Stacey Abrams on How She Could Make No Mistakes and Still Lose, Just Like on Star Trek

It’s official: being a Star Trek fan makes you both cool and suited for public office.

Hot on the heels of yesterday’s interview with Cory Booker, today Now Hear This published a video interview with former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, all about her love for Star Trek.

Abrams is promoting her cause, Fair Fight 2020, a non-profit organization focused on ensuring fair voting practices in her home state of Georgia, and around the country. The interview was mostly lighthearted, covering among other things her rankings of all the series of Star Trek. But a big focus of the interview was on the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode, “Peak Performance”. In that episode, the Enterprise is going through battle training simulations against the U.S.S. Hathaway, all under the supervision of Kolrami, a famed strategist. While both ships’ real weapons are offline for the training, a real Ferengi warship attacks them, leaving the crew in an impossible situation. But that’s not the action that Abrams focussed on.

Also in “Peak Performance”, there’s a subplot where Data repeatedly plays the game Stratagema against Kolrami. He’s expected to win easily, being an android, but Kolrami beats him soundly multiple times. Data decides that he must be malfunctioning, and takes himself offline.

Abrams says that what Data did next is how she’s tried to structure her political career. She said, “[Data’s] responsibility is to understand how to be successful. And so he comes back and he defeats Kolrami in another game of Stratagema not by trying to defeat Kolrami, but by realizing if you avoid taking the obvious risks and the obvious challenges, you can find your way to victory anyway. And that is how I've completely organized my political career.”

“Peak Performance” is also the episode where Picard says the famous line, “It is possible to make no mistakes and still lose.” That line spoke to Abrams as well. While she lost her bid for Georgia governor in 2018, she explained, “I've been castigated by the other side for saying we won and part of it I take from ‘Peak Performance’. [...] I recast victory and I think about victory always. Am I advancing the conversation? Are new people able to be heard? And when that becomes my metric, then in the spirit of ‘Peak Performance’, we won.”

She pointed to the record voter turnout in that election, particularly among people of color. “Those are victories for people who want to see that change is possible,” she said. “And that's how we get to the Utopian world of Star Trek.”

To watch the video for yourself, including how Abrams ranked the series of Star Trek, head to dailystartreknews.com.


This article was written for the podcast Daily Star Trek News.

Alison Pitt is the writer, producer, and host of Daily Star Trek News, on the Roddenberry Podcast Network. A veteran Star Trek podcaster, she started her career on the weekly show Priority One: A Roddenberry Star Trek Podcast in 2015. She has appeared on panels at Star Trek Las Vegas, WonderCon, and San Diego Comic Con.

Alison Pitt