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Stacey Abrams speaks to reporters at the media center before the fifth Democratic debate on Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019, in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo/Tristen T. Webb, tristentwebb.com)

On April 8, Sen. Bernie Sanders admitted what had been clear for some time — he has no real path forward to winning the Democratic presidential nomination. Sanders ended his campaign, effectively handing former Vice President Joe Biden the nomination. This also reignited speculation on whom Biden will choose to be his running mate. One name that has come up time and again is sure to be familiar to Georgians — former 2018 gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams.

Though I’m sure many Georgia voters would be excited to see a Biden-Abrams ticket, Abrams would be a bad choice for vice president. Biden should choose someone else.

Look, I’d be thrilled if a Georgian were in the White House, and I’m not arguing against Abrams on policy grounds. My biggest concern with picking Abrams is her lack of experience.

Although she’s a nationally-known figure, Abrams' highest elected office is Georgia state House member. She served in the state House from 2007 to 2017 and was the state House minority leader from 2011 to 2017. She's done good work for Georgia, but she doesn’t have the executive or national experience she would need to lead.

Admittedly, Abrams’ lack of experience probably wouldn’t hurt a Biden-Abrams ticket electorally. Americans often don’t care too much about candidates' experience when voting for presidential tickets. President Donald Trump famously had never been elected to any office and had no military experience before running for the country’s highest office in 2016. Former President Barack Obama had been a senator for less than four years before he won the 2008 presidential election.

In some ways, having experience might even be a barrier to winning. A long political history leaves a lot of potential ammunition for rival campaigns to find.

But knowing the ins and outs of the systems and issues is critical to effective governing. The presidency is too big and complicated for one person to manage, so the vice president must be ready to lead on day one. Despite his inexperience, Obama recognized this fact. According to The New York Times, Obama chose Biden as a running mate in 2008 in part to provide the experience the Obama administration would need.

Experience is especially important now. As the country continues to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, we need leaders with a deep understanding of the government. If Abrams is forced to serve as president, would she be ready to handle another wave of the novel coronavirus? What if there’s an international dispute? Would she be able to navigate a diplomacy crisis without any foreign policy background?

She might excel in both of those scenarios. But we shouldn’t take risks with the fate of the country.

Abrams is a talented politician, and she has a bright future. Her near-win in the 2018 Georgia gubernatorial election proved that. However, for the time being, she should continue working in Georgia politics. Her time may come, but it’s not now.


CLARIFICATION: A previous version of this article said that Abrams' highest elected office was to the Georgia state House, but it did not mention that she was also the state House minority leader. This has since been added. The Red & Black regrets this error.

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(4) comments

María León

I supported Stacy with vigor in her pursuit of the Governorship of GA and would again without hesitation should she choose to once more pursue it or even United States senate seat. That said, I do not possess that same level of confidence in her readiness as the near future VP as others do. She says she’s ready for Biden’s call but what does that mean beyond her self-confidence that yes, she believes she can do the job and I have no doubts whatsoever she’d rely on that to propel her but it still doesn’t speak to readiness to be what Joe Biden needs. Obama had 12 years combined as a state senator and then in the U.S senate and yet the naysayers reduced his experience down that of a neighborhood organizer, but he had Joe. He had someone seasoned, experienced, who knew the lay of the land, how the game was played and the players and STILL they came at President Obama. Stacy can’t have Joe’s back if she’s just starting to learn the ropes. She’s just too important to the future and I believe cooler heads will prevail and help her reach that conclusion. All said, I do not believe she’s in the running at this point but for argument sake let’s say she were; It would be in my opinion the perfect example of arrested development to stop her before she’s made her mark as a governor or senator. I hope she allows herself more time and opportunities for America see her in action, I believe she’ll be destined for the highest office and not second highest. I can envision her as future President but just not the near future VP.

ghreen1

I really do not understand how you could print this. Look at who is our current President, his cabinet, and the people who hold life and death decisions over others appointed by that criminal- and tell me Stacey Abrams is not qualified.

Fay0673

Ms. Stacey Abrams, is more than qualified & experienced to serve as VP. America elected a candidate that has pushed the bar under the toilet, and then want a Successful Legislator & Litigator, with a BA. MA, and a JD degree from Yale Law School to require more experience. You have the audacity to want Ms. Abrams to walk on water & part the Red Sea, while we have incompetence on display every single day in the White House. Ms. Abrams not only has the brains to serve as VP she has the unique ability to serve as President on day one. As someone who previously served in a state legislature, she knows how to build relationships and pull a coalition together to get things passed. The great thing about Stacey is she is a fast learner. She would be the best candidate to help Joe, with the Black Votes, the Rural votes and especially all of the working class, folks and believe me those are not just white folks. There is no one too low or too high that Stacey cannot speak to and relate to as she never sees folks as under class, she only sees them as underserved. I want America to Immediately stop with your different qualifications for different folks. Sarah Palin could not read a 3rd grade book and the Media promoted her like she had 5 MA, 3 Phd's and had served in the largest state in the Nation, when she in fact served in a state that had approximately 700,000+ residents while Stacey worked in the City of Atlanta that had over 400+ residents, and served a state with a population of 10+ million. I believe, that she has the ability to work well as the VP and across the Nation and internationally as well, since she has the Character to treat our International Leaders with Respect while showing strength.

Bomberoloco

Sounds like a sexist, racist opinion

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