Politics is a lot like baseball. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. The difference is that if you lose, “there’s no crying in baseball,” as Tom Hanks reminded his ladies of the diamond in the movie “A League of Their Own.” In baseball, you’re supposed to hitch up your pants and move on to the next town, the next day and the next game. In politics you’re allowed a few tears, and the Democrats know how to turn on the waterworks.
In 2016 both candidate and party, with assistance from media and pollsters, had so persuaded themselves that a Democratic landslide was at hand that none could accept the reality that they had figured it all wrong. They’ve all been wasting precious time since. The sore loser was meant to be Donald Trump. At the final debate Chris Wallace, the moderator, asked Mr. Trump the question on many minds: “Do you make a commitment that you will absolutely accept the result of this election?” Mr. Trump answered impishly. “I will look at it at the time I’ll keep you in suspense.” The moderator didn’t think to ask the question of Hillary Clinton, who chimed in, anyway. Mr. Trump’s answer, she said, was “horrifying really troubling.”
Oh, cruel irony. Not only did Mrs. Clinton refuse to accept the result but embarked on a two-year temper tantrum in the wake of defeat, blaming everyone from the Russians to James Comey to Facebook for the licking she took, and tantrums spread the crying jag down ballot, wasting time and persuading other candidates not to accept the rules that defeat is sometimes part of the game. None took Hillary’s model to heart more than Stacey Abrams of Georgia.
She waged a spirited campaign for governor, driving big turnout among her mostly black base and coming relatively close to winning. Her 48.8 percent of the vote was better than the Democratic gubernatorial candidate won four years earlier. Brian Kemp, the Republican winner last year, took 50.2 percent of the vote. About 55,000 votes separated the two candidates. Respectably close, but no cigar.
Miss Abrams has since conducted a long display of sore loserhood. She has not conceded yet that she fairly lost the election. She frequently tells audiences now, “I won.” The other day she expanded the claim. “I’m here to tell you a secret that makes Breitbart and [Fox News host] Tucker Carlson go crazy: We won. I am not delusional. I know I am not the governor of Georgia — possibly yet.”
Miss Abrams insists that suppression of minority voters deprived her of the office, though black voter turnout actually surged in Georgia in 2018. The problem for Miss Abrams, daughter of Methodist ministers and a Yale Law School graduate, is that there are more conservatives than liberals in Georgia. She is pro-abortion, for expanded gun control, and opposes voter-identification and religious liberty laws. She’s trying to peddle liberal nostrums to a conservative market.
She is regarded as a rising star to her party, though her loss and trajectory toward the heavens has been aggravated by sore losing. Tom Perez, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, insists that “Stacey Abrams won that race and was cheated.” Sen. Kamala Harris, the senator and presidential candidate from California, says “without voter suppression, Stacey Abrams would be the governor of Georgia, and but for such suppression Andrew Gillum is the governor of Florida.” Mr. Gillum lost a similarly close race last year.
Miss Abrams was chosen to give the party’s official response to President Trump’s State of the Union address this year. The beat goes on, but the melody is particularly sour. Losing is never as much fun as winning, and nobody appreciates a sore loser. That’s the hard lesson the Democrats are just now learning.
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