Ms. Abrams scoffs at that line of attack. She thinks people are hungry for bold proposals, but also willing to be led through incremental steps to achieve them. “We have to give the public credit for being able to hear about big ideas without expecting those big ideas to come to fruition immediately,” she said.
Ms. Abrams’s track record as the minority leader of the Georgia House of Representatives suggested a willingness to compromise and work across the aisle that drew attacks from her left during the primary. During the general election, Mr. Kemp, now the governor, called her radical.
“That’s not her,” Professor Gillespie said. “People believed it because she was a black woman. Because she dared to say we’re going to try to increase minority turnout, all of a sudden that was a radical idea.”
In a season in which six women, one of them black, are already running for president, Ms. Abrams said she had already seen echoes of what she faced in her campaign. Some people she considered friends did not back her because they did not believe that a black woman could win. Others counted up every black politician who supported her opponents in the primary. And still others picked over her hairstyle, weight and personal life as a single, childless woman.
“We’ve already seen questions about how Elizabeth Warren reaches for a beer, about Kamala’s racial heritage and how close to 100 percent is it,” she said, referring to the Massachusetts senator and Senator Kamala Harris of California. “We have already seen recaps of questions asked of women’s behavior in leadership that are not asked of men.”
She added, “Some of the critiques of me were based on race and gender, some were based purely on race and some were based purely on gender — I got to experience the entire landscape of concern.”
As Ms. Abrams keeps to a frenetic schedule, there is one task she has not been able to check off: finishing a trilogy in her series of romance novels. (She has written eight featuring adventurous black women under the pen name Selena Montgomery.) “My mother has mentioned more than once I haven’t gone it done,” she said. “I’m working on it, man. It’s a different mind-set.”