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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 6/16/17

A Progressive Electoral Wave Is Sweeping the Country

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From The Nation

The Trump-obsessed big media are mostly ignoring it, but Bernie-inspired activists are winning across the country -- including in districts that went for Trump in 2016.

Chokwe Antar Lumumba
Chokwe Antar Lumumba
(Image by (From Wikimedia) NatalieMaynor from Jackson, Mississippi, USA, Author: NatalieMaynor from Jackson, Mississippi, USA)
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With a clenched fist held high and the promise of a "movement of the people," Chokwe Antar Lumumba asked the voters of Jackson, Mississippi, to elect him as their mayor in a race he pledged would lead to the transformation of a Deep South city in a deep-red state. Victory for his civil-rights-inspired, labor-backed campaign for economic and social justice would "send shock waves around the world," said the 34-year-old human-rights lawyer as he vowed to make Jackson "the most progressive city in the country."

Too radical? Too bold? Not at all. Backed by a coalition that included veteran activists who fought segregation, along with newcomers who got their first taste of politics in Bernie Sanders's 2016 presidential campaign, Lumumba won 55 percent of the vote in a May Democratic primary that saw him oust the centrist incumbent mayor and sweep past several other senior political figures in Mississippi's largest city. A month later, he secured a stunning 93 percent of the vote in a general election that drew one of the highest turnouts the city has seen in years.

That victory renewed a radical experiment in community-guided governance and cooperative economics that his father, the veteran radical activist Chokwe Lumumba Sr., began during a brief mayoral term that ended with the senior Lumumba's untimely death just eight months after his own 2013 election as mayor. Governing magazine speculates that the younger Lumumba's tenure "may offer striking evidence of a nationwide trend: strongly progressive policies being pushed in big cities, even in deep red states." That's true. Unfortunately, Lumumba's June 6 win didn't get anything close to the media attention accorded a handful of special elections for US House seats in districts that are so solidly Republican that Donald Trump was comfortable plucking congressmen from them to fill out his cabinet.

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