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Top One Magazine

Why we’re spotlighting who’s shaking up race and politics

A year ago, POLITICO launched The Recast, a new editorial franchise with a mandate to unpack how race and identity shape politics, policy and influence — a mandate that’s become more pressing in an increasingly hyperpolarized Washington.

In our twice-weekly newsletter and in our deep-dive reporting, we’ve been exploring the new spheres of influence emerging – and showcasing new faces of power. And we’ve also been telling stories about how power within government, campaigning and activism is being redefined.

Now we’re broadening that mission — and celebrating our anniversary — by debuting the inaugural Recast Power List. 

What is this Power List?

It’s an introduction to a class of leaders reshaping the national conversation — 40 people and organizations that had a measurable impact on politics over 2021, and promise to continue that momentum in the years to come.

There are Republican and Democratic elected officials in Washington and mayors from various cities. Trailblazers who broke barriers with their appointments at the highest level of government. Activists who forged sustained campaigns to sway elected officials or galvanize voters. Athletes and entertainers who advanced social causes — or ticked off politicians with their artistic expression.

We’re not lumping folks into specific categories or ranking them. Love them or hate them, respect them or not, these individuals were undeniably crucial in driving conversations about race and politics.

What was the selection process?

Rest assured, these nominations were not made lightly.

It was a rigorous process that began in October and continued through the start of the New Year. A collection of roughly a dozen staffers from across the POLITICO newsroom had to nominate at least five people, present to the group why their picks should make the list, and defend their choices.

The general guidelines we considered:

  • Did the nominee have actionable influence? Did their statement, work or action lead to a measurable change?
  • Did that change happen between 2021 and 2022?
  • Was the nominee a disrupter of some status quo? 
  • Is the nominee politically outspoken?
  • And broadly: Do we have a good balance of people? Do they represent the biggest political issues of 2021?

Not everyone made it through this gauntlet. We — The Recast committee — spent hours debating and truth squadding before we came up with the final nominees listed here.

But we also have to thank you, our Recast family, for helping choose some of the nominees. A number of you provided suggestions through our public callout. We’re so glad you engaged — and we’ve labeled which nominees were audience picks on the list!

What should I do now?

Scroll through the nominees at your leisure. Post about them on your socials — you can use #TheRecast40 — or in your group chats.

And let us know: Who did we get wrong? Whom did we miss? Upset about a nominee in particular? Don’t hold back, we can handle it. We’ll be on the lookout for who should appear on our Power List next year.

Hit us up at [email protected] … and if you haven’t already, subscribe to the newsletter. We’ll be hitting your inbox every Tuesday and Friday with the latest scoops and analysis exploring how race, identity and culture impact American politics and policymaking.

(In case you’re wondering, here’s our selection committee: Brakkton Booker, Darius Dixon, Rishika Dugyala, Maya King, Charlie Mahtesian, Alexander Nieves, Eli Reyes, Sabrina Rodriguez, Delece Smith-Barrow, Teresa Wiltz, Nicholas Wu.)

All the best,
The Recast Team

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