Politics is full of ironies. But one of the oddest political irony may have occurred when in 2018 Brian Kemp, as Georgia’s Secretary of State, purged thousands of voters from the state voter roll. He was running for governor at the time, and he was expected to lose. His act of purgatory — one of unquestionably profound conflict of interest — could be the reason why he won and his opponent, Stacey Abrams, lost.
The start of this multi-layer irony is that, in the midst of all this recent talk of rigged elections, Kemp’s action was a real-life example. But it also galvanized Ms. Abrams to the point that she launched a grassroots campaign called Fair Fight, to redouble her already ongoing voter registration efforts in Georgia and counter the alleged voter suppression tactics which she believed led to her loss.
Fast forward to 2020 and — voila! — a runoff election of two Georgia senate seats and a presidential election, all of which went Democratic, thanks in large part to Stacey Abrams’ efforts resulting from her fury that Kemp stole the governorship from her. With the tables turned, Kemp now found himself in the embarrassing position of defending the State’s part in the election of Joe Biden as President. Suddenly Donald Trump doesn’t like Governor Kemp any more. Poor boy.
Had Ms. Abrams won the governorship, she wouldn’t have had time to register all those Democrats and maybe Georgia and the two Senate seats would have gone Republican. We’ll never know for sure, but take a wild guess at what keeps Brian Kemp awake at night.
Of course, thanks to growing cities like Atlanta, Georgia is trending purple anyway. But there is no question Stacey Abrams, who is a real firebrand and a tireless worker for the Democratic Party, was a one-woman major factor in putting a lot more blue in that Georgia mix.
Abrams, a graduate of Yale School of Law and the former Minority Leader in the Georgia House of Representatives, is one of the brighter stars in the political firmament. This is a woman to watch. Perhaps President Biden will have something worthy of her considerable talents. The nation will be the winner if he does. Of course, she may also take another run at governor of Georgia in 2022. Whichever it is, we should all wish her well and help her wherever we can. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.