Abrams to Schumer: The Senate's not enough for me in 2020

The bad news for Democrats: Chuck Schumer couldn’t convince Stacey Abrams to run for the Senate from Georgia. The good news for Democrats? She’s willing to make Joe Biden her VP.

I’m kidding. I think:

Stacey Abrams said Tuesday that she won’t run for the U.S. Senate in 2020 but left open the possibility she could launch a presidential campaign.

The decision not to challenge Republican U.S. Sen. David Perdue follows months of speculation about the Democrat’s next political step after her narrow loss in last year’s race for governor.

“I’ve been deeply honored by so many fellow Georgians asking me to serve,” she said in an interview. “But my responsibility is not simply to run because the job is available. I need to run because I want to do the job.”

Ouch. Sounds like Senate Democrats need a better recruiter. Didn’t Schumer tell Abrams about the perks of being in the clubbiest club of all? The (nearly) guaranteed lifetime employment part is the best. And you can park anywhere you want in DC without fear of getting a ticket, which is a bigger deal if you’ve ever actually tried to park in DC. (The downside, of course, is that you have to drive in DC to take advantage of that perk.)

Abrams made clear that she has set her sights a little higher than being a stepping stone to Schumer’s first gig running the upper chamber:

“The Senate provides a singular platform from which to address the issues of access to justice, economic security, health care, and restoring the integrity of our nation’s democracy,” Abrams said. “However, I am announcing today that I will not be a candidate for U.S. Senate.”

Being a senator would not be “the best role for me in this battle for our nation’s future,” she said.

“But let’s be clear: I will do everything in my power to ensure Georgia elects a Democrat to the United States Senate in 2020,” Abrams said, adding that she does not “know exactly what’s next for me.”

If her “best role” isn’t being in the Senate, with its “singular platform” to address all of the issues Abrams desires, what role fits the bill? It’s either the presidency or a TV talk show a la The View. Having risen to national prominence with highly questionable claims of voter suppression in last year’s elections, Abrams doesn’t want to be one of 100 people whose votes get managed by eight.

One has to wonder whether this might end up being Peak Abrams, at least in this cycle, however. It’s not as though Democrats don’t already have a few non-traditional candidates in the presidential race already, with Beto! and Pete! and Andrew! (Yang, guys, keep up) already plowing the personality-cult ground ahead of her and with Bernie Sanders already at the far end of it. Kamala Harris, whose woman-of-color status has been emphasized already, had built a national profile by being in the “singular platform” of the Senate. No one thought Harris was settling for the Senate when she ran for the office either, and at least that positioned her better to prepare for a national run. (Plus, Harris has an advantage with California’s early primary position.) Abrams, whose highest position was caucus leader in the state legislature, has no experience and no ready connections for that kind of a run.

Even Barack Obama knew to run for the Senate first. Abrams might regret not grabbing the brass ring offered to her when she could.