The year of 2018 has brought a wave of change in politics.
After the presidential election of 2016, it seemed the political spectrum would be ruled by white males. But recent political wins have proven that thought process wrong. Here are some candidates who contributed to the change so far.
Danica Roem is the first openly transgender state lawmaker in Virginia. She beat out incumbent Bob Marshall, who had been elected 13 times over 26 years. Marshall been known to be a strong opponent to LGBT rights. The former lawmaker had “proposed a state bill in 2015 that would allow anyone who has a license with the state to refuse services to gay people and earlier this year introduced a bill to restrict transgender people’s access to public restrooms,” and refused to use Roem’s correct pronouns during campaign. “Tonight voters chose a smart, solutions-oriented trans leader over a divisive anti-LGBTQ demagogue—sending a powerful message to anti-trans legislators all across the nation,” Roem’s win was big, and it told people like Marshall to give respect to the LGBT community.
Ravinder Bhalla, who was born and raised in New Jersey, was elected mayor of Hoboken in 2017. He is the first ever Sikh mayor elected for the city. Bhalla did not run without racist opposition from citizens. A couple days before the election, fliers were distributed throughout the city that stated “Don’t let TERRORISM take over our town” featuring a picture of Bhalla. But Bhalla did not back down, and has “inspired enthusiasm not just in Hoboken but in the nationwide Sikh community of 200,000 people; a community which has suffered frequent racist slurs and acts of violence since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.” Bhalla’s win can help inspire hope, and inspire the fight against racism.
Jahana Hayes has yet to win the seat for congress in Connecticut, but being elected for running is a feat on its own. If elected, Hayes will be the first African American woman to hold a Connecticut congressional seat. Hayes started from no network and opposition and is now so close. “When we started this campaign a little more than 100 days ago, we had no organization and no network,..People told us we had no chance and no business trying to upset the status quo. And tonight, we proved them wrong.” Hayes is not your typical candidate for congress; she did not come from a wealthy family with political ties. She comes from public housing, poverty, and a family with drug abusers. A household most Americans can relate to. But she broke free from that cycle and in 2016 was recognized as Teacher of the Year by former president Barack Obama. She has only climbed more rungs since then, proving that politics is not just for the wealthy white.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has come from bartender to a member of Congress for New York’s 14th Congressional district. She is a self-described democratic socialist, which most politicians and voters are afraid of. Many conservatives attempt to paint Ocasio-Cortez as some type of outsider, one that has crazy ideas about how healthcare and college should work: “She calls for the abolition of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Medicare for All, tuition-free public college, a federal jobs guarantee, and criminal justice reform “now.”” Ocasio-Cortez’s mother is from Puerto Rico, and her father the Bronx. She is the progressive Latina who dethroned white incumbent Jon Crowley.
These candidates and winners are what Americans are looking for. People like themselves, and not a reboot of people who don’t understand their needs, or wants, or where they come from.
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