Since Stacey Abrams became the Democratic nominee in Georgia’s 2018 gubernatorial race, her success has stoked national interest. People across Georgia and beyond wanted to see this experienced politician become the nation’s first black female governor.
Top Democrats, liberal organizations and celebrities voiced their support for the former minority leader of the Georgia House of Representatives. Media mogul Oprah Winfrey even flew to Marietta, Ga., to campaign for her.
“I was just sitting at home in California, minding my own business, but I could not stop thinking about what’s going on down here,” Winfrey told a crowd of Abrams supporters, adding that they were “on the precipice of a historic election.”
But after Abrams narrowly lost the Georgia race, she took a step back from politics to weigh her options. Some supporters say they want to see her pursue other political goals sooner rather than later — even in races Abrams has exhibited little to no interest in.
Others expressed hope that she would consider a run for the presidency, especially after she presented the Democratic rebuttal to President Trump’s State of the Union address in January.
The most recent example of that came Wednesday, when Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) announced that he would be stepping down at the end of the year for health reasons, putting both of the state’s U.S. Senate seats into play in 2020.
Many had urged Abrams to run against the state’s other senator, Republican David Perdue, who is up for reelection next year. But she declined. So when Isakson’s seat opened up, Abrams’s name resurfaced, reigniting liberal hopes that she could help shrink the GOP majority.
But again Abrams expressed zero interest.
Her spokesman said in a statement: “While she will not be a candidate herself, she is committed to helping Democratic candidates win both Senate races next year.”
Some questioned why she wouldn’t jump at the opportunity to represent Georgians in the U.S. Senate. But those paying close to attention to Abrams, who has expressed interest in running for governor again, might have an idea. This week, I wrote about her interest in possibly being the running mate of the Democratic presidential nominee, suggesting her next role might be an executive one.
“If the question is, would I like the job? I’m not going to be coy and say no. Of course I would love that opportunity,” she said on Joe Madison’s show on SiriusXM.
It’s understandable how liberals’ frustration with a GOP-controlled Senate under Trump could lead them to look to Abrams — and people like her — to “save America.” However, it seems apparent that Abrams’s interest in working with other lawmakers of equal power to shape society is in the past.
After Trump’s election, black women — the Democratic Party’s most faithful voting bloc — led the left in delivering the House to the Democrats: They turned out in such high numbers that the Trump-inspired blue wave some had predicted in 2018 materialized.
This has caused some liberals to depend heavily on black women to turn out in numbers, and even run for office, in the hope that they can outpace conservatives backing politicians who support Trump.
This strategy may make sense to some people, but requesting that black women, one of the demographic groups most critical of the president and his agenda, sacrifice their personal and professional goals for the greater well-being of democracy is unfair. Ultimately, what’s best for America in this political climate is allowing black women to determine what’s best for themselves.
As writer Roxane Gay tweeted in regard to Abrams’s dreams: “It is not her job to save the world. She already does more than we could hope. She will run for what she wants to run for when she wants to do it.”