‘You don’t run for second place.’
That’s how Stacey Abrams responded when asked if she would consider being presidential hopeful Joe Biden’s running mate during a March 2019 interview on ABC’s The View. Annoyed at the posed hypothetical, the 2018 Democratic Georgia gubernatorial candidate’s answer lacked a basic understanding of her place in the Democratic party. But now, a short year later, Abrams is making it abundantly clear to anyone who is willing to listen: she is absolutely, passionately and gracelessly running for second place, so help her God.
Abrams, a lawyer whose career includes a 10-year stint in Georgia’s House of Representatives, amassed national attention and a sudden rise in popularity after the 2018 governor’s race. While she had the coveted endorsements of culture icons such as Oprah and former president Barack Obama, her newfound recognition was not due to any phenomenal campaigning, extensive political résumé, or even a win. How has Stacey Abrams flirted with becoming a household name? By handling her ego-crushing loss with a stunning lack of grace.
To this day, Abrams refuses to officially concede the election despite losing to now-Gov. Brian Kemp by roughly 55,000 votes. She argues that her demise was caused by a ‘rigged’ election resulting from systematic voter suppression. Nothing more. Yet her bombastic unwillingness to accept defeat has been enough to keep her relevant in the hearts and minds of Democrats moving towards 2020. Now she’s on an aggressive campaign to frame herself as the most worthy number two.
In an interview with Elle last month, Abrams made a critical pivot away from her original refusal to entertain the VP slot by admitting she ‘would be honored’ to be asked. She added that she ‘would be an excellent running mate’ with a ‘capacity to attract voters’…despite the fact that her track record points to the exact opposite. Abrams confidently cited her supposed qualifications: her ‘strong history of executive and management experience in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors’ and spending ‘25 years in independent study of foreign policy’. Despite her lackluster résumé, she makes it abundantly clear that if Biden is looking to balance out his subpar identity politics of being an ‘old white male’, she alone would be the one to rescue him simply on the merit of being a minority woman.
Abrams is looking to fast-track her way into the Oval Office despite being largely unqualified. But her affinity for fantasy is nothing new. Under the pseudonym ‘Selena Montgomery,’ Abrams has penned a number of ‘romantic suspense novels’, which, according to her website, have sold over 100,000 copies. It is unknown if Abrams has ever contested the legitimacy of that number.
Despite being a former state representative, indignant political activist and published paperback romance novelist, Abrams’s qualifications don’t exactly put her in the realm of being a ‘good candidate’. And if Biden is running a campaign based on decency of character, Stacey ‘Refuse To Concede’ Abrams is clearly not the epitome of Democratic civility. But that all goes out the window when you have an entire media faction fawning over you and helping replace policy positions with Hollywood endorsements.
Just over the weekend the Washington Post released a puff piece titled ‘The Power of Stacey Abrams’, filled with a glorified analysis of the failed candidate alongside an array of dramatic portraits. One in particular quickly spread across the internet: a silhouette of Abrams backlit through a cloud of fog, donning kitten heels and a cape. The feature, which likened her to a ‘runway supermodel’ channeling her ‘inner actress’, was clearly intended to flatter her and depict her as some sort of superhero. Not all heroes wear capes, but this Democratic darling sure does.
Failed Candidate Basking In A Cloud Of Her Smug, colorized (2020) pic.twitter.com/Rwd7LChZN1
— Kate Hyde (@KateHydeNY) May 17, 2020
During an appearance on MSNBC alongside Biden, Abrams’s desire to be VP was palpable. As Joe Biden gently deflected Lawrence O’Donnell’s question about whether Abrams was being considered as a running mate, her demeanor melted. Her expression went from glee to disdain as Biden laid out the cold hard fact that she wasn’t there because she’s his pick, but because she is good for voting rights. If she were a superhero, this would be the moment in the movie where she bitterly switches sides and morphs into a vengeful villain.
But even Biden’s direct dismissal isn’t enough to stop her. No, not Stacey Abrams. She will never give up a fight, no matter how delusional. She will force on and continue to fail forward. Because in the 2020 electoral power rankings, it is better to lose and lose without honor than it is to have never had the chance to speak with Anderson Cooper in a town hall meeting.
Abrams has found the perfect loophole to power and she is very boldly taking advantage of it without regard for reality or qualifications. Abrams was smart to hang back in the 2020 presidential run because she knew she couldn’t compete. Not in fundraising, not on the issues, not with any serious pedigree. There was no way she could beat enough candidates to make it to the top. But this position is an appointment that doesn’t require an election.
If Biden wins, his Veep will likely take over in time for 2024. And Selena Montgomery is determined to rewrite this fantasy and insert a seductive plot twist…one that ends in redemption for a very underqualified underdog.