Opinion | The promise of Stacey Abrams in Georgia has limits

Stacy Abrams turned the center of the political universe Wednesday when she announce Her second bid for governor of Georgia. She will almost certainly be the Democratic nominee in a campaign that could prove historic — a victory that would make Abrams the first black woman in the country to be elected governor and reaffirm Georgia’s slide to the left after it turned blue in 2020.

Equally important will be the race for the US Senate, which Abrams’ efforts helped secure. Senator Raphael Warnock will seek re-election for the seat he won in the special election in January. The contest could decide the balance of the Senate in 2023.

Georgia will be a major focus next year.

Both races confirm that Georgia will be a major focus next year. But Abrams’ latest bid for governor opens up another possibility that has seemed unimaginable throughout much of the state’s history: Come Election Day, all four of these races’ leading party candidates could be black.

The picture is clear on the democratic side. Warnock and Abrams will be their party’s nominees. The Senate Republican primary is equally straightforward, with former NFL star Herschel Walker holding an award leadership leadership In opinion polls with conservative voters. And in the governor’s race, Vernon Jones is challenging the incumbent Republican president, Brian Kemp, to the primaries, though Jones’ chances of success are uncertain.

Taken together, these four nominations exemplify the charged nature of our current race politics, and their campaigns imagine opposing visions of blacks in American life.

Walker from announce His August career, is well known in the state for his Heisman Award-winning seasons with the University of Georgia. Republican voters seem unfazed by what would be a heavy burden in another era. Walker bragged about playing games Russian roulette, has struggled with it for a long time dissociative identity disorder, formerly known as Multiple Personality Disorder. Notably, he has a history of abuse allegations, including from his ex-wife, Claire Grossman, who claimed in 2008 that Walker He held a gun to her temple, “He said it would blow my mind. ” During 2008 interview with CNNWalker said he could not remember the incident, but did not deny it.

For Republican voters “Full and comprehensive endorsementFrom former President Donald Trump it seems to have covered any concerns. The establishment of the Republican Party has also emerged; Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Republican-Kentucky. named Walker “The only one who can unite the party, defeat Senator Warnock, and help us take back the Senate.”

Jones, a former far-right state representative and DeKalb County executive, is vying for Trump’s endorsement in the Republican primary for governor. After refusing to annul the results of the legal 2020 presidential election in his state, Kemp became so In Trump’s goal, which bodes well for Jones.

If conservative calls foreshadowing a post-race society have not yet begun, they will soon.

must former Senator David Perdue, a Trump supporter, enters the Republican raceLikely to be Trump’s nominee. But for now, Jones is a Favorite choice For the far-right rule, Kemp’s MAGA rule boils over.

Four prominent disputed seats. Three (maybe four) black candidates to fill in. If conservative calls foreshadowing a post-race society have not yet begun, they will soon. They will declare that America has redeemed its sins: “The primaries in Georgia prove that racism is just a free fantasy!” Or they will argue that the candidates’ shared heritage negates race as a factor in the competition altogether. Like Debbie Dooley, chairperson of the Atlanta Tea Party, He was quoted as saying: Four black candidates force voters to choose on the basis of “competing ideologies,” not race.

Thank God for all this Progress. And in Georgia no less, undesirable places. A country that was placed in the long shadow of Jim Crow and struggled in the modern struggle for civil rights. in March , sign kemp One of the nation’s most restrictive voting rights bills into law. in between its provisions It was the imminent abolition of ballot boxes, strict identity requirements and restrictions on the window reserved for requesting absentee ballots, all of which would disproportionately affect black voters.

Even symbolically, the Georgia races do not offer hope for progress in our divisive climate. The pool of viable black candidates is a product of our hyper-racist times, not a first step behind it.

On the Republican side, Walker and Jones are candidates born out of the party’s current need. Both trade in the same racist and anti-democratic musings as their white colleagues. Walker, in a September 2020 tweet, described supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement as “Marxists want to destroy America …in disguise they care about black people and social justice.” Jones Protesters called BLM in Atlanta “A group of thugs affiliated with Antifa… [who] Don’t care about black lives.” Bernard Kerik, Jones campaign advisor, proudly named his candidateBlack Donald Trump. Kerik is a former commissioner of the New York City Police Department Trump pardoned him After he was sentenced to four years in prison after pleading guilty to criminal charges including tax fraud and lying to White House officials. Both Walker And Jones All in Trump’s unfounded allegations of fraud in the 2020 elections, particularly in Georgia and the constraints on voters that resulted from them.

Ethnicity is the basis of the attractiveness of both men. For moderate Republicans, uneasy with years of racial hostility to the far right, black Republican nominations could be a welcome reassurance. Otherwise why was Walker Featured During the 2020 Republican National Convention To declare that he “has seen racism up close… It’s not Donald Trump.”

Likewise, for Warnock and Abrams, race and its effects are the driving forces for their campaigns. They position themselves as defenders of racial justice. Abrams has spent years fighting voter suppression tactics in Georgia, including Kemp’s latest bill, which Testified before Congress, “components… that are actually racist.” Warnock also met with Republicans on the battlefield, describing voter suppression tactics.Jim Crow in new clothesand present The Electoral Vandalism Prevention Act of 2021 to combat its worst effects.

Taken together, these four candidates embody the state of our ethnic politics: warring factions, distrust and denial. They represent strikingly different visions of the role of black citizens in our republic. Their nominations, even symbolically, cannot inspire much hope.

Hope should come from voters in Georgia instead.

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