A cyclist who was fired after flipping the bird — making a rude single-fingered gesture — to US President Donald Trump’s motorcade has been elected to local office in Virginia.
Juli Briskman, whose one-handed salute was captured in an AFP photograph that went viral, beat the Republican incumbent to a seat on the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors in state elections that saw Trump’s Republican party suffer a series of stinging defeats.
The single mother of two teens lost her job as a marketing analyst for a United States government and military subcontractor after the snapshot of her gesture spread across media and the internet in 2017, bringing her insults and threats.
But getting fired also opened “a lot of doors”, the 52-year-old told AFP during her campaign, including accepting an invitation to run for local office on the Democratic ticket.
That decision paid off on Tuesday night, as Briskman celebrated her victory in a tweet that linked to a copy of the image.
“Looking forward to representing my friends & neighbors in #Algonkian District who backed me up today! So proud that we were able to #FlipLoudpun,” she wrote.
With 52 percent of the vote after 99 percent of precincts had reported, the result saw Republican Suzanne Volpe beaten into second place.
When fighting her campaign in Loudoun County — the wealthiest in the US — Briskman didn’t bring up the image that sparked her 15 minutes of fame unless homeowners started “talking about the administration” or commented on her bicycle pin.
Instead, the ultramarathon runner told AFP she wanted to show that there was “substance” behind her candidacy — education, women’s rights, transportation and environmental issues — and that she wasn’t “just the person that rode my bike one day and flipped off the president.”
Her success comes as Trump’s party also lost control of both chambers of the legislature in increasingly blue Virginia, US media including The New York Times projected.
Democrats will now hold all major statewide offices and rule the state assembly, a comprehensive consolidation of power not seen in the state since the 1990s.
How Democratic women drove the 2018 blue wave
After Hillary Clinton lost to a talking yam with criminal tendencies in 2016, a number of people got antsy about the idea that the country was really ready yet to embrace women in politics. But a huge number of Democratic women rejected that narrative and instead decided that the solution was for more women to run for office. The result? A record-setting number of women elected to Congress and a Democratic majority in the House of Representatives.
This artivcle first appeared in Salon.
WATCH: Pete Buttigieg surges to first place in ‘gold standard’ poll of Iowa caucuses
South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg surged in a poll of Iowa released Saturday night.
The poll, by Des Moines Register, CNN and Mediacom, showed major movement in the race.
"Since September, Buttigieg has risen 16 percentage points among Iowa’s likely Democratic caucusgoers, with 25% now saying he is their first choice for president. For the first time in the Register’s Iowa Poll, he bests rivals Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, who are now clustered in competition for second place and about 10 percentage points behind the South Bend, Indiana, mayor," the newspaper reported.
More female Republicans will lose in 2020 as ‘misogynist’ Trump wages a ‘war on women’: Ex-GOP candidate
President Donald Trump's actions will harm female Republicans at the ballot box in 2020, according to a former GOP counsel for the House Oversight Committee.
Sophia Nelson, who ran for Congress as a Republican, made her argument in The Daily Beast.
"Donald Trump has attacked so many women in so many ways for their looks, their age, or their position it can be hard to keep track," Nelson wrote. "But the president took his attacks on strong, accomplished and independent women even further in his attacks on his own U.S. ambassador, Marie Yovanovitch, telling Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that 'the former ambassador from the United States, the woman, was bad news.' That was in the now infamous phone call that led to the impeachment hearings that began this week, and Friday, in the middle of Yovanovitch’s testimony there, he tweeted that 'everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad.'”