The Right Resistance: Should the rudderless GOP emulate Stacey Abrams on how to win?
Of the multitude of curious things emerging from the impossible to replicate 2020 election,
perhaps none was stranger or more unanticipated than the rise of Georgia’s Stacey Abrams.
Within the span of two years, Abrams went from a little known losing gubernatorial candidate who primarily achieved notoriety for not conceding an election (why is she seen as “principled” for playing a sore loser while Donald Trump was depicted as a loutish “denier” for doing a very similar thing?) to the person Democrats and the media (and a lot of Republicans, too) credit for leading a movement that helped put bumbling dufus Joe Biden in the White House.
Abrams has become the face of Democrat victory in 2020 -- and 2021 (the Georgia U.S. Senate runoff fiasco on January 5). Now she’s taking advantage of her bound-to-be temporary glory, telling everyone who will listen how she pulled it off. In an op-ed titled, “How to Turn Your Red State Blue,” Abrams and Lauren Groh-Wargo wrote at The New York Times last week:
“We met and became political partners a decade ago, uniting in a bid to stave off Democratic obsolescence and rebuild a party that would increase the clout of regular, struggling Georgians. Our mission was clear: organize people, help realize gains in their lives, win local races to build statewide competitiveness and hold power accountable…
“The steps toward victory are straightforward: understand your weaknesses, organize with your allies, shore up your political infrastructure and focus on the long game. Georgia’s transformation is worth celebrating, and how it came to be is a long and complicated story, which required more than simply energizing a new coterie of voters. What Georgia Democrats and progressives accomplished here — and what is happening in Arizona and North Carolina — can be exported to the rest of the Sun Belt and the Midwest, but only if we understand how we got here.”
For those wondering who the heck Lauren Groh-Wargo is, she was Abrams’ 2018 campaign manager. In their lengthy NYT piece, the two smarter-than-thou (at least according to the media) Democrats divided their advice into sections titled, “Understand why you’re losing; Take action; Organizing is the soul of this work; Breathe life into the state party; Play the long game; Surround yourself with smart people; One more time: Organizing is the soul.”
They forgot one subheading: “Lie through your teeth!” Lie in the morning. Lie in the evening. Lie at suppertime. Lie when you do a potty trip at 3 a.m. Lie, lie. Lie! And then lie some more! Lie about voter suppression. Lie about COVID response and treatments. Lie about racism. There, that just about sums it up for Abrams and the Democrats!
In the course of their writing, Abrams (she formed Fair Fight Action PAC) and Groh-Wargo don’t offer anything earth-shattering or particularly new. Their tale of supposedly tipping Georgia blue isn’t one where two women discovered each other as political soulmates and then produced a miracle by working harder, longer and smarter than everyone else.
In fact, there’s an even better argument that Republicans did it to themselves in Georgia and other places, a form of political suicide -- or more aptly, the fast burn of self-immolation by stubbornness and pig-headedness. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the first time and probably won’t be the last it happens if the party leadership doesn’t drastically reorient itself.
Granted I don’t know a great deal about the individual circumstances of The Peach State, yet I’ve witnessed the practical disintegration of state Republican parties in two places -- California and here in Virginia. Pundits and pointy-headed idiots with long titles after their names usually pin the blame on a certain person (um, Trump?) or faction within the GOP for a loss or a gradual erosion of numbers over the course of years. Yet it’s always the same. The conditions are:
The GOP is said to be too conservative. Every establishmentarian’s favorite excuse, party catastrophes are attributed to “radicals” -- translation: Bible-thumping social conservatives -- who dare speak out about their gun rights, pro-life or pro-family or pro-traditional values in government views. The elites believe such audacity opens the door wide for the opportunistic media to label Republicans as “intolerant” and “racist” and “old fashioned” and “backwards.” Barack Obama had a different moniker for this type -- “bitter clingers to guns and religion.”
Hillary Clinton called them “deplorables.” You know, half of Donald Trump’s supporters -- i.e. the real conservative Republican base -- is made up of irredeemable racists, sexists, xenophobes, homophobes, what have you. Think of your grandparents. They were “deplorables” and they didn’t even know it! They fought wars and cherished the flag and told you to earn your way without the government. Ignorant rubes, all of them!
Republicans fail to unify because of stupidity. In 2016 and again in 2020, the GOP divided between those who loved Donald Trump and those who hated him. No real middle ground here, you’re either a #NeverTrumper or a Trump backer who would crawl over broken glass to vote for him. (And if you’re in the sleazy Lincoln Project, you got rich!)
Somewhere along the line the GOP started losing what the media labeled the “suburban white vote,” particularly the proverbial “soccer moms” who balance their daily duties by working full-time outside the home and then return to make PB n ’J sandwiches and drive their kids to soccer practice and ballet class. These women didn’t like Trump’s “rhetoric” and favored government programs that they naively believed “helped families like theirs.” They participate in social media groups that despised Trump. They were told they couldn’t vote like their husbands…just because men are knuckle dragging beasts who are two steps down the evolution ladder.
These “strong, independent women” thought it was great that Kamala Harris was on the ballot. They drank the Democrat Kool-Aid by the gallon. Stacey Abrams got their email addresses and cell phone numbers and commanded the party cogs to contact them a thousand times a day. Pretty easy to figure.
Republicans fall on their swords rather than use them against Democrats. Democrats didn’t earn a reputation as the “Evil Party” for nothing. They play dirty. They never give up. They support each other no matter what. With people like Abrams as their mentors, they say anything to make their opponents look awful. They brainwash the gullible and uninformed.
Here in Virginia in 2017, now Gov. Ralph “Klan hood” Northam waged a campaign portraying the gentlemanly establishmentarian Ed Gillespie as a heinous, Confederate Flag waving racist. Republicans refused to crawl into the mosh pit and fight the Democrats on their own terms. Gillespie lost to Northam by nine points, and then retired from politics.
Conservatives nominated the impeccably principled Ken Cuccinelli in 2013. The establishment favorite refused to endorse him. Cuccinelli narrowly lost a very winnable race to carpetbagger jacka-- Terry McAuliffe.
No doubt there are Democrats in Virginia who think, like Abrams, that they turned a red state blue. But it didn’t have to be that way. And Stacey Abrams ain’t no genius. She’s a ruthless shyster who told outlandish fibs and became a media darling. The old crows on “The View” loved her. Enough said. Should the GOP take note?