Democrats can’t play it safe. They need inspiring candidates.

Does this strategy require a candidate of color? No, but it does call for candidates who can inspire voters of color. Beto O’Rourke in Texas is an excellent example, and his inspiring and well-organized campaign brought him closer to winning statewide than any Democrat has come in Texas in years. And nationally, the Democrats reclaimed a majority in the House by winning in nearly a dozen districts with large populations of voters of color.

Ms. Abrams and Mr. Gillum were also not afraid to tackle the not-so-silent racist “dog whistles” emanating from their opponents and the president. Ms. Abrams refused to shirk from condemnation of racism and condemned the ways in which honoring racist imagery like the Confederate monument at Georgia’s Stone Mountain monument — called out by name in Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech — undermines democracy and distances entire groups from being part of the body politic. Mr. Gillum offered one of the greatest lines in the history of American politics when he offered, about his opponent, Ron DeSantis, during a debate: “I’m not calling Mr. DeSantis a racist. I’m simply saying the racists believe he’s a racist.”

Notably, this approach of tackling racism head-on is also the best way to woo many white voters. According to the exit polls, both Ms. Abrams and Mr. Gillum received more support from whites in their states than either Mr. Obama or Mrs. Clinton did.