People outside of Georgia are once again making bold, inappropriate, and uninformed statements about Georgia political issues. A recent BuzzFeed1 article cites California native and Abrams donor saying it would be “political suicide” for the newly elected Mayor of Atlanta, Keisha Lance Bottoms to support anyone other than the black candidate. I feel like this is the appropriate time to say, “bless his heart” because he clearly does not understand Georgia politics.
So let’s go ahead and give some background on how we got here.
The people making these bold claims are not Georgians, will not vote in this election, and do not understand Georgia in all of its Stone Mountain loving goodness. Don’t get me wrong. I’m all about #trustblackwomen and #blackgirlmagic too. However, it applies equally to the gubernatorial race as it did the mayoral election. The claim by the outsiders misses all the hypocrisy in their argument.
Let’s keep the facts simple for the people in Georgia whose opinion on this race actually counts.
- Stacey Evans didn’t just wake up one day and endorsed Keisha Lance Bottoms. The women share as much of a mutual respect as they do political similarities pointed out by the AJC2. Evans made a decision that was not based on race, religion, or benefit but simply because Evans decided it was the right thing to do.
- Stacey Abrams chose not to endorse Mayor Bottoms. She sat on the sidelines as the Democratic Party of Georgia, the sitting Mayor of Atlanta, the last TWO Democratic nominees for Governor, and dozens of other dedicated Democrats saddled up for Bottoms against a candidate who had strong ties to the Republican Party. Only Abrams can explain that decision.
For those outside of the Georgia political loop here is what happened. Mayor Bottoms and Mary Norwood made it into the run-off election. Mayor Bottoms requested every Democrat and Democratic institution jump on her team, help get out voters, raise money, and win the race. The Democratic Party of Georgia, Democrat elected officials, and Stacey EVANS answered the call in a clear, direct, and out front manner.
Absolutely nothing stopped Abrams from doing the same. For whatever reason Abrams withheld her #Trustblackwomen support. With the national attention Abrams has been working on, no one can be so naive to think that the Abrams team didn’t discuss whether or not they should get involved in the Mayor’s race. They knew then they were running on the #Trustblackwomen platform and yet they sat this one out. Why?
It was clear the race was Democrat vs. Republican in the Bottoms vs. Norwood match. It should have been a pretty simple decision for the former Democratic Minority Leader to jump in. It’s this pattern of sitting it out that has so many of her former colleagues siding with Evans and sideyeing this sudden change in tone by Abrams..
Let’s not forget Georgians, Mayor Bottoms only won by a mere 700 votes. I would imagine that the former Minority Leader of the House Democratic Caucus in the Georgia General Assembly could have added a little more cushion to those 700 votes if she would have endorsed or even called ABRAM’S team of national donors to the table. But Abrams did not. This was a lead by example opportunity that Abrams turned a purposeful blind eye on.
It seems Abrams just didn’t trust Mayor Bottoms – also a black woman. And it seems that those who make the suggestion that Mayor Bottom’s decision to support Evans is based solely on Kasim Reed’s disdain for Stacey Abrams don’t either. #Trustblackwomen when I say, Mayor Bottoms is capable of thinking for herself. Since she has taken office she has expressed some clear distinctions between her and her predecessor.
I do hope Democrats in Georgia will #Trustblackwomen this time around. We are lucky enough to have two qualified candidates and voters should look at the campaigns and the qualities of the candidates before they decide. Any outside pressure to stoke racial divide and discourse should be ignored. Follow the lead of the highest ranking black woman in Georgia – Mayor Bottoms and make your own decision. No matter what “they” say!
2 As noted by the AJC, in their report on the inspirational bio-centric campaigns based on their hardscrabble upbringing.