Stacey Abrams deserves to be recognized for why — and how — Georgia became a crucial swing state that made election history.
By Bruce C.T. Wright
Stacey Abrams has responded to the outpouring of support and recognition heaped upon her in the wake of Georgia voters pushing Joe Biden past Donald Trump in the state’s election during the early hours of Friday morning. She was being largely credited for her role in getting out the vote in the state and her successful efforts at organizing against the same kind of voter suppression efforts suffered by her historic gubernatorial candidacy two years ago.
Ever the humble public servant, Abrams instead deflected the praise being lavished on her to pay homage to other individuals and groups who also helped pave the way for a Democratic presidential nominee to win the state of Georgia for the first time in nearly 30 years.
“My heart is full,” Abrams tweeted Friday morning.
She then selflessly asked Georgians to name other people she may have missed “who’ve been in the trenches and deserve the plaudits for change.”
People on Friday morning were also crediting the spirit of voting rights pioneer John Lewis for the reason why the presidential race between Biden and Trump has narrowed in Georgia, but Abrams’ role — which effectively took the late Congressman’s electoral baton and ran with it — cannot be overstated.
That’s why there’s a growing movement across social and mainstream media to recognize her considerable contributions that placed Georgia on the verge of being the deciding factor in the 2020 presidential election.
Abrams was able to redirect the momentum she gained with her historic gubernatorial campaign by starting the Fair Fight organization after that election was effectively robbed from her by her former opponent and current Gov. Brian Kemp, who was accused of suppressing votes from Black communities in order to win the race.
She turned that decidedly negative moment into what has become a very positive movement to protect the integrity of elections by making sure they’re fair, encouraging people to vote and making voters aware of their rights at the polls.
It looks like that effort has more than worked as eyes were on several counties in Georgia that are traditionally Democratic strongholds and could prove to be the deciding factors that would hand Biden the state’s 16 electoral college votes to push him past the crucial threshold of 270 electoral college votes. As such, Abrams’ hard work has been credited with making Georgia — traditionally a so-called red state expected to be won by Republican candidates — a battleground swing state that could be won by a Democrat for the first time in nearly 30 years.
A closer look at the counties involved — Fulton and DeKalb — reveals they each have high populations of Black people, placing an even greater emphasis on the role that Black voters have been playing in the 2020 election, which is due in no small part to Abrams and her organizing. That fact further presented a different and more accurate perspective about Black voters, who have been vilified after data showed a greater share of their electoral support went to Trump compared t four years ago.
Not for nothing, with the political cycle moving at such a rapid rate, it’s also easy to forget that Abrams was at one time highly favored to be Biden’s vice-presidential running mate. She was even rumored to be considering her own run at the White House. But at the time, her spokesperson said, “fighting voter suppression and making sure our nominees have what they need to fight on the ground is what’s most important” to Abrams.
Those words turned out to be prophetic.
After losing her gubernatorial election, she became a darling of Democrats and was considered a rising star when she accepted an offer to deliver the Party’s official rebut Trump’s State of the Union address last year. She opted to do the necessary grunt work on the ground t lay the foundation for the pivotal moment that is upon the country right now.
Although Biden ultimately picked Sen. Kamala Harris to be his running mate, Abrams kept her eyes on her ultimate prize and never gave up the good — or, fair — fight.
All of which is why people were already wondering if there was a place in a cabinet under a Joe Biden presidential administration. Or perhaps, some folks wondered on social media, Democrats would be better served by her talents as head of the Democratic National Committee.
Whether Biden wins or loses the election wither with or without Georgia going his way, it’s clear that the political sky is the limit for Abrams, who will have no shortage of options for what she should do next.
In the meantime, it’s abundantly clear that Abrams needs to be given her flowers right now.