The Georgia governor’s race presents a golden opportunity and a profound moment of truth for Democrats across the country. With House minority leader Stacey Abrams’s recent announcement that she’s formed an exploratory committee for the 2018 election, progressives can either capitalize on the country’s population trends and maximize their prospects for victory, or they can once again form a circular firing squad, lose the election, and block progress towards overcoming centuries of racial exclusion.
It’s no accident that Barack Obama’s historic candidacy inspired record high turnout among African-American voters, propelling him into the White House by a near-landslide margin. In Georgia, Obama received 47 percent of the vote in 2008, a higher percentage than any Democratic presidential candidate since native son Jimmy Carter’s 1980 campaign (Bill Clinton won Georgia in 1992, but he received only 43.5 percent of the vote in a race where third-party candidate Ross Perot siphoned off significant Republican support).
Abrams is poised to ride the same sort of wave that carried Obama to victory. In the 241-year history of the United States, there has never been an African-American woman elected governor of a state—any state. As one of the highest-ranking Democrats in Georgia, Abrams represents the best opportunity to finally smash that glass ceiling. Black voters will comprise a majority of all voters in the Democratic primary, making her the odds-on favorite to win the nomination. In a state that is rapidly approaching “majority-minority” status (whites currently comprise 53.9 percent of the population), the electoral calculus for Democrats is increasingly favorable. (The Nation)