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How Stacey Abrams and her group of devotees turn Georgia green



But something changed in 2018. Abrams’ defeat in the Georgia gubernatorial election made it clear to her and other liberals in the state that the demographic shift in the states the suburbs have reached their zenith. Their argument for the national party was simple: Democrats could win more races by expanding their coalition to include dissatisfied colored voters, as opposed to continuing. customs focused on persuading white, moderate, undecided voters.

Abrams has completed the strategy: Her campaign and her allies registered more than 200,000 new voters as they prepare for the 2018 election. When the Fair Fight and Project New Georgia, two organizations were formed by Abrams. established, tried again this year, they have quadrupled the proceeds, registering more than 800,000 new voters.

The new coalition of first-time voters, many young and black, put Joe Biden at the top of the state with more than 7,000 votes on Saturday. The expected victory in Georgia would bring his Electoral College Total to more than 300 votes.

Abrams̵

7; current coalition expansion strategy not only proves success in Georgia, but also has the potential to come up with a blueprint on how Democrats can win state elections. other red. That’s a defining story of the 2020 election and most likely many more cycles to come.

“When you are trying to not only exploit demographic changes but also take advantage of low-trending voters, you cannot simply hope that they will hear the message. You have to see them as convincing voters, ”Abrams told POLITICO just before Election Day. “The only message is not trying to convince them to share the values ​​of the Democrats. Your message is to convince them that voting can really change. ”

Abrams began his journey in 2013 when he founded Project New Georgia while serving in the Georgia House of Representatives. The initiative aims to reach young and minority voters, two groups that are often excluded from the political process, but represent the best effort in transferring status to Democrats. .

Democrats’ push to topple Georgia continued for years to come – in 2014, a pair of Democratic politicians, Jason Carter and Michelle Nunn, took turns offering failed bids. for governor and Senate. Then, in a late 2019 memorandum for Democratic strategists and presidential candidates, Abrams formalized his argument. The key to winning in Georgia, she writes, is attracting new voters, establishing strongholds in the demographically changing suburbs of Georgia and protecting voters’ access to polls.

“Any[thing] Less than a full investment in Georgia would result in strategic negligence, ”she wrote.

Now that Georgia is ready for foreign elections in January under Senate control, the infrastructure outlined by this group has proven invaluable. Although it is far from guaranteed that even a Democrat wins the Senate – voting elections often see lower turnout among Democrats. – Both candidates, Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, praised Abrams for her work in attracting voters. They realized that without her strategy their election success might not have been possible.

Abrams’ circle people hope to expand it across the South.

Georgia’s rapidly changing demographics in the Atlanta suburbs have made it closer to turning the state blue a reality. The enthusiasm of Black, Latino and Asian-American voters, coupled with a greater proportion of white voters leaning toward Democrats, forged a strong coalition. And with anti-Trump sentiment soaring across the country, 2020 is the prime opportunity to turn disappointment into electoral success.

“We’ve been building for this moment for a while,” Georgia Democratic Party Chairman Nikema Williams, who was elected to succeed the late John Lewis in Congress on Tuesday. “And then this year is the perfect opportunity,” she said, with the racist protests, the Covid-19 pandemic and the excitement of Biden and Kamala Harris’ voter motivations.

Success also stems from one of the most important, consistent voting blocs in Georgia and in the nation: Black women. The polls found that 91 percent of Black women voted for Biden. They were driven by disdain for Trump and the representation they saw in Harris, a woman with both Jamaican and Indian heritage, at the top of the Democratic ticket.

However, Abrams’ strategy has been rejected by the founding party. Jessica Byrd, a political strategist and chief organizer of the Black Life Movement, helped direct Abrams’ 2018 campaign as deputy campaign director. She said the campaign group warned in 2018 that their plan would only be successful if the voters they needed most – mostly first-time, young and black – were not deprived of their powers.

But the party is not willing to provide the voter protection resources the campaign is looking for. Byrd reiterated that Democrats described Abrams’ campaigning strategy as “crazy.”

Byrd said that Biden’s success this year – including in the National Democratic Party’s massive effort to combat voter oppression, by providing voters with information on how to request a provisional vote and filing a lawsuit against Republicans – validated Abrams’ strategy. Abrams lacked that muscle in 2018.

“People mostly ignored that election fraud would prevent her from losing,” explained Byrd, citing Secretary of State Brian Kemp then removing more than 100,000 voters from already-elected elections. attract more claims about voter repression and contribute to Abrams’ razor loss. “People imagine it’s because she’s a Black woman, because she’s too progressive, because she doesn’t have enough money. No, it’s not like that. ”

Two years later, the message Abrams and the others were pushing was broken. In the final weeks leading up to Election Day, Biden, Harris and their campaign’s top rep, Barack Obama, all made trips to Georgia, a sign of their growing confidence. that they could eventually win the state.

“We’ve been drastic since 2018. We’ve got record numbers here. Instead of hoping that the national campaigns will see these numbers, we have been aggressive and drastic about sharing data but also chasing investment, ”Abrams said, citing the record increase on the turnout of black, Latino and Asian Americans.

“We’ve been constantly working to not only see Georgia as a state to invest in, but we can really show the utility of being here.”

Ryan Lizza contributed to this report.


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