POLITICS

Cory Booker's Win Exposes Glaring Senate Reality

10/19/2013 01:53 pm ET | Updated Oct 20, 2013

Hours after Senate-elect Cory Booker (D-N.J.) learned he was headed to Washington, he appeared on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," voicing how frustrations with Congress could be channeled into change.

"I think everybody feels there's fatigue and frustration with how things are, which creates a great climate for change," Booker said. ''Often before you have great victory, you have to have great frustration."

Look no further than Booker's place in history. With Wednesday's win, he became just the second black member currently in the U.S. Senate, along with Tim Scott (R-S.C.). On another historic note, Booker was only the fourth African-American elected to the upper chamber by popular vote, joining current President Barack Obama (D-Ill.), Carol Moseley-Braun (D-Ill.) and Edward William Brooke (R-Mass.).

ThinkProgress noted on Thursday that five other African-Americans, headed by Scott, have served in the Senate. But each was either appointed by governors to fill vacancies, or selected by state legislatures before direct elections were in place.

For the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, NBC News pointed to several trends for African-American politicians over the last half century. Among the notables:

-- Back in 1963, Congress had five black members. As of 2013, that number ballooned to 41 members.

-- Earlier in 2013, Scott and former Sen. Mo Cowan (D-Mass.) served in the Senate together, marking the first time two African-American were serving together. Cowan was appointed to temporarily fill the vacant seat of Secretary of State John Kerry.

-- Scott is favored to win a full term in 2014, and if he can do so, it would make him the first African-American to win a Senate seat by popular vote in the South.

-- If Booker and Scott both win full terms in 2014, it would mark the first time two African-American senators were elected by popular vote.

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