Now that Joe Biden is in and the number of declared Democratic candidates has reached 20, it is safe to close the class. We’ve got all the candidates we need to makes sure that every segment of our voting body is well represented. In the event that every single one of those candidates drives home the crucial message of Democratic unity in the general election to their supporters we might just pull off the difficult yet doable task of unseating an incumbent president.
The one person left out there that the media will continue to clamor for is Stacey Abrams. On behalf of the voters of the state of Georgia I have a message for the pundits and politicians out there: Keep your greedy mitts and eager minds off of her. Leave her alone and move on with the 20 folks that have already declared. I do not want Stacey Abrams to run for president. For her level of political talent, vision and strength the presidency in its present condition is beneath her. And for that reason America does not need Stacey Abrams as its president- not anytime soon. The limitations of the presidency would rob us of the full payoff for the skills of this rare public servant. Ms. Abrams has the goods to be a transformative politician. Consequently, the value of Ms. Abrams replacing Donald Trump in the White House even for eight years pales in comparison to the value of having her leading the Democrats in the Senate for the next twenty-four years.
Let’s be clear about one thing that is rarely mentioned in the breathless media coverage of the 2020 presidential campaign: The most powerful and influential Republican in D.C. is Mitch McConnell- NOT Donald Trump. He has been the most powerful and important Republican for years. The net affect is that Donald Trump is doing Mitch McConnell’s bidding on all Republican legislative priorities whether he knows it or not. Don’t let the occasional intramural squabbling fool you- Trumps loud mouth and loose lips do not ever translate into a rebuke of any policy that is championed by Mitch McConnell. It is McConnell who is singularly responsible for conservatives vandalizing the federal judiciary- especially the Supreme Court. The pillaging of the treasury on behalf of the American oligarchy is all his work. Trump will take all the credit and get all the attention but he has been little more than a figure head- a loud-mouthed, orange-faced figurehead.
That is an incredible achievement of political influence and impact by a man who is not even in Stacey Abrams’ intellectual weight class. What could she do with the awesome power wielded by Senate Majority Leader? Her ability to take her case directly to the people would re-frame the important debates in American governance. Instead of silly and cynical discussions about “voter fraud” America would be galvanizing around the issue of election integrity and ballot access. In effect, Ms. Abrams’ communication capabilities would drag the entire nation into debates about what to do about troubling conditions on the ground rather than debating whether or not troubling conditions on the ground even exist. That is not simply a function of which party is in control- it is a function of the voltage of the of the party leadership. And it could not be clearer that of every single Democratic Senator in D.C. right now- and there are some impressive ones- NONE has the gravitas and force to lead the party and the chamber the way she can. Those that are anywhere in reach are running for president right now and hail from safe “blue” states so their impact in the Senate is already mitigated.
Consider what Ms. Abrams has achieved in state politics in Georgia and the nationwide sweep it has carried already. On the other hand, Mitch McConnell is nothing more than a power-monger with 100% of his efforts going toward concentrating power in the hands of a few- the same few that write campaign checks and do other special favors for men like him. Abrahms, on the other hand, has organized a broad cross-section of voters in a deep red state around the principle of empowering all people to participate in the political process and share in the prosperity of America. And it worked. She got the most votes of any Democratic candidate in the history of Georgia. Everybody knows Brian Kemp did not win the gubernatorial election over her- he had to engage in a broad voter suppression scheme to be declared the winner. In the history of the state no Democratic candidate had ever brought the turn-out she did. No candidate has ever been a greater champion for voter rights or built a stronger progressive presence in a deep red state than she has. That is exactly what we need a dose of in the Senate and she can lead that charge.
But much of that energy and momentum could get lost in this demolition derby style Democratic primary that is getting started. That would be tragic. We have so much more to gain- and a much higher chance of her winning- by Ms. Abrams taking a 50% shot at being the first black woman voted to the U.S. Senate by Georgia than a 5% shot at being the first black woman voted President of the United States. Besides, the rancid mess made of the Executive Branch by the current occupant of the White House should be cleaned up by somebody who is already a part of the system that put him there in the first place. Not that any particular Democrat is at fault but the major candidates are already creatures of D.C. and are the appropriate burden bearers for the restoration efforts. And whoever that president is will be a great deal more successful with Senator Stacey Abrams steering the country from the real seat of power.