I Don’t Blame Stacey Abrams

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I Don’t Blame Stacey Abrams

Stacey Abrams after a campaign stop in Rome, Ga., May 16, 2018.

Stacey Abrams after a campaign stop in Rome, Ga., May 16, 2018.

Photo courtesy of The New York Times.

Stacey Abrams after a campaign stop in Rome, Ga., May 16, 2018.

Photo courtesy of The New York Times.

Photo courtesy of The New York Times.

Stacey Abrams after a campaign stop in Rome, Ga., May 16, 2018.

Kieran Ferguson, Staff writer

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Much to the dismay of Democratic leadership, Stacey Abrams announced this week that she would not run for David Perdue’s Senate seat in 2020. I don’t blame her.

Stacey Abrams has dedicated her whole political life towards fighting for change and the improvement of life for Georgia’s working families. As minority leader in the Georgia State House of Representatives, Abrams worked tirelessly across the aisle to pass nationally-recognized criminal justice reform, expand public transportation, and prevent the slashing of the HOPE Scholarship budget. The title of her book, Minority Leader: How to Lead from the Outside and Make Real Change, reflects what her entire career has been about.

Which brings us to her decision to not run for the Senate.

After her historic gubernatorial campaign in 2018 that almost turned Georgia blue for the first time since 1996, Abrams was catapulted into the national spotlight. With David Perdue up for re-election in 2020, Senate Democratic leadership tried to recruit Abrams to run for the seat, even giving her the chance to deliver the Democratic response to Trump’s State of the Union. Ultimately, Abrams declined, for good reason.

For someone who has effectively achieved real change in her political tenure, the Senate would be a real turnoff due to its structural design to obstruct.

The Senate was designed to impede “radical change.” Its members were purposely given longer, six-year terms to suppress one election cycle from drastically changing its make-up. The filibuster, another Senate tradition, has made it nearly impossible to pass legislation without the 60 votes needed to invoke cloture.

Sure, a Senate seat would give Abrams a national platform, but that’s not what her career has been about. Although state politics is given significantly less attention, the potential for change through policy is much greater at a state level. For example, the debate on abortion isn’t being addressed at the national stage; it’s being addressed in states where conservative legislatures are passing “heartbeat bills” that effectively ban the practice.

Abrams is serious about making change; that’s why she wants to serve an executive role, whether that be president or governor. Although it ultimately hurts her party, I don’t blame her for not wanting to serve in America’s gridlocked body of obstruction.