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Here Are 5 African-American Politicians Who Could Make History In 2018

In the dispensation of President DonaldTrump, women, LGBTQ+ people, and members of other groups that are traditionally discriminated against are on the rise, spearheading the #resistance. What better time than Black History Month, then, to profile some of the rising African American stars in politics today leading the charge?

KEITH ELLISON

The Democratic Party is in a very interesting place right now, with progressives and moderates struggling to pull the party in two different directions. The second part of the January 19, 2018 episode of This American Life is dedicated to interviewing prominent Democrats from both wings of the party and they both make convincing cases in their own way.

The politics within the party itself, that is, the Democratic National Committee and the delegate-based primary system, favored Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders in 2016. The party has been prone to playing it safe and aiming toward the center, but the astounding loss of safe-candidate Clinton against worst-ever-candidate Trump as well as the increased acceptance of Sanders’ more progressive agenda by a growing chunk of the voting public of late is putting that strategy in doubt.

Ellison is one of those progressives, and while he narrowly lost his race for DNC Chair to a more moderate Democrat, as deputy chair he is continuing to push the Democratic Party to take a clear stand on social issues and assume a more progressive and unapologetic identity. If that happens, this could be a game-changer for the party and American politics both, and we should have some indication by 2018 midterms whether the party will take the step that Ellison and others are pushing for.

CONNIE JOHNSON

Johnson was the first black woman to serve on the Oklahoma state Senate, or really any major political office in the state. She is running for governor this year, which gives her a chance to make history in the state again. The Democratic wave of late 2017 saw greater diversity in representation at state and local levels, and state and local governments are critical for resisting the hostile federal government headed by Trump, so Johnson will not be the only politician on this list that is not at the federal level.

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CORY BOOKER

Former Newark mayor and current New Jersey senator Cory Booker is likely familiar to anyone who follows political news regularly. He is a strong critic of Trump and Trumpism and considered highly likely to run in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary. Although many experts are predicting a particularly large field in that race, Booker is one of the stronger potential candidates. To prepare for that race, Booker will be working hard to rally the troops and raise his own profile this year and next, so he is likely to be a newsmaker and hopefully also a changemaker.

NIKUYAH WALKER

Walker has already made history this year, taking over as mayor of Charlottesville, Va., on January 2, 2018, less than five months after the white supremacist rally that left 18 injured and one dead in that city. By electing a black, female mayor, Charlottesville condemned the monsters that descended on their town as Trump was so unwilling to do. Walker is reclaiming the site of such hatred and evil for victims of violence and prejudice everywhere, but her tweet on the topic shows she is not just planning to be a symbol, she plans to make a difference. We should keep an eye out and see just what that looks like.

WILMOT COLLINS

As Trump and the GOP blast entire countries, ethnic groups, and individual immigrants and refugees with racist, xenophobic, and scapegoating rhetoric, African immigrant and American citizen Wilmot Collins stands as just one counter-argument. A former refugee, accepted via “chain migration” to join his wife, he stands up for refugees, immigrants, and “sh*thole countries.” He serves in the military, spent years as a civil servant, and now serves his community further as mayor of Montana’s capital city, elected just in November. Collins first year in office can serve as a reminder to thoughtful independent voters and a rallying point for those under attack as Trump and the GOP continue to push racist, base-pandering immigration policies in 2018.

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Written by How Africa

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