My plea is earnest, although my solutions are in jest – mostly.
I’ve personally picked a candidate for the May 2018 Gubernatorial primary. It was an easy no brainer because unlike most voters, I had an opportunity to work with both women in their official capacity. I get to see how they lead teams, how they evaluate policies, and how they were received by the entire legislature. However, the rest of Georgia Democrats will be forced to make an important decision based on rhetoric from the campaigns, talking heads, and personal opinions that may not be based in any relevant policy issues.
Both Democrat candidates, Stacey Evans and Stacey Abrams, when compared to the Republican candidates, they are virtually the same. I’m afraid campaign strategy and goal to win will be the cause of another Democratic loss in November. I have not asked, but I certainly wonder if these two women have sat down and discussed one of the two of them running for Lt. Governor? If they have, I wonder if either woman put serious thought into it.
Think of the power these two lawyer, lawmakers, with their vast experiences running together on one ticket and taking on the State. In addition to the swell of money that would come from around the country, the two women can focus on their individual campaign strengths. Abrams can continue the train of exciting the Democrat base of black voters in the urban areas. Evans can use her rural charm to woo the voters who are tired of Trump. Both women independently have cross-over appeal, but the campaigns highlighting their difference will snuff out that appeal and cause division in the party.
No one can argue with the fact that together, the duo would be unstoppable in November. We also cannot argue that Republicans are better at circling the wagons after a primary election. Democrats tend to stew in their anger over campaign rhetoric. This is what Republicans are relying on for a win in November.
Let us be honest. Woman power is the thing right now! The #MeToo movement, the women’s marches, Trump’s Access Hollywood tape, the take down of the Hollywood and media elite have all changed the tide. All of these things occurring AFTER both of these candidates entered this race. Democrats, we may need to re-evaluate. Women can get what we want, and we want the Governor’s seat.
Yes, after spending over a year raising money, building a team, and distinguishing themselves, it would be a hard decision for either women to voluntarily take a step back. But let us not undermine the importance of the Lt. Governors role in the legislature. There is also the fact that whomever takes the second position then has the ability for another eight-year term in the Governor’s seat. A bonus for sure since both women are young and have tons of time left in their political careers.
My plea – let’s just take a moment and explore the option of finding a fair way to get these two women on one ticket.
My solution – a test!
I’m sure you are wondering how would the women choose who is willing to step down and fight for the second seat as Lt. Governor? As a black woman I can already hear my sistas saying, “why does the black woman always have to take second place?” A call that has rung since Sojourner Truth delivered her 1851 speech, “Ain’t I a Woman?” at the Women’s Convention in Ohio. I can also hear the call from the Evans camp highlighting that of the two women, Evans is the hometown girl who is not only from Georgia but from rural Georgia which is the area that Georgia Democrats have struggled to conquer. Rural Georgia may be bright red, but every vote counts and Evans can get those people to the polls in a way Abrams cannot.
I propose a test. A three-hour Georgia Bar type exam. Except this exam is on Georgia history AND Georgia opinion. The Democratic Party can do an official, unbiased, and confidential poll of anyone who has voted in a Democratic primary in the last ten years. The opinions in the survey would become questions on the test for the two candidates. For example, “What do Democrats in Georgia feel are the most important issues today?” The answers would include the standard multiple choice options such as, “A. The Economy B. Race Relations C. Beating Trump D. Transportation.”
Other questions would include Georgia history, Georgia demographics, and the Georgia economy. The candidate displaying the best grasp of the operation of the State as an entity would stand out. Whichever candidate displays they have a better grasp of what Georgian’s wants and what Georgia needs wins. Simple.
The second part of the exam will be essay questions. Their answers will be edited to remove any clue as to which candidate composed the response. Then the responses would be posted online for voters to choose whose responses they like the most. What is a competition without an American Idol style voting opportunity? “Text your answer to 123Georgia. Polls are open until midnight.” I would be Ryan Seacrest in this scenario. Just in case you were wondering.
Just for my personal entertainment, the test taking would be live streamed where the women sit in a large, empty, echoing auditorium. Their seats will be placed face to face so they can watch each other concentrate. There would be loud ticking clock overhead to build the adrenaline. The only other noise would be the clicking of my heels as I sternly walk into the room to signal the start of the exam. I may be re-living my personal nightmares before taking the bar exam, but you get the point.
My experience with the women tells me that they both know tons about Georgia and what Georgians want. Therefore, I believe even a test of this sort would come down to a close vote, just like the primary election. Only difference is at the end, Democrats would be guaranteeing a win in November because both women, rather than one, will be on the ballot.
If testing doesn’t excite you, I propose a dance off. Neither woman can dance very well I assure you – sorry ladies. Evans has the benefit of being a mom which requires daily dancing and silliness to keep her dancing skills up to date. I also think Evans is a bit more comfortable in her own skin and would leave it all on the table if dancing was the measurement. Abrams however may get the benefit of the general on beat rhythmic dancing African Americans tend to display. Yes, I am showing my belief in the stereotype that black people, on average, dance better than white people. Let’s scratch the dance off and stick with the test because I already see public opinion problems.
Although I am being completely facetious about the test (and the dance competition), I am earnest in my belief that Democrats may be missing a true opportunity by not getting these two women on ONE ticket! Until such decision is made I will continue to fight for my candidate.