Usually, when you ask politicians if they want to run for president or, in the case of Stacey Abrams, if you’re asked if you would like the chance to become the next vice-president, the politician in question pretends not to be thinking about it at all. They often rant about caring far too much more about the issues than speculating about a prospective boost to their political careers. We all know such responses are a lie, yet for some reason folks have kept this facade going—even in the Trump era, when one would hope everyone would finally abandon pretense given there is so painfully no point.
There is at least Abrams, who courts a job like a freelancer trying to get their late check. That is a compliment to Abrams, obviously. For weeks now, the former Georgia gubernatorial candidate has been blunt about not only Joe Biden needing a Black woman on his ticket as a nod to the demo most loyal to him and the Democratic Party, but also why she is the ideal Black woman to pick. If Abrams has not convinced you that she is indeed the best choice with her most recent television appearances, she’s at least proved why she deserves serious consideration despite the apparent misgivings of some members of the congressional leadership.
When asked about her shift in language and active pursuit of the job, Abrams spoke of being her own biggest advocate. “As a young Black girl growing up in Mississippi, I learned that if I didn’t speak up for myself, no one else would, so…my mission is to say out loud if I’m asked the question, ‘Yes, I would be willing to serve,’ ” Abrams explained in an interview with Chuck Todd, host of NBC’s Meet the Press.
Abrams also addressed criticism that she lacks the executive experience required, noting her work with three national organizations. As for her not winning the gubernatorial race, Abrams didn’t say it, but I will: Abrams didn’t lose so much as she had her race stolen from her considering Brian Kemp was both her opponent and the referee of their fight. If more folks like Chuck Todd made a bigger deal out of voter suppression as an attack on Democracy like Russian interference rather than merely a political tool out of the GOP playbook, then he wouldn’t have to ask that question. But that would require introspection.
Meanwhile, Abrams continued her defense on CNN’s State of The Union, telling host Jake Tapper: “As a woman of color, as a Black woman, as a person of color, I cannot be shy about my response, because any hint that I don’t think I’m qualified, that I don’t think we can is used as a justification for saying that we can’t.”
I find it most unfortunate that those questioning Abrams’s qualifications to be Biden’s running mate include Representative Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, who as reported, undercut Abrams by saying she “lacked sufficient experience.” In an interview with the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Clyburn said, “There is a young lady right there in Georgia who I think would make a tremendous VP candidate, and that’s the mayor of Atlanta, Keisha Lance Bottoms.”
Nothing against Mayor Bottoms, but how does a mayor whose previous experience was the city council outmatch a woman who served as minority leader in the state legislator of a deep red state for more than a decade? I could literally go on and on about Abrams’s other accomplishments, but the point is, while one can revere and respect James Clyburn, this curious slight toward Abrams is a crock.
It’s also why folks rightly referred to Clyburn as a member of the Democratic establishment, but I digress.
There are indeed numerous qualified Black women for Biden to choose from. And like others, I am of the mind that Biden does need to put a Black woman on the ticket. But as many great options as there are, no matter where you stand, I would like to think we could all agree that it’s nice to see women like Stacey Abrams (and Elizabeth Warren) vocalize what they want—particularly when so often women are wrongly punished for their ambition. And for that reason, I hope you will join me in bottling up James Clyburn’s claims that Stacey Abrams is unqualified to be vice-president and tossing that nonsense talk directly in the trash.
Stacey Abrams is a force and I don’t care who you are and what you do. To question her credibility at a time like this is foul and irresponsible.