Stacey Abrams’s Trumpian problem

Her latest political moves puzzle some otherwise admiring Democratic strategists, who have long viewed her as a rising star within the party. Her advocacy for expanding voter access in her home state (and beyond) is a noble cause that’s been embraced by Democrats across the country. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer aggressively recruited her to run for one of the two Senate seats up for grabs this year in Georgia, knowing her candidacy could make the difference between a Democratic and a Republican majority. Abrams declined the offer, while enjoying a wave of presidential speculation that came by playing hard to get. (She opted not to run for the presidency, as well.)

The irony here is that the job that might actually serve as her stepping stone into national politics—governor of Georgia—suddenly looks much more attainable than it did several months ago. Given Kemp’s recent problems, she should be licking her chops at the idea of a rematch against him in 2022.

But by transparently campaigning for a job she’s unlikely to win, Abrams is squandering some of the valuable goodwill she built up in the hard-fought 2018 governor’s race. Instead of building up political capital to prepare for a rematch, she spent the postelection period refusing to concede the election, writing an essay advocating “identity politics,” and resisting Democratic entreaties to seek a plum promotion. Even before this latest national media blitz, her popularity back home was already on the decline.