Hopey-Changey Thing Working Out For Massachusetts's Next Congresswoman, Ayanna Pressley
The times they have a-changed.
Big electoral doin's in Massacussetts yesterday, where Boston City Councilwoman Ayanna Pressley won the Democratic primary for the 7th Congressional District, beating 20-year incumbent Michael Capuano in a huge upset. Capuano had been a steady progressive in the House, but Pressley's win reflects not so much a shift in policy preferences as in demographics and representation. The 7th has always been a very liberal district -- the seat was previously held by JFK and Tip O'Neill -- and now that it's the Bay State's only majority-minority district, voters have decided they want representation that looks like them and shares more of their lived experience. Plus, just about everyone on Twitter who's seen Pressley speak describes her as an absolute political whiz, an expert at bringing people together.
There's no Republican even running for the seat, so Pressley is set to become the first black woman Massachusetts will send to Congress. (Please mentally add the joke from the old minimalist "Where I'm Coming From" comic, circa 1990 or so, where a character thinks, by now, there shouldn't be anything left for anyone to be the "first black woman" to do, anywhere.)
The election was decided ridiculously early -- just over an hour after polls closed, with only 13 percent of the vote counted, Capuano conceded, and passed the torch with the sort of grace that ought not to be surprising, but is, telling his supporters,
I'm sorry it didn't work out, but this is life, and this is okay. America's going to be okay. Ayanna Pressley is going to be a good congresswoman, and I will tell you that Massachusetts will be well-served.
In her own speech, Pressley thanked Capuano for his 20 years of service, and for pushing her to be a strong competitor (we'd embed the speech, but the audio is painfully low). She'd campaigned on the slogan "change can't wait," and that clearly referred to taking on Donald Trump. In her victory address, Pressley talked Blue Wave, and energizing the youngs that are going to get it done, telling her fired-up supporters,
"[We] have together ushered in something incredible."
"People who feel seen and heard for the first time in their lives, a stakehold in democracy and a promise for our future," she said. "That is the real victory, that is bigger than any electoral victory. And I want to thank you all for being foot soldiers in this movement and for ushering in this change."
And yes, she also was the star of this viral video showing her reaction to hearing the news. We're a big fan of her stepdaughter jumping up and down, too:
New York Times reporter Astead Wesley tweeted this lovely photo, by NYT's Sarah Rice, of little Cora Harris at her stepmom's victory party:
What an image in our story: Here's Ayanna Pressley's stepdaughter watching her mother claim victory and become the… https://t.co/oLAwIWUSJx
— Astead (@Astead) 1536118846.0
It's a hell of a nice change from one of the first times Yr Dok Zoom remembers thinking America was fucked: that horrifying 1976 photo of whites in Boston protesting school integration, with the one white guy trying to use an American flag to impale a black attorney. We can't pretend the current hell is a good place, but wins like Ayanna Pressley's certainly give us a sliver of hope about how we're going to put this mess behind us. As the meme from last year says, this IS the future liberals want.
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