NewsOne Featured Video
Ben Jealous and Stacey Abrams conversation

Source: University of Pennsylvania / Penn Today

If successfully navigating the turbulent waters of politics is an indication of intelligence, then Stacey Abrams must be a genius, Ben Jealous, President of People For the American Way, a progressive social and political advocacy organization, recently suggested.

Therefore, he concluded, building off that metaphor, her political genius is just like spades, the card game that is so popular with Black folks.

The two longtime friends spoke virtually on Feb. 19 during a conversation facilitated by the University of Pennsylvania, where Jealous is a visiting scholar at the Annenberg School for Communication, the School of Social Policy & Practice as well as the university’s law school.

The playful exchange between Jealous — who is also the former president of the NAACP — and Abrams — who has been widely credited for her role in first flipping Georgia blue and then later for Democrats’ victories in last month’s Senate runoff races — had a lot of truth to it.

Allow Jealous to explain:

“You’ve got a partner, and you have to be able to trust your partner, but you also have to be willing to sacrifice in order to win. . . Sometimes you’ll have to sacrifice a queen or king to an ace, but if that gets you closer to being able to play a spade against someone else’s face card, do it. Play to win,” she said. “My grandmother said, ‘Every card only wins once; the cards are what they are,’” she said, so there was no point in holding on and waiting around. “You have to watch the table; you’ve got to know what fell. I watch my partner, but I also watch the table so that I know what not to do, or what opportunity is coming up for me to take advantage of.”

Watch Jealous offer up his Spades analogy during his conversation with Abrams.


Jealous recently penned an op-ed for NewsOne that, in retrospect, revealed a glimpse of his spades analogy line of thinking when he accurately said the recent Senate runoff elections in Georgia were a game-changer for diversity in federal courts. Just like in November’s general election, Abrams was lauded for securing the Democratic Senate wins needed to help bring that aforementioned diversity to a federal bench replete with white men.

Using Jealous’ analogy, Abrams not only played to win in those elections, but she was able to do so effectively because, as it turned out, her own gubernatorial campaign in 2018 was, in retrospect, a sacrifice in itself that was needed to effect the kind of historic electoral change for others that she has achieved to resounding results.

Oh, and did we mention that the game of spades and Stacey Abrams are both immensely popular with Black people? That part of Jealous’ analogy doesn’t hurt, either.

You can read more about the conversation between Abrams and Jealous at Penn Today.


Let’s Give Stacey Abrams Her Flowers Now

Stacey Abrams Perfectly Drags Kelly Loeffler Over Voter Rights Organization Announcement

Celebrating Black Women Pioneers And Their Many Historic Firsts
21 photos