In the days and weeks after Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s shock Democratic primary victory over New York congressman Joe Crowley in June, pundits and assignment editors searching for The Next Big Thing — the next young, charismatic, progressive woman who could topple an older male veteran of Washington — zeroed in on Boston. It took almost no time for Ayanna Pressley to be proclaimed, over and over, “the next Ocasio-Cortez.” The shoe almost fits.
From afar, the parallels are obvious: Pressley, an energetic, progressive African-American city councilor who’s risen to fame among party activists for her impassioned speeches and her willingness to jump into an uphill race no one once thought she could win, is taking on ten-term congressman Mike Capuano in a district that’s so unassailably blue that the primary winner is essentially assured of a victory come November. (Capuano won the district, which was once represented by John F. Kennedy, by 72 points in 2016.) Shortly after Ocasio-Cortez’s victory, the two women started expressing support for each other, and now the Queens congresswoman-to-be is a frequent topic of discussion around Pressley. At a meet-and-greet with about a dozen Harvard Medical School biomedical students on Thursday, Pressley’s introducer invoked the New Yorker almost immediately. Pressley has leaned into a particularly politically potent divide on policy between her and Capuano — she wants to abolish ICE, he wants to reform it — and her argument against him is, in large part, that it’s time for generational change. “I am primarying a 20-year Democratic incumbent who has not only been serving for a generation, has not had a challenge in a generation,” she told the students gathered around her in a comfy common room. “He earned 23 percent of the vote 20 years ago, and has not gotten challenged for 20 years.”
More news/video/tweets/etc. in the comments.