No, that is not a typo. You may think Brian Kemp won the gubernatorial election in 2018, but Abrams has made it very clear that she believes she really won that race and that Kemp is an illegitimate governor. Saying that isn’t a threat to democracy to democracy to say that. It’s just fact.
Abrams announced her expected bid after declining to get involved in U.S. Senate races in 2020. She is running in an election cycle that will be absolutely devastating for Democrats. But, most importantly, she is running as someone who is eager for the spotlight but incapable of comprehending how to act once she has it.
During the end of her last gubernatorial bid, Abrams and her allies screamed that the election was being stolen, and the national press latched on to that while most of the Georgia press knew it was a load of garbage. Routine vote roll purges, a Democrat-initiated lawsuit that tied up voting machines and forced precinct closures? Those weren’t the work of a corrupt Secretary of State running for Governor.
But, Abrams and her team screwed up. They held a massive voter drive but many of those new registrations were invalid. And her claims ahead of the election that it was being stolen probably suppressed the black vote that would have otherwise voted for her. She killed her own election chances. And, as it turns out, Georgia was better off for it.
Kemp re-opened the state and its economy rebounded. He fought against mask mandates. He did just about everything right where COVID-19 was concerned. Abrams, meanwhile, stayed in the media’s spotlight and launched national initiatives for candidate recruitment and GOTV efforts. The media lavished her with even more praise and continued to invite her on their shows and in their columns.
For the media’s part, this was probably white guilt. Ignoring people like Abrams and Florida’s Andrew Gillum in favor of white dudes like Beto O’Rourke probably cost her some of the support in-state that she needed. So, they helped her stay relevant.
Rumors began swirling in 2019 that the Biden campaign was interested in someone like Abrams for Vice President. When asked, she laughed it off as dismissively as possible because she was still considering jumping in at that point. But she decided to stay out of the 2020 election because she still had eyes for Georgia. When Biden became the candidate for the Democrats, though, she was suddenly interested in the Vice Presidency.
At that point, Biden had promised to pick a woman to be his running mate. Democratic Party politics all but ensured it would be a woman of color. The problem was this: the Biden team remembered her insult almost a year earlier. And as much as she publicly campaigned for the spot, it went to Kamala Harris (in retrospect, it is hilarious that the Biden team disliked the idea of Stacey Abrams as a running mate so much that they ended up picking someone they now have to ship overseas or keep off-camera as much as possible to stop her from embarrassing the rest of the administration). And many of Biden’s allies publicly and privately told the media it was shameful behavior for her to be auditioning for the job like that.
So, she quietly returned to Georgia politics, but no more humbled than when she started.
It is the last month of 2021 and Abrams is saying she’s running for governor in 2022. It’s going to be an absolute slaughter where Democrats are concerned. Kemp’s approval rating is 53 percent, according to the Morning Consult, and his disapproval is only at 27 percent. His problem is that unaccounted for 20 percent, which is going to be largely Republican and largely people who are buying into Trump’s misplaced anger at Kemp over the 2020 election in Georgia. If Kemp survives a Trump-backed challenger from the right, then he’s almost guaranteed re-election.
Abrams, though, has to get through a Democratic primary and the general election, which is not easy to do when there are whispers of Georgia’s Democratic establishment being unhappy with how her organizations have taken in a lot of money but aren’t willing to coordinate or share. Abrams herself is far more about her than she is for Georgia Democrats. The state’s party leaders understand this and will likely stay out of a primary because of it.
She is a champion of reading the room, though. She just consistently misinterprets the mood of folks because she thinks a lot of herself and very little about others who aren’t supporter her or worshipping her every move.