Despite All The Puff Pieces, The Stacey Abrams VP Campaign Is A Bad Sign For Democrats

AP Photo/John Bazemore

There is a full-court press from Stacey Abrams and media outlets to get her named as Joe Biden’s Vice Presidential candidate ahead of the 2020 election. Hailing from Georgia, the former state legislator (and that’s it as far as her resume of success really goes) is openly telling anyone and everyone that will listen that she would be more than happy to be his Vice President, and that she would make an excellent running mate.

As I mentioned last week, this is despite the fact that Abrams lost in a statewide election to Georgia’s current governor, Brian Kemp, and has since been whispered as a candidate to challenge him in 2022, the U.S. Senate, and a presidential contender herself. The problem with Abrams is that she hasn’t won, and currently can’t win, a statewide election in her home state, making her more of a liability to Biden than an asset.

CNN wrote a piece on her open campaign, and there is a lot in it that really puffs her up as a candidate.

The directness belies years of precedent by prospective running mates, who often publicly play coy about the vice-presidential ambitions while simultaneously privately running campaigns to get themselves picked. In a series of interviews with CNN, aides, former bosses, and longtime friends say that straightforwardness reflects who Abrams has been for her entire adult life: A black woman raised in Mississippi and Georgia who feels if she is not upfront about her ambitions, she will get passed over.
It’s an argument that Abrams has made herself in the early stages of Biden’s running mate search. Abrams used a call with donors this month to explain that no one asked her to lead as a young black girl in Mississippi, so she learned to raise her hand and make it known that she wanted a position of power, a source on the call said.

Where Abrams really tries to seal the deal is in this quote to CNN’s Jake Tapper.

“As a young black woman, growing up in Mississippi, I learned that if you don’t raise your hand, people won’t see you, and they won’t give you attention,” Abrams told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday. “But it’s not about attention for being the running mate, it is about making sure that my qualifications aren’t in question, because they’re not just speaking to me, they’re speaking to young black women, young women of color, young people of color, who wonder if they too can be seen.”

Abrams is essentially making the case that if Biden doesn’t pick her simply because she isn’t qualified (she is not), then it’s him alienating all black women and killing his support among them.

Of course, Abrams is going to want to make this a racial campaign for VP because Biden needs black voters and having a black woman on the ballot is seen as a great way to ensure he gets them. Except, of course, he has had no problem getting black voters since his campaign began, and it’s not like there is a whole lot of current evidence showing that they’ll flee the Democratic Party for Trump in 2020.

The rest of the CNN piece is really just more biographical information that is being rehashed over and over again, and aside from the claim that Brian Kemp oversaw his own election (Georgia law did not actually allow him as Secretary of State to do that, but facts can be very inconvenient things sometimes), none of it is particularly false.

What’s missing here are two things. The first, I’ve already alluded to: She has no qualifications whatsoever. The second thing, however, is something most Democrats on the national level are ignoring and most Democrats in the state of Georgia are probably starting to realize: Abrams’ focus on the VP pick means she has no interest in Georgia.

As close as she was to winning the governor’s mansion in 2018, you would think that continuing to lay the groundwork and attacking Kemp at every turn is a smart play to keep her name alive in the state. But, based on all these media reports, she has all but abandoned Georgia and is seeking a national platform here. That seems to be a pretty big sign that she sees no path forward in the state and is skipping ahead on her career path.

If Abrams saw Georgia Governor as a job title that could springboard her to a national presidential run, then this becomes even clearer – and given how she has forced herself into the limelight at every opportunity since she ran, it’s clear that her ambitions extended far beyond the state’s lines. However, Abrams has done favors only for herself and has not used her influence to help the Democratic Party in Georgia, which is looking more and more like it will not be very competitive in the coming election cycles.

Abrams is aiming for the VP nomination as a way to keep her national profile hot while her state profile is essentially dead. There is no path forward for Abrams in Georgia, and given the way she is openly campaigning for VP now (as well as how insultingly she spoke about being Biden’s VP nominee in April of last year), it’s highly unlikely that she will be able to secure that job, too.

Which is why we should be able to call this what it is: a falling star. Her career in politics, if she doesn’t get the VP nod, is essentially over. A history that just reads “former state legislator, former gubernatorial candidate, and former frontrunner for vice presidential candidate” just doesn’t scream “SUCCESS!” to anyone.