Former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams announced this week that she will not be running for president in 2020, but said in an interview with the New York Times that she would be open to a VP nomination from any of the 2020 Democratic candidates.
Ms. Abrams said that her decision not to run ultimately came down to her role in ensuring that voter suppression does not sway the 2020 election. “I’ve been thinking about this for the last few weeks, and I’ve just come to the decision that my best value add, the strongest contribution I can give to this primary, would be to make sure our nominee is coming into an environment where there’s strong voter protections in place.”
Ms. Abrams garnered national attention during her 2018 campaign and controversial defeat by Republican Brian Kemp which raised questions about voter suppression in Georgia. She has quickly become a rising star in the Democratic Party, with several candidates rumored to be considering her as their VP pick. Abrams recently turned down an offer to run for Senate, saying that she wants to focus on voter suppression and the 2020 primary elections.
When asked about her thoughts on being nominated as VP she said “I would be honored to be considered by any nominee. But my responsibility is to focus on the primary. And that means using the primary as an opportunity to build the apparatus to fight voter suppression. Because in the end, no matter where I fit, no matter which ones of our nominees win, if we haven’t fought this scourge, if we haven’t pushed back against Moscow Mitch and his determination to block any legislation that would cure our voting machines, then we are all in a world of trouble.”
Many of the Democratic candidates have expressed the importance of diversity in the 2020 race. Beto O’Rourke and Cory Booker have both said they want a female candidate on the ticket, and there have also been reports that Joe Biden has considered offering Abrams the VP spot. With six women and three people of color running for president— a record for the Democratic Party —gender and race are taking center stage in the 2020 nominee race. Ms. Abrams did not shy away from discussing her feelings about identity politics.
“We must understand the challenges that we face — whether it’s a white suburban mom, who has to deal with not having access to public transit to get to your child’s school and then get to their job, or an African-American farmer who’s isolated from the internet and can’t figure out how to get his produce to market. Our responsibility is to know that those identities are real, and the barriers to their success are real. And that we should see those identities and embrace the politics of fixing the barriers, of removing the structural obstacles. I do push back against any politician, Democrat or Republican, who would offer this notion that talking about identity is somehow dangerous. It is the only way we are successful. This is how people see themselves in our politics.”
Ms. Abrams has spent the year since her loss working to strengthen voter protections in Georgia, as well as meeting with various Democratic presidential candidates about making voter suppression a priority in their policies.
Sources: NYT 8/14/19; NYT 3/6/19; Politico 8/14/19; Feminist Newswire 11/28/18