Biden’s Most Ridiculous Veep Prospect

Stacey Abrams speaks at the Center for American Progress 2019 Ideas Conference in Washington, D.C., May 22, 2019. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)
Stacey Abrams’s foremost political achievement is making her Georgia gubernatorial loss into a cause célèbre among Democrats.

Stacey Abrams has another distinction to add to her resume — she’s among the most preposterous potential vice-presidential candidates ever.

Her attempt to leverage a failed Georgia gubernatorial bid into a spot on the Democratic ticket is so brazenly absurd that it’s hard to think of precedents.

But the 46-year-old African-American activist is not one to be constrained by standard political practice, or reality. She refused to concede her narrow, but clear, 2018 gubernatorial loss, instead alleging she’d been undone by a massive voter-suppression scheme.

As she put it at a recent event, “my opponent who was a cartoon villain stole the voices of Georgians.”

Usually, candidates who won’t acknowledge their defeats are written off as sore losers. Such is the inflamed and paranoid state of Democrats in the Trump era that rather than being embarrassed by the Georgian’s graceless and unsubstantiated claims of electoral theft, they have embraced and parroted them.

Abrams could be forgiven for thinking that if she could get her party to accept that she is the rightful governor of Georgia, she has a chance to convince it that she deserves to be a heartbeat away from the presidency in the administration of a 78-year-old man.

By her own estimation, she’d be an “excellent running mate.” She has no doubt that she’s prepared to be president on Day One and touts her foreign-policy credentials of having visited more than a dozen countries.

Trump has rewritten the rules of political experience, yet it’s still a stretch to imagine someone who has only served in the Georgia legislature — and as a state representative, not even a senator — is ready to become the leader of the free world. Even Pete Buttigieg has more executive experience.

Abrams told the New York Times that she’s been so forthright about wanting to be Biden’s selection because she doesn’t “want anyone to ever look at my answer and say, ‘Well, if she can’t say it, then I can’t think it.’” Yes, anyone who aspires to lose a statewide election and make it a credential for high office can look to Abrams for inspiration.

She considers the old etiquette around the veep-selection process oppressive. As she told the Washington Post, “Tradition does not serve those who have been marginalized or disadvantaged. And therefore, my response has to meet the moment.” Meet the moment? She’s only been answering questions in interviews about veep speculation.

Her foremost political achievement to date of making her gubernatorial loss into a cause célèbre among Democrats is built on nonsense.

It is true that her victorious opponent, Brian Kemp, was serving as secretary of state at the same time he campaigned for governor. He wasn’t responsible for counting the votes, though, which is done at the local level.

Kemp did purge the voter rolls, in keeping with Georgia’s “use it or lose it” rule. If you don’t vote in an election for three years, you get notices in the mail. If you don’t reply to them and then don’t vote in the next two federal elections, you are taken off the rolls. This measure is unlikely to affect active voters. Regardless, people can always reregister.

It is often said that Kemp shut down polling places. But these decisions were made by localities, and the ones that cut polling places were usually cash-strapped rural areas.

Abrams can reasonably boast of an ability to stoke turnout among minority and young voters — she won more votes than any Democrat who has ever run statewide. But, given her high-octane progressivism, she’d have limited appeal to working-class swing voters and suburban women. By picking her, Biden would also be undermining one of his chief arguments, namely that he’s a low-risk, experienced, steady hand.

This means that Abrams is likely to be passed over — and, if the past is any guide, conclude that she got robbed.

© 2020 by King Features Syndicate


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