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Posted: 2018-11-07 16:06:37

November 6, 2018; Vox

While last night’s blue wave was no tsunami, the gains made on our electoral landscape are both distinct and instructive to the rest of civil society.

Make a note: Leaders of color and issues of marginalized communities are taking center stage, and we must all step up to help center them in our future discourse.

In the context of unprecedented numbers of candidates of color, Andrew Gillum in Florida and Stacy Abrams in Georgia broke new ground in the South with races that were unabashedly progressive. This flies in the face of conventional wisdom, which has held until now that Black candidates in the region must run on a strictly centrist platform. Though he did not win the election, Gillum was the first-ever Black gubernatorial nominee in that state and ran a campaign that acted as a powerful wedge into the future. Abrams still could be the nation’s first African American woman governor.

Race was made so central to this election that trying to ignore it, or not name the social and economic truths it has consistently informed, was impossible. For this, we might thank President Trump for taking such extreme racist positions that they had to be countered straight-on. But, let’s face it, most of the thanks owed go to the young activists who have framed and pursued racial justice in an entirely bold new way that recognizes the power of an unflinching counternarrative and intersectional interests with other marginalized people.

But, lest we believe we have turned any absolute corner, the Washington Post reports that taunting and obstruction efforts heightened as the energy for racial and social justice ramped up on the electoral front. Both Gillum and Abrams were the focus of stomach-turning, racist robocalls, and Abrams was subject to a series of obvious ploys by her sitting-secretary-of-state opponent to manipulate and suppress the vote.

Other advances last night were made in a series of “firsts.” (That these were firsts tells us much about the

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