The power of social media became even more evident during 2016, used to perfection by New York business tycoon Donald Trump who consistently tweeted outlandish if not totally refutable conclusions — all the way to 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue. In fact, after squashing about a dozen Republican candidates in the primary, he took on “Team Clinton” shocking almost everyone except perhaps himself to secure the White House.
Still, the controversial element remains — while losing the popular vote by over 2.8 million Trump still secured enough votes in the Electoral College to be elected the next president of the U.S. — in effect circumventing the wishes of the majority. It’s clear we haven’t seen the end of this debate.
If it’s true that “all politics is local,” then the District witnessed several shakeups as D.C. voters, like many Americans did in the general election, snubbed status quo incumbents in favor of candidates bearing fresh voices and alternative views. When the D.C. Council holds its swearing-in ceremony on Jan. 2, former Mayor Vincent Gray, Trayon White and Robert White, each with decisive victories, will takes seats previously held by Yvette Alexander, LaRuby May and Vincent Orange, respectively. Anita Bonds will be the sole Black woman on the 13-member council.
Further, as 2017 unfolds, don’t be surprised to see eager “mayoral hopefuls” bent on ousting current Mayor Muriel Bowser in the November 2018 Elections, begin to assemble their team and supporters in preparation for an exciting race. Voter turnout, abysmal in 2014, will be a key to victory.
Somehow we survived a January snowstorm this year that walloped the East Coast with D.C. recording 22 inches of that “white stuff” — resulting in the shutdown of highways, major arteries and many neighborhoods as snow removal services worked around the clock to clear away mounds of snow.
Several Black women took center stage during 2016. The first, Anita Hill, who made national headlines 25 years ago after appearing before Congress to address charges of sexual harassment lodged against then U.S. Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas, spoke to a packed audience at American University in April. Among her words: “Equal voice still hasn’t been given to all members of society.”
The second, Maryland Rep. Donna Edwards, hoping to become the first Black woman in the U.S. Senate in more than two decades, lost to fellow Congressman Chris Van Hollen in the primary election. He would go on to win in November as would.
D.C. once again had its expected share of protests, most notably the July outcry of “No Justice, No Peace” — led by angry Americans after prosecutors dropped all charges against Baltimore police officers accused in the arrest and death of Freddie Gray. Tragically, Gray’s death like hundreds of others stemming from confrontations between Blacks and the police, continued to make the news in 2016 — a trend that has not abated in the past few years.
Finally, the National Mall drew a record number of celebrities, dignitaries and everyday folks with the opening of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. It was a day to remember — and The Washington Informer was there.
We have survived another year. And if 2016 was any indication, we had all better put our safety belts on and make sure they’re securely fastened. Because there’s a new “sheriff” in town. And while we can’t predict what Mr. Trump will do, we do know it won’t be conventional.