Crooked Media Teams With Stacey Abrams to Fight Voter Suppression

Stacey Abrams Women In The World Summit - Getty - H 2019
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Co-founder Jon Lovett announced the partnership at a live production of the podcast 'Lovett or Leave It' at Radio City Music Hall.

During the live production of his podcast Lovett or Leave It, Jon Lovett, the co-founder of Crooked Media, interviewed former Georgia House Democratic Leader Stacey Abrams about her organization Fair Fight, which plans to create teams to fight voter suppression in 20 battleground states for 2020. He announced that Crooked Media’s Vote Save America Initiative would partner with Fair Fight to raise funds. The goal: $1 million by Nov. 5.

“It is a feature of our democracy; it is not a bug,” Abrams said, explaining that the goal of Fair Fight is with the law itself, which allows voter suppression to happen. “We have to reclaim the notion of what a democracy means.”

Lovett asked everyone in the audience to take out their phones and donate to the cause, uncertain that everyone would participate. But Abrams was confident. “I believe them because they wouldn’t want to disappoint me again,” she said.

Abrams and Lovett hosted a game called “We’re Going to Need a Bigger Vote” with podcast guests The Daily Show correspondent Dulcé Sloan, comedian Wyatt Cenac and former White House deputy chief of staff Alyssa Mastromonaco. The game showcased some voter suppression statistics, and the contestants had to guess the statistic “The Price Is Right style.” (Spoiler alert: No one ever went high enough.)

Lovett opened the evening by rising from the stage on the lift “reserved for Santa during the Christmas Spectacular” (“Guess what? No Santa today. Just a gay Jew.) He implored the crowd to think back on the last three years and gear up for 2020. “We’ve had some big symbolic victories,” he said. “And some even bigger actual losses.”

He then hosted a conversation with Sloan, Cenac and Mastromonaco about the Democratic debates Thursday night, and everyone could agree on one thing: Biden’s skin looked amazing. But they were uncertain if he was the right nominee.

“An old white man got us into this mess. Why do we think an old white man is going to get us out of it?” Cenac said.

They discussed the importance of narrowing down the candidates early, comparing the playing field to the Avengers except everyone thinks they’re the hero.

Lovett then played a game of “OK, Stop” with comedians Desus and Mero, discussing the Fox News broadcast about former National Security Adviser John Bolton’s resignation and stopping to provide commentary. “This season of America is trash,” Mero said.

Lovett also played a game with the audience called “Tweet Emotion,” in which one audience member had to choose an event from the last three years based on Lovett’s emotional response. Events included everything from the Game of Thrones finale to Melania Trump’s red Christmas trees.

Lovett concluded the podcast with an interview with Abrams, discussing why she’s not running for one of the two open Senate seats in Georgia (“I don’t want the job”), what campaigns can learn from her Georgia gubernatorial bid (the Abrams Playbook is available) and her novel writing career under the pen name Selena Montgomery (the books are available in bookstores and on Amazon).

After all the games and interviews, Lovett spoke in an impassioned manner to the crowd about the importance of the 2020 election and the importance of organizing.

“Everyone said for so long, ‘This isn’t normal.’ And we said it so often, it became a joke. But when something awful becomes normal, that doesn’t mean you accept it as normal forever. But it does mean you stop being surprised and you stop being scared,” Lovett said, comparing the fight to zombie and apocalypse movies. “We have to get weird and we have to get fucking crazy. Normal? They’re normal! [Mitch] McConnell is normal! Fox News is normal. Trump is normal! We’re the crazy ones now, motherfuckers!”