The pitting of liberal black female Democrat Stacey Abrams against conservative white male Republican Brian Kemp for the governorship of Georgia has provided the MiracleGro needed for the full bloom of political punditry within the ranks of the political novelists.
Witness the recent New York Times article by Kevin Sack, a senior writer based in Atlanta, and Alan Blinder, also assigned to the Atlanta bureau of the establishment mainstream media behemoth. Their almost balanced piece (Ms. Abrams is “brainy”, Mr. Kemp is “drawling”) calls the upcoming November election a “defining moment” for Georgia.
The supposition is that the increased non-white participation in registered voters, from 27 percent to 46 percent since 1998 or so, portends a seismic shift in Georgia’s political consciousness.
There’s also a sense among some past and current statewide office holders, they write, that today’s political climate has rendered “the middle” extinct as “the fringe” morphs into the new norm since “voters have been freer to side with candidates on the basis of cultural affinity” thanks to a robust Georgia economy.
Maybe so, maybe not.
But the last three election cycles don’t seem to corroborate these conclusions. In each of the 2012, 2014, and 2016 election cycles the Democrat leading the ticket struggled to reach 45 percent of the vote. The Democrats’ percentage diminished moving down the ticket. And this happened even though the non-white registration had increased dramatically.
While Georgia is reliably predictable, political punditry requires the assertion that the Georgia GOP will fall. While unlikely, it can happen.
George Soros, the hard left billionaire, recently made a million dollars available to the Georgia Democrats. And perhaps Abrams will be able to motivate more voters to buy into her leftist message than Barak Obama did in 2012, when Mitt Romney bested him in Georgia by nearly eight percentage points, or Hillary Clinton did when she barely garnered 46 percent in 2016.
It is the message, not ethnicity, that keeps the Democrats in the 45 to 46 percent column. Like the national Democrats, theirs is a message of division, class envy (as epitomized in their tax and spend policies), identity politics, and intolerance.
The Georgia voter is socially and fiscally conservative, maybe with a streak of libertarianism as to the former, values honesty, and rejects the notion of “politics over policy.”
Selling a platform where these qualities are absent by taking a page out of the DNC campaign strategy playbook is no more effective to getting to 50 percent plus one for Abrams than calling Georgians with whom you disagree “domestic terrorists”.
Ms. Abrams, you see, is of the opinion that the granite carving on Stone Mountain is a monument honoring “domestic terrorism” (maybe a quick Googling of the term “domestic terrorism” would help her understand her misuse, or misunderstanding, of the term). Accordingly, only domestic terrorists would appreciate the work. Therefore, those Georgians who appreciate the historical landmark are domestic terrorists.
Déjà vu: “Basket of deplorables”.
A year ago Abrams proclaimed the carving a “blight on our state and should be removed.” Just recently she tried to walk that back by denying she ever said “sandblast” it away. While it’s unclear if she ever advocated sandblasting it away, she’s mincing words; however it’s done, she wants it removed.
Abrams should be honest and own up to her conviction.
Brace for a cascade of ad hominem attacks on those who oppose Abrams. The left is already setting up the narrative that if she loses in November, it is proof positive that Georgians are Confederacy-clinging racists and sexists.
And such a suggestion is, well, deplorable.
Gary Wisenbaker (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a corporate communications and political consultant at Blackstone, LLC.