Stacey Abrams, the New American Majority, and the Politics of Becky

This political season white women are probably feeling under attack and undervalued. Other than a not guilty plea entered by Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein in a sexual assault charge, the #MeToo movement, driven mostly by white female feminists and entertainment celebrities, appears on hiatus from major media coverage.

White women couldn’t even get a break in Alabama’s special election to fill the U.S. senate seat vacated by current U.S. attorney general Jeff Sessions when the media and Democrats gave Alabama’s black female electorate credit for the victory of Democrat Doug Jones over Republican Roy Moore, a former Alabama supreme court jurist who was accused of lewd sexual misconduct involving teenage girls over 30 years ago. While this victory should have been chalked up to the #MeToo movement, white female voters in Alabama decided to ignore the #MeToo bandwagon. According to USA Today, 31% of voters in that special election were white women. Of that amount, 34% voted for Jones while 63% voted for Judge Moore. While 17% of voters were black women, 98% of those voters gave Doug Jones the nod.

Meanwhile in the neighboring state of Georgia, the question is will white women allow black voters, especially black women voters, take credit for another potentially huge victory for Democrats in the deep South? Early polls cited in show that women overall are favoring Democrat Stacey Abrams over Republican Brian Kemp. In a WXIA/Survey USA poll, Mr. Kemp has a two-point lead over Ms. Abrams, but in a Mason-Dixon poll taken last February, Ms. Abrams had a three-point lead over Mr. Kemp. Liberals nation-wide are hoping that the election will be the death knell for the white working class vote and signal the emergence of a “New American Majority.” The following quote may shed some light on what Ms. Abrams run really represents:

“If Abrams can win the general election and become the first black woman governor in U.S. History, in a Southern state that sits in the heart of the old Confederacy, it will be a powerful symbol of the capacity of black women to be the face — and not just the backbone or helpmate — of American politics. This might prove the most crucial outcome of an Abrams’ victory. Since 2016, the Democratic Party has had an ongoing debate about whether to try to win over white working-class voters or focus on the base of the New American Majority. A definitive Abrams win in the general election could settle that dispute for the 2020 cycle.”

The above quote comes as no surprise to me. I have suspected this campaign as an initiative by advocacy groups such as Democracy in Color, based on the west coast, which is lending support to Ms. Abrams campaign, as an attempt to provide further political empowerment to ethnic minorities. Like a significant number of members of the African Diaspora living in America, I have grown suspect of groups that lump a group of mostly unempowered black people with other groups that share neither lineage or policy goals with blacks. As usual, blacks are being shoved to the front of the political line in order to garner traction for a movement that more than likely will garner benefits for women, Hispanics, and Asians first with blacks, as usual, picking up the crumbs.

Blacks will fall in formation behind the black political and cultural elite and likely give Ms. Abrams the 90-plus percentage vote that their peers gave to Doug Jones in Alabama. I don’t suspect the current #WalkAway movement will have much impact in dissuading black voters to not fall in line with the Democrats this election cycle. If anything, movements like Atlanta’s “Black Slate” will do their best to urge blacks to deliver a historic one-two political punch by adding an Abrams victory to that earned by Keisha Lance-Bottoms in Atlanta’s mayoral race last fall.

If blacks vote near unanimously for Ms. Abrams, I expect white women to hold the key to a Brian Kemp victory. Unlike the Alabama U.S. senate race, I suspect the “peculiarities” of southern culture to raise their heads, the most prominent being race, specifically the undocumented competition between white and black women. As the race draws closer, I believe the pettiness of “white woman-black woman” competition will play a factor. How significant, I can’t tell right now. Polling won’t pick up this competition, but for those of us either having been born in the south, or like me, having lived here for decades, we expect that this competition will insert itself into the decision matrix of some voters.

If Ms. Abrams allows herself to recognize this, she will implore her west coast help to target conservative or moderate white women; selling them on the benefits of a progressive platform and the need to be on what liberals consider to be the right side of history in the selection of a America’s first black woman governor. Ms. Abrams will also have to quell the fears of working class whites who do not take kindly to the perception that minorities, particularly black people, have been enjoying economic gains at the expense of white people. That may be a tough sell. Ms. Abrams does not strike the optics, i.e. well educated, black, natural hairstyle, of someone that relate to white working-class Georgia.

With just over twelve weeks to go, Ms. Abrams has her work cut out for her.

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