We Should All Thank Stacey Abrams

Just to preface this all, I’m running under the assumption that whoever is reading this is at least remotely happy about the 2020 election results. If not, this may be less relevant. 

 

This past week has been chaotic, to say the least. We waited numerous long and stressful days waiting for election results, as we watched the states with a reasonably sizable lead from Trump slowly shift their way to Biden. No, this is not because of the “voter fraud” you’re hearing about from anonymous individuals on Fox News; this is because of Black voters. Those states switched to blue after counting the large number of mail-in ballots they received, which largely were votes for Biden. A key component to this though, are the major cities where we saw this happen. Cities like Atlanta, Detroit, and Philadelphia were vital players in turning their states blue, and the key players within these cities were Black voters. 

 

Now let’s talk about Stacey Abrams. Her name is being thrown around a lot this past week, but let’s dive a little deeper. Back in 2018, Abrams ran for Governor in Georgia against Georgia’s Secretary of State, Brian Kemp. During Kemp’s time in office, he reportedly canceled voter registration for over a million residents in the state of Georgia due to inactivity and error. Abrams saw this as a significant issue. Kemp then won the race for governor, a race discussed nationwide in 2018, not just in its own state. In response to the loss, Abrams planned to counter this by working to register people to vote. In the past two years, Abrams and her work has registered over 800,000 new voters in Georgia and is arguably the reason for Biden’s win in the state today. 

 

Now let’s talk about the Electoral College. The Electoral College, still today, silences Black voters. I’m not referring here to the ways in which this system’s creation is intertwined with the 3/5ths Compromise and historic southern slave power, but rather, it’s racial implications today. States like Georgia, North Carolina, Louisiana, South Carolina, Alabama, and Mississippi all have populations that are anywhere between 20%-35% made up of African Americans. These states’ electoral votes are also most often given to the Republican candidate in a presidential election. It is also known that especially in the last few elections, the Democratic candidate has won the Black vote by a landslide. 

 

In connecting these two facts, we see that in many states with the highest percentage of Black residents, their blue votes are “not counted” in terms of a presidential election, as a majority of these states’ other voters vote red. Despite these states being places where the percentage of Black residents are largest and where these Black residents most often vote blue, we don’t see this reflected through our current system. Just due to the Electoral College’s nature, it arguably “silences” voters. Still, in red southern states, where many Black voters reside, it’s almost as if they don’t get to decide on their president. All those votes are silenced. 

 

I think that this is arguably why Georgia flipping is so exciting. Finally, people in this southern state get to feel like their vote counted. More specifically, Black Georgia voters get to feel like their vote counted. Stacey Abrams helped an entire group of people who so often aren’t heard at all, be heard. We should all thank Stacey Abrams.