But look closer: Abrams has never held any federal office, nor has she ever been a mayor or governor. She was the Democratic state House minority leader, but that simply means she rallied the opposition party to oppose Republican initiatives. She simply has never had the experience at any substantial level of proposing serious initiatives that have a chance of becoming law or implementing policies.
Nor is her close defeat necessarily a tribute to her campaigning skills. The 2018 campaign was the closest to a party-based election that the United States has had in decades. In state after state, voters angry with President Trump voted for Democrats up and down the ballot, regardless of their personal backgrounds or positions. In her own state of Georgia, the same suburban voters who backed her also backed Democrats for the House and state legislature in nearly identical proportions. Former representative Beto O’Rourke can attest that a close defeat in 2018 in a once-deep-red state does not necessarily mean you’re ready for prime time.
Biden’s own criteria for the vice presidency clearly rule out someone with Abrams’s personality and experience. He has repeatedly said that the person he chooses must be able to step into the presidency on Day One, a clear recognition that his advanced age means voters know the vice president could easily have to become president if Biden’s health deteriorates. Only the most blinkered ideologue can say Abrams meets that measure. Biden has also said he needs to be personally and philosophically “simpatico” with his No. 2. Abrams’s pugnacious persona is miles apart from Biden’s.
This raises serious questions about her own self-awareness. That she is openly campaigning for the job, while denying the obvious in interviews, also raises questions about her judgment. How can someone seriously think this will work or raise her stature?
Abrams’s decision to do this rather than run for Georgia’s U.S. Senate seat also boggles the mind. The appointed incumbent, Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R), is clearly a weak incumbent. She had no political experience before becoming Gov. Brian Kemp’s (R) choice to succeed the retiring Johnny Isakson, and she immediately become embroiled in an alleged insider trading scandal. The Republican alternative, Rep. Douglas A. Collins, is a hard-right ideologue from rural Georgia — not the type of person one imagines would appeal to the suburban electorate that Republicans need to keep the Senate seat. Abrams nevertheless decided not to run for this eminently winnable seat, one that would have given her necessary national experience.
At 46, a Sen. Abrams could easily have dreamed of moving quickly into a serious White House bid. But she’s running around the country tilting at windmills and obliviously embarrassing herself.
Abrams could have become a serious Democratic player. Instead, the ideologue looks more and more like the next Sarah Palin, milking her comet-like appearance on the national stage for all its worth until she slowly fades from view.