Stacey Abrams actually answers questions, unlike many politicians who move their mouths, make noise and say little. So when asked if she wants to be Joe Biden’s vice presidential running mate, the former candidate for Georgia governor practically campaigns for the job.
“My mix of private sector, public sector and nonprofit leadership prepares me to be able and capable of serving in that role,” Abrams told Yahoo Finance on April 15. “I possess the intellectual capacity and the intellectual curiosity to be an effective leader. I would be a strong leader and more than capable of doing this job.”
Abrams was a Georgia state assembly member who garnered national attention in 2018 when she nearly defeated Republican Brian Kemp in the state governor’s race. That would have made her the first black governor in the nation. The near upset in a traditionally red state made Abrams a star in the Democratic party, and she’s now considered a long-shot candidate to be Joe Biden’s running mate against President Trump in the 2020 election, after more prominent Dems such as Senators Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar or Elizabeth Warren. Biden has said his running mate will be a woman.
Abrams is 46, which could help the 77-year-old Biden appeal to younger voters. She has struggled with high debt loads and been open about it, generating a kind of everywoman appeal. Part of the problem was family medical debt, something millions of Americans can relate to.
Last year, Abrams founded the Southern Economic Advancement Project, a nonprofit focusing on economic development in vulnerable communities in the south. She’s also been a voting rights advocate campaigning against efforts to purge voter rolls and suppress turnout in minority districts.
Since Abrams has never held federal office or a national position, some critics say she’s not yet ready for the pressures of the White House. “That is the wrong metric to use,” she says. “I’ve developed an 18-state network that has worked with local, state and federal leaders to build the strongest voter protection apparatus this country has seen. I believe those are transferable skills.”
Abrams characterizes herself as a “pragmatic progressive” who supports deep change but realizes it has to be gradual for voters to accept it. On health care, for instance, she’s willing to leave private insurance in place and find ways to expand coverage, rather than pursuing a Bernie Sanders-style program for Medicare that would put the government in charge of everything.
“One of the reasons I’m so excited about Joe Biden,” she says, “is he has always believed in moving forward, but he understands when there are moments you have to pause and let people can catch up. We have to understand we have 50 states in very different places.”
Rick Newman is the author of four books, including “Rebounders: How Winners Pivot from Setback to Success.” Follow him on Twitter: @rickjnewman. Confidential tip line: firstname.lastname@example.org. Encrypted communication available. Click here to get Rick’s stories by email.