Posted by: nataliaxorozco | November 17, 2019

Fair Fight 2020: Stacey Abram’s New Power Leadership

“With your help, we will repair our broken democracy and empower the voters of America to set the direction of our nation,” these are the words of Stacey Abrams, who narrowly lost Georgia’s gubernatorial race in 2018 to Republican Brian Kemp in an election marred by reports of voter suppression. Despite her position as a “rising star” in the Democratic party, Abrams chose to launch a voter rights campaign rather than join the infinity pool of Democrats vying for the presidency in 2020.

According to Heimans and Timms (2018) there are four types of leaders—castles, co-opters, cheerleaders, and crowd leaders—and three essential new power leadership capabilities: signal, structure, and shape. Throughout her bid for Governor and in her current Fair Fight 2020 campaign, Abrams has proven herself to be a crowd leader. Her campaign produced historic voter turnout among youth, women, and people of color that crossed party lines and nearly resulted in a win. 

Although Kemp “won,” Abrams empowered her base by refusing to formally concede. Instead, she signaled that while she lost according to the system, the system itself was broken. Her new Fair Fight 2020 campaign is creating structures and practices to enable participation and agency, while her choice to not run for president sets up the norms and direction of the crowd that go beyond her formal authority. In a time where so many politicians seem to be seeking the power of the presidency, Abrams is seeking power for the people.

References:

Abrams, S. (n.d.). Fair fight 2020 [organization website]. Retrieved from: https://fairfight.com/fair-fight-2020/

Abrams, S. (2018). Lead from the outside: How to build your future and make real change. New York, NY: Picador Henry Holt & Company.

Heimans, J. & Timms, H. (2018). New power: How anyone can persuade, mobilize, and succeed in our chaotic, connected age. New York, NY: Anchor Books, Penguin Random House.


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