A Democratic race for governor that could feel like Beyonce vs. Taylor Swift

If certain parties have their way, next year’s Democratic race for governor in Georgia could have the feel of a feud between Beyoncé and Taylor Swift.

Or so I have been informed. I have let my attention to music industry politics slide since Simon & Garfunkel broke up.

What I do know is that state Rep. Stacey Abrams is attempting a profound shift in how Democratic primaries are won in Georgia, which in turn could have broad implications for biracial dynamics within the party.

Abrams, an Atlanta lawmaker and former House minority leader, is one of two major candidates on the Democratic side of the 2018 contest. The other is state Rep. Stacey Evans of Smyrna. Both are lawyers. Both have admirable, by-the-bootstraps biographies.

Abrams is black. Evans is white.

In politics, you often lead with candidates who look like the voters you need – but don’t have. This is one reason why Republicans give prominent roles to African-Americans within their camp.

Likewise, Evans fits the pattern of recent Democratic attempts to return to power by appealing to white, independent voters – even though a strong majority of the party’s voters and activists are black. It is a general election strategy.

A video that accompanied the launch of Evans’ campaign, entitled “16 Homes,” told of Evans’ mobile-home upbringing in far north Georgia. It set many Democratic mouths to watering.

“She has a powerful message,” Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said of Evans early this month, via Twitter.

This is the thinking that Abrams wants to subvert, with a nationalized campaign that unites white Democratic progressives with African-American women. The latter are the most reliable demographic within the Democratic party, nationally and in Georgia.

“I’m not going to shy away from the fact that people of color have to be centered in my campaign, because I know I can talk to people of color and white people at the same time, and they’re not going to recoil from one another,” Abrams said Thursday on Hellbent, a feminist podcast.

“We have to stop recruiting the candidates that look like what we wish we had, and we have to recruit candidates that look like where we are,” she said.

Enter Beyoncé. Or at least a slice of her lyrics.

“Get in Formation” is the effort by three national, black-oriented political organizations that debuted earlier this month – with the goal of rallying black women behind Abrams. The Beyoncé reference was no accident. “Formation” was a hit from last year’s “Lemonade” album.

“It honors the power and solidarity of black women. It definitely resonated with black women, but also with all types of women,” explained Sharline Chiang, a spokeswoman for San Francisco-based Democracy in Color, one of the three groups behind the project.

Then there’s the convenient book contract that Abrams nailed down last week. Publication of “Minority Leader: How to Lead from the Outside and Make Real Change” is conveniently set for next April.

“It is aimed at emerging female leaders and leaders of color who must grapple with the implications of race, class, gender and otherness,” according to the press release.

Finally, we have last week’s endorsement of Abrams by U.S. Rep. John Lewis of Atlanta. Who is central to Abrams’ argument.

Jesse Jackson’s 1984 and 1988 runs for president attracted little support from African-American political leaders who saw his campaigns as merely symbolic. When Barack Obama, an Illinois senator, launched his presidential run in 2007, many African-American leaders similarly stuck with a proven friend, Hillary Clinton.

John Lewis was among them. That is, until Obama’s candidacy was recognized as not just symbolic, but entirely viable. Racial unity was demanded by Obama supporters, and Lewis switched.

One suspects that Abrams would like the 2018 primary for governor to follow a similar path. And Lewis is a good start.

But this is not a fait accompli. Power within the Democratic Party of Georgia is widely diffused. Former Gov. Roy Barnes, who is backing Evans, remains very popular among black voters.

And while she has gathered up an impressive national following who would like to see her as the first black woman governor in the nation, Abrams is not uniformly popular at home.

Her relationship with Mayor Reed is chilly at best, for instance. And Abram’s tenure as leader of the House Democratic caucus was rife with complaints about a management style that was aloof and often uncommunicative.

Last Monday, the House Democratic caucus — a body that is overwhelmingly African-American — chose Abram’s successor. Members rejected state Rep. Carolyn Hugley of Columbus, a 24-year veteran and, as minority whip, a member of Abrams’ leadership team.

Instead, the caucus settled on state Rep. Bob Trammell of Luthersville, who joined the Legislature in 2015. Trammell told me that his victory was in no way a backlash against Abrams.

“There’s no one in the General Assembly who has been more effective at making the argument for Democratic policies,” he said.

Yet in private, several Democrats tell me that an Abrams backlash is precisely what doomed Hugley — who is African-American. Trammell is white.

Sherry Boston is the DeKalb County district attorney, an Evans supporter, and African-American. Last week, Boston was Evans’ host at a gathering of the Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys.

“She got a great response,” Boston said. “A lot of people walked up to introduce themselves.” But the district attorney was careful to add that plenty of Abrams supporters were in the house, too.

Boston chose her words carefully when she explained her support for Evans, a personal friend. “I believe that Stacey Evans message of hope for all Georgians is one that can resonate with anyone in the state,” she said. “And I think that it’s important for each of us to make decisions on the basis of the candidate that we believe can best move Georgia forward.”

To counter Abrams, Evans will need more support from African-American leaders like Boston to offset the stampede of black voters that Abrams would clearly like to create.

But Abrams has her own challenge: To persuade cautious Democrats, thirsty for a statewide win, that a primary in which racial identity is heightened and the party is pushed significantly to the left will still have mathematical possibilities in November.

Reader Comments 0

118 comments
Steve Britt
Steve Britt

After the last eight years. I wouldn't vote for a Democrat for any office. The party of liars, cheats, and cartel worthy corruption. NO THANKS!

Joan Bearden
Joan Bearden

Never , no more Liberal Democrats as governor in the state of GEORGIA. Just look at the mess California and Detroit is in now. That's pathetic for sure.

David Freedom
David Freedom

Georgia had Better vote Republican, or they will be sorry for their children and children's children ‼️🇺🇸

Marsha Mcginnis
Marsha Mcginnis

Will not be voting for anyone that John Lewis is helping or beyonce....these two people support violence against police ....whites and play their stupied racist card.

Charles Parkerson
Charles Parkerson

Look at what Democrats have done in Detroit and now the communist state of California, I hope we see this and learn the lesson before we have to suffer like those people do.

Robert J. Simon
Robert J. Simon

We the people, are ( TIRED ) of evil people, making this a liberal everyone welcome establishment ! WE WANT TO KEEP OUR GUN'S, AND OUR GOD JESUS CHRIST, we do not want people in who don't share our values, and no one should get free healthcare,,, WHEN THEY NEVER PAID INTO THE GOVERNMENT ALL THEIR LIVES, LIKE I HAD TO OFF EVERY PAYCHECK !

xibeyipap
xibeyipap

our friend's half sister gets 64 an hour at home.. she has been without work for six months but last month her pay-check was 18932 just working on the laptop three hours per day, go here to this page  ●▬▬▬▬ஜhttp://www.online61.com ஜ▬▬▬▬●



Mark Cotner
Mark Cotner

Always race with the AJC. Stop seeing color please.

Claire Congro
Claire Congro

Free Free Free democrats take away from taxpayers to give to non working freeloaders to keep their vote. \U0001f631

John Graves
John Graves

We need a good Libertarian in this race!

Wilma Jones
Wilma Jones

Always changing rules to help their guys

Chris Collins
Chris Collins

This fat b**** bi*** doesnt have a chance of shining my shoes!

Chris Collins
Chris Collins

Why would anyone want blacks to take over? They act like savages!

Shawna Macy
Shawna Macy

Just say no to Democrats 🙌her first mistake theming a Beyoncé song 😂😂

Vivian Stephens Day
Vivian Stephens Day

After the way the democrats are acting, I will never vote for another democrats.

Lynne Dunnington Peavey
Lynne Dunnington Peavey

Either of these women would make an excellent choice. Let's hope they don't tear each other down.

lorup
lorup

our neighbor's ex wife makes 61 per hour on the internet, she has been out of work for two months and the previous month her income was 21389 only working on the internet 4 hours every day... look at this link  

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Joanna Lidia Mirage
Joanna Lidia Mirage

Another democrat with same old message... unite with me in hate, racism and violence... \U0001f634\U0001f634\U0001f634\U0001f634

Judy Canup
Judy Canup

Great, this is all we need, turn it into a race war, thank you

Jerry H Holloway
Jerry H Holloway

Other words she wants to change the rules in her favor tipicial liberal

Mark Carlisle
Mark Carlisle

We don't need a democrat in charge of anything

Steve Butler
Steve Butler

Show me a democrat run town city or state that's not broke. Look at California

Lynne Dunnington Peavey
Lynne Dunnington Peavey

Actually, yes, California pays huge amounts of Federal taxes and most of it goes to red states. They would be much better off completely breaking off from the USA and being their own country. They have the sixth largest economy in the world. They certainly don't need us.

Steve Butler
Steve Butler

And y'all can be a sanctuary state and we will deport illegals to California and build a wall on the east side

Jackalope
Jackalope

I really would like to ask...what does the Democratic Party offer white voters?  It seems as though it's intent on running as many off as possible.

Edwina McInnish
Edwina McInnish

Yeah, these liberals are always after changing the RULES to suit themselves. Just get out there and work on your campaign just the way everyone else has.

Penny Will
Penny Will

Changing the rules like Congression RepubliSCUMs have every chance the get. Not to mention all the gerrymandering they have to cheat at elections. Such a dishonest group of people that the only way they can win is to cheat, just like Handel cheated to win the 6th district.

Marjorie J. Gray
Marjorie J. Gray

  my friend's step sister makes 67 an hour on the internet.. she has been unemployed for three months but last month her profit was 15553 just working at home for 4 hours each day... check out

http://www.fl-y.com/3q2f

Michael Rogers
Michael Rogers

Can't win by the rules? Then do the liberal shell game and change the rules or just break them.

Penny Will
Penny Will

WTF are you talking about? Congressional RepuniSCUMS have changed the rules every chance they got, not to mention the gerrymandering they've done in order to win, because cheating is the only way Rscums can win, like Handel cheated to win the 6th district.

Lynne Dunnington Peavey
Lynne Dunnington Peavey

How about Heir Twitler trying to change the Constitution to have 51 senate votes to approve a law instead of 60? Don't you think that could be considered cheating?

Michael Rogers
Michael Rogers

Harry Reid is responsible for the nuclear option. Another liberal rule change \U0001f61c

Lynne Dunnington Peavey
Lynne Dunnington Peavey

Michael Rogers, that change was only in relation to one specific type of vote and it was because there were dozens of federal judges positions unfilled because Republicans refused to approve ANY judge nominated by Obama, and did not apply to Supreme Court judges. So it was very specific and limited and to remedy a shortage of judges which Republicans caused.

Michael Rogers
Michael Rogers

If you would stand back you would see it's both the republicans and democrats together that have put us in the dismissal state we are in now. None, that's none of these old guard politicians care about any of us. They think they know what is best for me and my family, you and your family and everyone else in the country.

Tony Downs
Tony Downs

Wonder how much money George Sorros will pump into this election?

Penny Will
Penny Will

I wonder how much the owner of Home Depot and Sheldon Adelson will cough up to support RepubliSCUMs who will do their bidding?

Joan Bearden
Joan Bearden

Never , no more Liberal Democrats as governor in the state of GEORGIA. Just look at the mess California is in now. That's pathetic for sure.

Elaine Daprano
Elaine Daprano

The "awful mess" of being the world's 6th largest economy. How sad for Cali!\U0001f604\U0001f604\U0001f604\U0001f604

Lynne Dunnington Peavey
Lynne Dunnington Peavey

Marilyn Sullivan Schreyer, California has the sixth largest economy in the world. They could easily break off from the USA and be their own country.

Shawna Macy
Shawna Macy

Elaine Daprano they are high tax state , don't fix dams , and are going bankrupt

Shawna Macy
Shawna Macy

Lynne Dunnington Peavey oh dear god that would be great !!

Shawna Macy
Shawna Macy

CarMichael SanDiego they begged president Trump for money to fix the dam remember ?!

Ken Wats
Ken Wats

Elaine Daprano Thats because of size not leadership.

Frank Cicalese
Frank Cicalese

Elaine Daprano Elaine, look again, the "Worlds 6th Largest Economy" is broke, and that's a DIRECT RESULT OF DEMOCRAT FISCAL POLICY. ... and yes, if you're going to attempt to defend the Democrats, perhaps you should do a little research before hand.

Thomas Meduri
Thomas Meduri

Lynne Dunnington Peavey no they can't California would not last 6 months . Would love to put it to the test . All California does is shuffle money around . They are bankrupt

CarMichael SanDiego
CarMichael SanDiego

Shawna Macy I am pretty sure that is supposed to be taken care of the Dept of Interior either way especially if it used to generate power..... Those are typically owned by the federal govt... They weren't begging the Govt for anything but telling them to do their damn job and repair it.... That's part of The Obama infrastructure plan that Republicans obstructed or has your memory failed you again?

Lynne Dunnington Peavey
Lynne Dunnington Peavey

DO YA'LL KNOW WHAT FEMA IS? FEMA exists to help with emergency management. All the states pay into it and yes, when there is an emergency-- like Katrina or flooding like some Midwest states are experiencing, the states are allowed to ask for FEMA money. They paid into it! That burst damn certainly qualifies as an emergency and tRump and Republicans have no right to withhold funds.

Shawna Macy
Shawna Macy

CarMichael SanDiego no!! Go back and look at the story ! Trump didn't have to give them EXTRA money for that ! They were supposed to fix with money they were previously given ! Republicans didn't obstruct anything., obama was too busy vacationing and worrying about taking care of illegal immigrants over the citizens of the USA!!