Today I wanted to write about something a bit different.
I was re-reading the story of how Georgia turned blue in November and not only is it a great story, but it holds such great lessons for all of us who believe in the power of activism to improve our society. As I’m sure you all are busy with the holidays and year-end responsibilities, I’ll keep this post short.
The story of how Georgia turned blue started nearly a decade ago, as a handful of Democratic elected officials, many of whom were Black, saw an opportunity. Namely, Atlanta was attracting businesses — the same kind of thing that had changed the political dynamic in Virginia (which decisively turned blue in 2017) — and this spelled out a new demographic reality that these leaders wanted to take advantage of.
For most of us outside of Georgia, the first we had heard of Stacey Abrams was in 2018 when she ran for governor, but did you know she started the New Georgia Project in 2013? Georgia Democrats like Nikema Williams, Michelle Nunn and others were ramping up big time in the lead up to the 2014 elections, where they got really close but fell just short.
Their strategy was simple in concept: Focus on disengaged African-American voters as well as young people to expand their coalition, with a message that voting really does produce change. This was instead of trying to persuade undecided and moderate voters, who were usually white.
Now, this strategy did not produce the wins at the ballot box they were hoping for in 2014 but by 2018, the national party and voters across the country finally took notice. And this is when the money finally started to flow to Georgia. Just imagine for a moment how it must have been to be a local volunteer who believed in Abrams’ and these other Georgian leaders’ strategy, but then went 6 long years without getting much attention for your work, much less wins at the ballot box. It would have taken an unshakeable belief that this was worthy work and well worth the time and effort you were expending. Right?
My hope is that more voters across the country will find a political goal that they’re committed to working towards through thick and thin. It takes time to change minds and shift behaviors. I mean, just imagine how sweet it was for all those Georgian leaders, activists, and volunteers to watch Georgia go blue for Biden because their coalition of new voters showed up.
I would love to help connect more people to worthy work in 2021. #Goals