For many news cycles now, Stacey Abrams has told us one thing: No, I don’t want the presidency, not now. But that doesn’t mean “not later.”
I know, I know. Let Abrams live a non-presidential life! And that’s exactly what she’s been doing, making the 2020 elections the fulcrum of her organizing work to ensure fair and free elections and to make sure black people are counted correctly in this year’s Census. Beyond that, Abrams has discussed another gubernatorial run in 2022, which could potentially pit her against Georgia Governor (and architect of voter suppression) Brian Kemp once again.
But being President of the United States is still very much in the cards for Abrams.
In a recent interview with the data-driven politics, economics, and sports site, FiveThirtyEight, Abrams said she plans to be president by 2040.
“Do you think the country will elect a woman president in the next 20 years?” asked reporter Clare Malone.
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“Yes,” Abrams nodded.
Malone asked if she thought a black woman would be elected, to which Abrams also answered affirmatively.
“Do you think they’ll elect you?” Malone followed up.
“Yes. That’s my plan,” said Abrams. “And I’m very pragmatic.”
Abrams was characteristically generous, confident, and clear-eyed throughout the interview, which covered her Democratic gubernatorial primary campaign against Stacey Evans; how race and gender inform how she is viewed by the electorate; and whether, when, and in what capacity she envisions herself in Washington, D.C.
Malone asked Abrams how she felt about questions about Georgia’s readiness for a black woman governor (a question she would later ask in a presidential context).
“When something new is on the horizon, we are usually both equally curious and afraid,” Abrams said. “Race and gender have such contextualized meaning in our society that I don’t begrudge the question. But I begrudge the answer that doesn’t accept the wholeness of who I am.”
Abrams also addressed the persistent curiosity about whether she may land on a presidential ballot as soon as this year, as a vice-presidential nominee. As questions of “electability” hang over the heads of each of the remaining Democratic presidential frontrunners (a question that leans, frequently, on whiteness, maleness, and an ability to appeal to conservatives and centrists), Abrams has been frequently referenced as a strong vice-presidential consideration.
In other words, a black woman who can help a white candidate’s electability.
Abrams doesn’t necessarily begrudge this, either.
“I accept that I exist in the political zeitgeist in a very specific way, and that we as a nation have very binary notions of politics. You’re a Democrat or a Republican. You’re a man or a woman. You’re white or a person of color. We don’t do a lot of nuance,” she said, acknowledging that this is likely why the question is raised for her.
“But I think the reason the question is sustained is the story that lies behind it,” she continued. “I am a very accomplished person who has experience on a realm of issues, and has the capacity to do this job.
“So while I may chafe a bit at what spawns the question, I’m very proud of why I’m even in the conversation,” said Abrams. “Because I’m not in the conversation just because I’m a black woman.”
President Stacey Abrams by 2040—let’s just hope the locusts, fires, flu, and earthquakes don’t knock us out before then.