While Dems have been counting on black women to be its backbone in places like Alabama, where they voted for Doug Jones by 98%, they never truly supported them as leaders argues Brittney Cooper. Now, black women like Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacy Abrams and congressional candidates Ayanna Pressley in Mass. and Jahana Hayes in Conn. are reshaping the party’s strategy. This is because they are seasoned political strategists and are training a new generation of political operatives.
- Have Democrats relied on black women but neglected to give them leadership positions?
- Were black women the largest influence in Doug Jones’ defeat of Roy Moore in Alabama?
- Will Stacy Abrams win in Georgia next week?
For too long, the Democratic Party has been comfortable with black women only running conventions or registering voters — doing background work. The party expects black women to be its backbone, as when 98 percent of black female voters in Alabama cast their ballots for Doug Jones in the special Senate election last year. But it has never truly supported them as leaders.
Black women are demanding more. No longer willing to only build the party, they are now leading it, pushing the party farther left. In doing so, they’re also creating a new vision for what progressive politics should be and how to get there.
Stacey Abrams, running for governor of Georgia, along with political strategists like Jessica Byrd of Three Point Strategies, Kayla Reed of the Electoral Justice Project and Stefanie Brown-James of Collective Pac, are the architects of a new theory of the Democratic coalition. This theory looks to attract young voters and voters of color, who often want more progressive social and economic policies. And it rejects the Clinton-era push for centrist voters with watered-down policy positions.
Ms. Abrams (whom, full disclosure, I gave a modest donation) is unique in a field of progressive Black women — which includes the congressional candidates Ayanna Pressley in Massachusetts and Jahana Hayes in Connecticut — because she is also respected as a political strategist. She, Ms. Byrd and Ms. Brown-James aim to challenge liberal orthodoxy about how to win.
Ms. Abrams and her team, including her deputy campaign manager, Ms. Byrd, have spent a majority of campaign funds on canvassing and get-out-the-vote efforts. A heavy field strategy may seem counterintuitive in this digital era, but the chance to look someone in the eyes and connect might just be the thing to slice through “fake news” that exposes voters to so many conflicting messages that they often don’t know what to believe.
Read More: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/01/opinion/stacey-abrams-governor-georgia.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fopinion&action=click&contentCollection=opinion®ion=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=1&pgtype=sectionfront