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Political stars no longer need to hold office

Stacey Abrams waving on stage
Stacey Abrams. Photo: Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images

For plugged-in Democrats, "Stacey" and "Beto" are nearly as familiar as "AOC."

The backdrop: Stacey Abrams doesn't have a title before her name — a list of midterm results could call her "loser." But Democrats cheered yesterday when the barely-defeated candidate for Georgia governor was named to deliver the Democratic response to President Trump's State of the Union address.

  • Abrams, an entrepreneur and former Democratic leader in the Georgia House, was the first black woman to be the gubernatorial nominee of a major party, and won more votes than any other Democrat in Georgia history.
  • Speaker Pelosi said in the announcement: "Her electrifying message of courage, perseverance and hope reinvigorated our nation and our politics, and continues to inspire millions of Americans in every part of the country."

Vox.com founder Ezra Klein pointed out the midterm phenomenon:

  • "The biggest Dem superstars to emerge either lost to Republicans (Abrams, [Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew] Gillum, Beto) or beat Democrats (AOC, [Massachusetts Rep. Ayanna] Pressley)."
  • Be smart: This reflects an online age where a personal brand can be as powerful as establishment trappings — or even public office.

Go deeper ... AOC, Beto: The 7 letters disrupting politics