Georgia Democratic gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams speaks to supporters during a midterm election night party in Atlanta, November 2018.
Leah Mills / REUTERS

Identity Politics Strengthens Democracy

Stacey Y. Abrams

Recent political upheavals have reinvigorated a long-running debate about the role of identity in American politics—and especially American elections. Electoral politics have long been a lagging indicator of social change. For hundreds of years, the electorate was limited by laws that explicitly deprived women, African Americans, and other groups of the right to vote. (Efforts to deny voting rights and suppress voter turnout continue today, in less overt forms but with the same ill intent.) When marginalized groups finally gained access to the ballot, it took time for them to organize around

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