Democrats have picked Stacey Abrams to rebut President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address next month, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York said Tuesday.
For good reason, Democrats have called Black women the backbone of the party and have relied on them before to help save the party. With the selection of Abrams to stand on the national stage in opposition to Trump, Democrats have returned to the well in the hopes of boosting their standing.
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“She is just a great spokesperson. She’s an incredible leader. She has led the charge for voting rights, which is at the root of just about everything else. … I’m very excited that she’s agreed to be the respondent to the president,” Schumer told reporters, according to the Washington Post.
Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez has sung the praises of Black women as an important voting bloc in the party.
“Let me be clear: We won in Alabama and Virginia because Black women led us to victory. Black women are the backbone of the Democratic Party, and we can’t take that for granted. Period,” he told The Post in 2017 after big election wins in those two states.
Indeed, Democratic leaders viewed African-American women voters as a major part of their strategy to succeed in the 2018 midterm elections in battlegrounds states with large nonwhite populations, Perez added.
Abrams, who had a historic run for Georgia governor as the nation’s first Black woman nominee of a major party, was among the wave of Black women candidates in 2018 who displayed their ability to compete effectively for office despite the obstacles. That class included Massachusetts’ Rep. Ayanna Pressley and fellow freshman congresswoman Jahana Hayes of Connecticut.
Although Abrams fell short of winning the governorship–in a contest that was plagued with voter suppression targeting African-Americans–she has emerged as a rising star in the party.
Schumer and other top party leaders have reportedly tried to recruit Abrams to run for a U.S. Senate seat in 2020. Her name has also come up as a possible party nominee for president in 2020.
“I’m interested in everything,”Abrams told the newspaper in a Jan. 20 interview. “What I am trying to do is decide what’s the right job, am I the right person and is this the right time.”
Abrams will deliver her response to Trump in a prime time speech next Tuesday night, Feb. 5.
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