Republicans have a way bigger problem than their fear of Stacey Abrams

OPINION: The GOP knows that they can no longer compete in the public arena of ideas and policy -- so their best strategy is to attack Abrams

Politician Stacey Abrams speaks onstage during The Hollywood Reporter’s Power 100 Women in Entertainment at Milk Studios on December 11, 2019 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for The Hollywood Reporter)

Georgia Republicans have reportedly created a Political Action Committee to “stop” Stacey Abrams from running for governor in 2022. 

Excuse me while I laugh out loud for a moment.

Indeed it is comical that the “stop the steal” and ”save America” crowd are so fearful of a powerful Black woman, so much so that they’ve created an entire operation to thwart her political efforts.

Read More: GOP group ‘Stop Stacey’ takes aim at Abrams ahead of possible 2022 run

If you didn’t believe that the Republican Party circa 2021 was backward, shrinking, sexist, and yes racist, you now know. There is no one more qualified to be Georgia’s governor than Stacey Abrams. Aside from being a lawful citizen of Georgia, Abrams served as Georgia’s House minority leader in the state legislature; attended the prestigious Spelman College in Atlanta, and obtained her Juris Doctorate from Yale Law School. 

Voting right activist and politician Stacey Abrams speaks to the crowd during a November drive-in mobilization rally to get out the vote in Atlanta, Georgia.(Photo by Jessica McGowan/Getty Images)

I think it’s utterly ridiculous that Georgia Republicans think they can stop the Abrams train which has registered, educated and mobilized millions of voters not just in Georgia, but throughout key states like Michigan and Wisconsin that helped put Joe Biden in the White House. Her work has earned her a Nobel Peace Prize nomination along the lines of the work that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. did to ensure that Black people had voting rights guaranteed in the mid-1960s.

Read More: Trump insurrection won’t stop us from giving Stacey Abrams her flowers

Abrams narrowly lost her bid for governor in 2018 to now-Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp — though if you ask some, the governorship was stolen from her thanks to voter suppression. She has every right to run for governor of Georgia again if she so chooses.

The Kemp-Trump faction of the Georgia GOP still has not learned its lesson. There are exceptions: the Republican Georgia Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan, who has been openly vocal about the damage Trump has caused the Republican Party both nationally and in the U.S. Senate run-offs; and the Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (who Trump asked to find him 11,000 votes in an attempt to overturn the state’s election); and then there is the Georgia Election’s Commissioner, Gabriel Sterling, who has been clear about his disdain for Trump’s tactics and how it cost the Republicans two U.S. Senate seats in January

Raffensperger Trump thegrio.com
(Credit: AP Photo/Brynn Anderson and Getty Images)

Read More: Proposed bill to require two copies of photo ID to vote absentee in Georgia

The now Donald Trump-controlled Republican Party just doesn’t get it; their base is mostly white and in rural areas, and it’s shrinking and non-diverse. So, in reality, they have to do precisely what they are doing now: be pro-voter suppression, pro-conspiracy theorists, pro-rage, pro-false information, pro-sexism, pro-bigotry. That’s all they have as a party. They no longer believe in what used to be core values of the Republican Party, including morals, family and God. That ship sailed off badly with their cult-like embrace of Trump.

Read More: MLK would be ‘disappointed’ by today’s poverty and income inequality, son says

Then there is the issue of “deficits” which they helped explode over the past 20 years. And, last but not least, their total failure in holding Russia accountable for clear international lawlessness and election interference in 2016 and beyond. 

Just let it sink in for a moment. A Republican president (Trump) and a Republican Congress allowed Russian President Vladimir Putin and his thugs to interfere in the sovereign elections of the United States and put bounties on the heads of our troops. Those offenses went unanswered. Worse, these same Republican leaders let Trump call our troops “losers and suckers” (among a laundry list of affronts) with no consequence.

And the best that Republicans have is “Stop Stacey Abrams”? Clearly, she dwells deep in their heads. 24/7.

Former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams campaigns in October for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris at a Democratic canvass kickoff at Las Vegas’ Bruce Trent Park. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

But here is the thing: this is bigger than Stacey Abrams. The rebellious Republican army may be blinded by rage and violence, but Senator Mitch McConnell, Congressman Kevin McCarthy, and others have already surrendered. They know that they can no longer compete in the public arena of ideas and policy. They know that the old “tax cuts” and “socialism” arguments can only go so far. They know what we know: that the nation is changing.

The country is more female. More Black. More Brown. More of everything they are not. And the only way they can win — and that is fading for them in urban areas, suburban areas, and a majority of big states in America — is to stoke up anger, fear, hate, division, and violence.

Stacey Abrams has already proven herself to be a modern-day Rosa Parks and Shirley Chisholm. She is a trailblazer. She is a pioneer. She is bold, confident and damn smart too. The Kemp-Trump Thuglicans can set up all the PACs they want, but it won’t stop Abrams’s momentum or her focus for 2022.

As we’ve witnessed, Republicans can play dirty so it’s imperative that we have Stacey’s back. With any luck, come January 2022, she will be a candidate for governor of Georgia and to add to her already impressive resume she will also be a Nobel Prize winner. Republicans will need a lot of luck beating that political combination. But truthfully, luck is likely not going to be enough to stop the force that is Stacey Abrams.

Sophia Nelson thegrio.com

Sophia Nelson is a contributing editor to thegrio.com.

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