Six Reasons Why Stacey Abrams Is Georgia’s Next Governor

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Will a Black woman be the next governor to sit under the Georgia Gold Dome? Photo credits:©2012 Harold Michael Harvey

Six reason why Stacey Abrams is Georgia’s next governor?

At first blush the political pundits would suggest Abrams, the titular head of the Georgia Democratic Party, by virtue of her position as the former Minority Whip in the Georgia House of Representatives, does not have a chance in red state Georgia.

Contrary to that popular belief, Abrams has the best chance of winning a statewide race in Georgia of any Democrat who has run for a non judicial constitutional office in the state in the last 18 years.

Why?

The answer is as clear as the nose on your face.

First, Abrams is simply the best candidate in the race. But being the best candidate does not win elections. We need look no further than Hilary Clinton’s loss in the 2016 presidential election to prove this postulation.

However, being the best does help, and on the pocket book issues of the day, Abrams stands head and shoulders above Brian Kemp, her Republican opponent in the Georgia Governor’s race.

Secondly, Georgia is a diverse state. Nearly half of its population, about 45 percent, is comprised of people of color (Blacks, Asians, Latinos and Arabs) who tend to find the Republican message repugnant to their core beliefs.

While 54 percent of the population is white, and generally held to be the strength of the Republican Party in Georgia and supportive of Republican policies on immigration, health care, and law and order.

Thirdly, women, particularly Black women are on a mission to elect a woman governor. Women are united in this race solidly behind Abrams. She holds a 12 percent lead over Kemp with women voters according to a poll conducted by Survey USA for WXIA-TV, and for good reasons. Abrams has promised to expand medicaid in Georgia, something the previous governor, Nathan Deal, refused to do and something that Kemp, Abram’s opponent in November has pledged not to do. Women understand the importance of medical care for their needs as women and for the health benefits it gives to their children.

Fourth, while Abrams touts her plans to expand medicaid in Georgia, Kemp is pushing national Republican initiatives like anti-immigration policies and anti gun control measures.

The recently completed Republican Primary run-off election between Kemp and Casey Cagle, featured the campaigns of the dueling shot guns. Both Kemp and Cagle ran advertisements displaying their shot guns. A Cagle ad depicted a voter chasing Kemp off his front porch with his shot gun locked and presumably loaded.

While Kemp’s ad depicted Kemp locking his loaded shot gun as he drills a prospective suitor of one of his daughters over Kemp’s campaign platform. Then, there is the Kemp commercial where Kemp proclaimed his ownership of guns and his resolve that no one “is going to take” his guns away.

In a recent poll conducted by Survey USA for WXIA-TV in the Atlanta market, Kemp has a 15 percent advantage over Abrams with the male vote. Perhaps because of his locked and loaded gun commercials which resonate with the white male population.

As mentioned above, this same survey has Abrams up by 12 percentage points with women voters. Her gender can account for some of this support, but it can not be understated that Abrams has spent her time discussing the bread and butter issues that cross the minds of Georgia families every single day the sun rises.

Expanding her lead among women voters would be of benefit to Abrams’ campaign. She should get help in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District where Lucy McBath is the Democratic nominee against Congresswoman Karen Handel. The sixth district is in the Atlanta doughnut suburbs which includes portions of Cobb, Dekalb and Fulton counties.

McBath is an anti-gun advocate whose son Jordan Davis was murdered in the famous “Loud Music” case in Jacksonville, Florida in 2012. She has created a huge following among suburban women who are fed up with the easy access of guns and with gun violence in the state.

Provided the Democratic Party properly funds her campaign, McBath has the potential to increase Abram’s support among women in general and Independent white women voters in particular.

Five, Abrams is unapologetic that she is a liberal in the progressive sense. While Kemp is a gun advocate, Abrams says she will enact gun control legislation and ban newly enacted legislation that permits guns on college campuses.

Sixth, and perhaps the key to Abrams’s victory in November is her pledge to expand opportunities in rural Georgia. This has been talked about for the last 40 years, but no governor has tackled the problem. Abrams wants to expand the industry and commerce in areas other than the five traditional urban centers of Atlanta, Columbus, Macon, Augusta and Savannah.

The reason this is the key component of her victory is because, the Survey USA Polls show that Kemp has a 5 to 3 percentage point lead over Abrams among rural Georgians. Although Abrams currently trails in this demographic, one would assume that a Black woman Democrat running a race in South Georgia would probably only pick up one vote to every five for a white Republican opponent. To be this close in rural Georgia four months out from the election, says that Abrams’ bread and butter message is resonating with voters in this area. A split vote among rural Georgians and Abrams is the next Governor, Black girl magic and all.

Harold Michael Harvey is an American novelist and essayist. He is a Contributor at The Hill, SCLC National Magazine, Southern Changes Magazine and Black College Nines. He can be contacted at hmharvey@haroldmichaelharvey.com

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