By Kendyl Brower
Failure often causes one to lose all sense of morale, but not for Stacey Abrams. When Abrams lost the 2018 gubernatorial election (election for governor) in Georgia by less than 55,000 votes amid reports of voter suppression, hope for democracy did not wither. Rather, the election served as a turning point for Georgia: Democrat voices were finally heard thanks to Abrams and her dedication towards voter participation. After her loss, Abrams quickly found a new goal of saving American democracy; she devoted her time on the front lines of the 2020 election in order to ensure all eligible voters were heard. Hence, the 2020 presidential election, where Georgia turned blue for the first time since 1992. Abrams is a force to be reckoned with, a woman who played an imperative role in the election, and an exemplary role model of democratic values.
Abrams has an impressive resume: she was the first woman to lead in the Georgia General Assembly and the first African American to lead in the House of Representatives in Georgia. During her time as the House Minority leader, Abrams introduced a raise for Georgia’s minimum wage, blocked legislation that attempted to roll back reproductive rights, and introduced the Expand Medicaid Now Act in 2016. She advocates for affordable housing, the decriminalization of marijuana, the elimination of cash bails, and above all, democracy and voter participation. Her widespread praise and endorsements from powerful figures such as Barack Obama influenced Abrams to run for governor in 2018.
Throughout her political career, she sought to regain Democratic power in Georgia by encouraging the immense number of unengaged voters. Diligently, she worked to educate, register, and combat Georgia Governor Brian Kemp’s purges of voters. During Kemp’s time in office, he cancelled voter registrations for over a million residents due to inactivity. Consequently, Abrams ultimately lost the 2018 gubernatorial election that was clouded with voter suppression. Her loss inspired Abrams to combat the disenfranchisement that Kemp initiated, and work to re-register voters. She made significant changes in voter participation, doubling youth participation and tripling Latino, Asian-American, and Pacific Islader turnout in Georgia. She then launched two organizations, Fair Fight and the New Georgia Project, registering over 800,000 new voters in the wake of the 2020 election.
Abrams urged voters in Georgia and across the nation to vote and be heard in this year’s presidential election. Georgia finally flipped blue for the first time in 3 decades– but work is not yet done. Since no candidates in either of the senate races reached 50 percent, runoff elections will occur on January 5th. If Democrats win both seats, the senate will be balanced 50-50. Abrams may play a pivotal role in this outcome of this election, since she holds great democratic influence and willpower in Georgia.
Whatever the outcome of the runoffs is, the truth remains that Stacey Abrams is a powerful figure who values democracy above all else. Her persistence and dedication to combat voter suppression majorly impacted the election, and her story serves as an outlet for hope and perseverance.