What the Hell Was Stacey Abrams' Plan?

Kevin Wolf/AP Images for The Roosevelt Institute

A little over a year ago, Stacey Abrams could’ve had anything she wanted. She was getting a lot of friendly media coverage; many people in the national Democratic Party and the media were disappointed that she lost to Brian Kemp in the Georgia gubernatorial race. She had liberal activists super excited about her future.

Abrams’ allies were whispering that she was laying the groundwork for another gubernatorial run, or a Senate run, or even a presidential run. Democrats were looking for fresh faces, and hers was the freshest of the bunch. She toyed with the idea, and even smacked back hard when someone from Joe Biden’s camp floated the idea of her as his running mate.

In fact, her team responded that he would make a great running mate for her.

But, she didn’t jump into the presidential race. She didn’t jump into the Senate race. She instead started actively campaigning for Vice President the moment it was clear Biden was the nominee. She was loud and frequent about it… and then, she was publicly reprimanded and booted off the shortlist.

Now, she’s trying to backtrack by saying she was never really auditioning for the job at all. She’s trying to salvage her shot at a political future, but it may be dead in the water.

So what happened to Stacey Abrams?

There’s a problem with blind ambition when it’s grouped with inexperience and a sense of entitlement. Abrams allies literally shouted down her primary opponent, Stacey Evans, demanding that the gubernatorial candidate be black. She got the nomination and went on to face Kemp. Throughout the race, her campaign was that she was a super progressive black woman. She felt entitled to the job, and to be fair, her time in the state’s legislature gave her a lot of experience in working with the governor as well as fighting Republicans.

But, she lost. She could not win her state. Despite record minority voter registration and election day minority turnout, she could not seal the deal. Despite that, she felt entitled to keep the spotlight. She insisted that she was the real governor, said Kemp’s name would always have an asterisk next to it, and kept herself in the Georgia and national spotlights.

The race was a massive blemish on her record, but she would not be denied. So, she decided she would put out feelers for the Senate race and the presidential race. The former kept Georgia media interested, the latter kept the national media interested. The problem is that she apparently wanted neither.

It’s pretty clear that Abrams wants to be governor. She sees that as the launchpad for higher ambition. But how do you take a losing campaign and put yourself in the spotlight for the extra few years necessary to keep people interested? Make it look like you’re in the running for Vice President.

So, it could very well be that Abrams wanted to pad her resume a bit. The problem is that it failed so spectacularly that she is a laughingstock in Democratic circles. I argued weeks ago that she no longer had a future in politics, but I didn’t realize her own party would nail the coffin shut for her. If you disagree that her career is over, look at her media coverage now versus a week ago.

It dried up real fast, didn’t it?