An Open Letter to the Republican Party

Carter Hanson, Section Editor of Opinion & Politics

On Friday, November 16, Stacey Abrams announced that she was ending her campaign to become the first black woman governor of Georgia, or of any state in American history for that matter. This came after a grueling competition over the previous week that ended with the final nail in the coffin for the former state house minority leader.

To be honest, it’s hard for me to imagine how anyone could choose Brian Kemp over Abrams, and this result—perhaps even more than Gillum or O’Rourke—is the most demoralizing and informative race of this election cycle.

I first heard of Abrams when watching an episode of Full Frontal with Samantha Bee about a year ago. In the segment, Abrams talked about her tenure as the state house minority leader. While in office, she stopped a comprehensive anti-abortion bill in its tracks through an incredible show of political maneuver, derailing the measure by convincing the most conservative Republicans in the house that it wasn’t anti-abortion enough, therein securing a status quo victory for her Democratic constituents.

I was amazed by this story: an unabashed progressive black woman in the deep south rallying a bloc of Democrats and convincing a bracket of ultra-conservatives to protect the right to abortion in her state. It was a moment of revelation; a path forward for the divided nation.

Stacey Abrams is an inspiring force for me even though I’m half the country away and my life couldn’t be more different than the one she’s lived.

That’s why I can’t understand how the state of Georgia could rebuke her message of hope, instead filling the gubernatorial office with a man who—as far as I can tell—has no extraordinary attractors besides him being a gun-toting Trumpian, something else I don’t understand the appeal of.

I believe the fundamental problem with the Republican Party today is its refusal to accept the tomorrow that is certain to come. The GOP has been engaged in a perennial campaign against immigrants and minorities ever since the Republican electorate realized the face of America will soon be majority minority.

As the white majority of the United States recognized this truth, some reacted by embracing this redefining of what it means to be an American, voting in a new class of divergent public servants during the Midterm Elections a few weeks ago. Many minority candidates being elected in majority white districts like Ayanna Pressley in Massachusetts District 7 and Joe Neguse from our very own Colorado District 2.

However, most white people reacted out of fear and distrust, uncompromisingly opposed to this rapid change in the world around them. Like most people would, they feared the singular idea of change, overcoming the faith they had in institutions who argued for the measurable positive affect immigration has on our country in terms of the economy, culture and moral values the US was founded on. The Republican Party has identified itself with this sentiment: the Midterm Elections, if nothing else, proved that. We are entering into the most dissimilar congress in American history yet all that change has happened within the Democrats; not the Republicans. The only Republican black woman in Congress, Mia Love of the Utah 4th District, actually lost her seat on election day. The Democratic Party is moving forward by supporting and advantaging from demographic shift; the Republican Party is moving backward and, ultimately, will suffer politically from their decision to do so.

The paramount catalyst for this shift toward the reactionary is, as I said earlier, fear. We’ve seen this more blatantly in the Trump era, but also throughout all of American and indeed human history as well. There’s been a massive negative retort to the approaching fact that white people will become a minority in the United States in the very near future, in the form of an indisputably vain attempt to revoke the right of others to coexist in our nation. Inversely, the right thing to do, moralistically and practically, is to welcome this change in the American citizenry, and subsequently the definition of the American dream, therein encouraging our paradoxical yet persistent conviction in the proposition that our strength comes from our diversity.

The GOP is running out of voters. If they continue to alienate minorities by narrowing their voting bloc solely to xenophobic white people, they’ll soon find that America will have moved on without them: they’ll be stuck in the past.

It’s time for the Republican Party to change. Abrams is just a representative of a powerful, new American movement: one that the avant-garde, energetic Democratic Party is adopting, and ascertaining the benefits from as a result.

The political battlefield in America is rearranging: no longer is it the working-class white populace of the rust belt; the indefatigable swing states of Ohio and Iowa are no longer at the epicenter of the ideological struggle for the marrow of the nation. No, the race is moving south, to Georgia, Texas, North Carolina and Arizona: to those states whose identities are being renewed by a younger, more minority-based electorate.

The future is multifarious. The party that accepts this will become the guide for the nation throughout the coming century: the Democratic Party is winning that imperative battle.