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In Georgia, a Bar Crowd Roars for Stacey Abrams State of the Union Response – The New Yorker

Noni & s is a hip bar and deli, known for its dance evenings in the late evening, located between Martin Luther King, the birthplace of Jr., In the Sweet Auburn district of Atlanta and the capital of the state. Stacey Abrams lives a few kilometers away. On Tuesday evening, more than a hundred Abrams supporters gathered at Noni's for one of the dozens of national "watch parties" organized by Abrams & nonprofit nonprofit, Fair Fight Action, which they created after they last November the gubernatorial elections of Georgia lost, last November, to the Republican candidate, Brian Kemp. As the outgoing secretary of the state, Kemp supervised the elections he ran – a marred by accusations and cases of voter oppression. He avoided a run-off of about forty thousand votes, in a state with more than ten million inhabitants.

Abrams, who is forty-five years old, is the first African-American woman to ever give the Democratic response to the address of the State of the Union. It is said that she will face David Perdue, the junior Republican Senator of Georgia, in 2020. She has not made any commitments yet to run, but Tuesday night's speech only encouraged her to do so. Many in Noni's room called: "Abrams for Senate!" Others simply sang, from Donald Trump: "Lock it up!"

The owner of Noni & # 39; s, Matt Ruppert, supported Abrams' campaign for the governor, co-hosting of neighborhood events, as well as registration of voter registrations outside the restaurant, which attracts a largely liberal crowd. On election days, he usually offers discounts to customers who wear "I voted" stickers. "People expect us to do politics here on nights like this," he said. He wore a black T-shirt with the quote from Abrams: "Democracy only works if we work for it, if we fight for it, and if we ask for it." He shook his head over the Republican governor who beat her. "Kemp is a despicable person," he said.

On a big screen above the bar, the Trump cabinet members entered the room for the address. "Very vanilla, very yesterday," said Lance Robertson, a middle-aged African American who works in the field of environmental sustainability. He wore a black T-shirt with the text "DumpTrump2020." Robertson explained, "It's a new day, so we made this hashtag, we want to make this movement viral, President of a term!" As far as Abrams is concerned, Robertson said, "She led the best campaign of my life. I was pleasantly surprised that they chose to talk tonight, and tonight the Democratic Party changed the page into a new frontier of leadership and a new voice, they have disrupted the process, it was very clever. seat of the US Senate. "He added:" There is a lot of ammunition she has on Trump, but I want to hear it tomorrow. "What's the matter for us?"

Preston Brown, a thirty-year-old, was at the bar. "I hope the Democratic Party will stand up with a message of unity," Brown said. "I was in the Navy for eight years, and one of the most important decisions for me was that Trump was elected, I would waste my life for my country and our way of life, for freedom, but I would not want to spray my life for a tantrum. I want my children to be taken care of so that they can really make it right. "

Alli Royce Soble, a documentary photographer, wanted to hear "goodness with teeth" from Abrams, who she called "the pearl of the south". Her friend Kyle Keyser, a video producer and director, wanted to hear about "the new south, with its progressive and inclusive politics, I do not think she has to attack the president." Keyser did not know what he wanted Abrams to do. the next flight came away, & # 39; because a senate race with her worries me a bit, because I protect her. "Royce was more optimistic, saying Abrams," I would like to see her as a senator in a few years , and a few elections to the White House follow from now on. "

Trump's speech had actually drawn an extended "boo" out of the crowd. When Abrams appeared on the screen, it roared. "In Georgia and across the country," she said, "people are striving for a middle class where a salary is really equal to economic security, but instead the hope of families is being crushed by Republican leadership that ignores real life or just does not understand. "This got a big applause at Noni's. She spoke about climate change, voting rights, racism, reproductive health. Towards the end she said: "Although I am very disappointed by the President's approach to our problems, I still do not want him to fail, but we need him to tell the truth and his duties and the extraordinary diversity that America has defines respect. & # 39;

Ruppert was satisfied when he cleaned up. "It was short and powerful," he said. "She glossed over the Medicare-for-everything, which was a bit unfortunate, but the most important part about protecting an honest and safe election was pretty great." Keyser said, "We have a nice time here in Georgia, after a lot of work. "

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