Stacey Abrams’ media blitz openly campaigning for a spot alongside presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden on the presidential ballot in November has some political insiders nervous. That she’s tossing aside revered tradition by campaigning publicly for the spot has them furious. The Washington Examiner dismissed Abrams as “entitled.” Democratic Rep. William Clay called her media campaign “inappropriate.”
Abrams is catching fire because there is a certain subset of our political insiders who fetishize process over progress, and tradition over turnout. The resistance to a public campaign for the vice presidency is a relic from America’s earliest days as a republic.
But it’s important to know that in those days, things were very different. Back then, campaigning for public office was considered a shocking breach of social protocol—political office should be an honor bestowed on a statesman, the thinking went, without the use of tactics as plebeian as persuasion.