams caught scrutiny after she refused to concede her loss in the Georgia governor's race in 2018, citing allegations of voter suppression.

She has been outspoken about voter suppression and indicated she might throw her hat in the ring for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.