Former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams speaks during the National Action Network Convention in New York, Wednesday, April 3, 2019. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
The New York Times opinion section (I know that only narrows it down to the whole paper, but bear with me) featured a column a few days ago that straight-up said the “obvious” choice for Joe Biden’s Vice Presidential candidate is former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams.
Please note that description. “Former Georgia gubernatorial candidate.” Not “former governor,” not “former Representative” or “former Senator.” She is only known as a one-time failed gubernatorial candidate in Georgia. She has no other accomplishments to her name. She was a state legislator, so she was really only well-known in her state district before running for governor.
And let’s not take that away from her. She ran a hell of a campaign and almost beat Brian Kemp. Sure, several in the media would like to say that she was cheated out of the job thanks to voter suppression, but the facts simply don’t match those accusations.
There is not a whole lot of credit to give her beyond that. She failed to win her own state and has really avoided Georgia politics ever since.
This love affair that several in the media appear to have with her doesn’t really make sense. She hasn’t done anything truly noteworthy, and she obnoxiously spent months saying she considered herself the real governor of Georgia despite clearly losing that race.
The argument made in the Times piece is that she would help Joe Biden where he’s weakest: with young voters, women, and minority voters. And, yes, if you look at exit polling, the vast majority of respondents in those categories overwhelmingly supported Abrams instead of Kemp. But, those aren’t the only percentages you should be looking at.
Black voters made up 30% of the voting turnout in 2018. Higher than normal, but still nowhere near enough to overcome the 60% white turnout in that race. Hispanic voters only turned out 5% of the overall vote. Kemp won almost three-quarters of the white vote, and managed to pick up over 10% of the black male vote.
In the age breakdown, Abrams could not get young voters out any more than any other candidate has tried to do. Only nine percent of the voters in that race fell between ages 18 and 24. The 25-29 age range was just over half that. Even voters in their 30s only made up 15% of the vote.
Biden’s deficiencies in attracting voters are going to be the young ones who are very, very upset Bernie Sanders didn’t get the nomination (although they did not turn out in enough force to alter that outcome in any way) and Hispanic voters, who likewise were very pro-Sanders. Biden’s strongest demographics are older white voters and most black voters. Picking Abrams doesn’t help him where he needs it most.
She also previously blasted Biden for his campaign floating the idea of picking her. So why would they try to draw from that well again?
Biden can’t afford to pick Abrams. She is far too much of spotlight holder and will overshadow him. Given that he’s been virtually invisible since the COVID-19 lockdowns began, he can’t lose any more time in the spotlight. Rather, he’ll look for someone who is going to be a better hook for young voters, and likely someone who will be a better hook for Hispanic voters. You won’t find those skills in the Abrams camp.
I realize that a lot of the media (not the author of the Times piece, but others out there) feel a strong sense of white guilt for ignoring her 2018 campaign and focusing all of their energies on Beto O’Rourke, but that doesn’t change the fact that she would simply be a bad candidate for Biden to pick.