News & Politics

Socialist Star Ocasio-Cortez Celebrates Her 'Sister,' Trump-Hating Dem Insurgent Ayanna Pressley

On Tuesday, Boston City Council member Ayanna Pressley (the first black woman on that city council) won a stunning victory over 10-term incumbent Rep. Michael Capuano (D-Mass.). Pressley only disagreed with Capuano on a few issues, such as abolishing ICE, but she earned the endorsement of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a democratic socialist who unseated Democratic Caucus Chair Joe Crowley in June.

After Ayanna Pressley won her race Tuesday, Ocasio-Cortez hailed her as a “sister in service.”

“Congratulations to my sister in service, [Ayanna Pressley], on continuing her historic path into Congress tonight,” the socialist tweeted. “Let’s push together to make Medicare for All, tuition free college, & living wages a reality in America – all without corporate PAC money.”

While Pressley originally opposed the single-payer health care system pushed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.), she later supported it. Capuano also backed Sanders’ quixotic health care scheme, which would cost approximately $32.6 trillion, according to Mercatus scholar Charles Blahous.

Pressley is not quite so much an outsider as Ocasio-Cortez. She served as a senior aide to former Sen. John Kerry and interned for former Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.).

This insurgent unseated a rather staunch progressive in Capuano. The congressman voted against the Iraq War, supports Sanders-style Medicare-for-all, and is a member of the House Congressional Progressive Caucus. Pressley only disagreed with him on law enforcement issues.

While Capuano argued that the Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) could be reformed under the right administration, Pressley called for defunding ICE and abolishing it. “I do not think it is an agency that can be reformed from the inside-out,” Pressley said of ICE. She called it “irrevocably broken.”

Capuano and Pressley also disagreed on protecting police. Capuano — along with the entire Massachusetts congressional delegation — supports the “Blue Lives Matter” bill, making assaulting a police officer a federal crime. Pressley opposes the bill.

Like Ocasio-Cortez, this insurgent Democrat suggested President Donald Trump is literally Hitler. “While our president is a racist, misogynistic, truly empathy bankrupt man, the conditions which have made the 7th district one of the of most unequal in America was cemented through policies long before he ever descended the escalator at Trump Tower,” Pressley declared in her victory speech, The Guardian reported.

Ocasio-Cortez met Ayanna Pressley months ago. On Tuesday night, the socialist tweeted that she “bonded” with Pressley “over running while constantly told it’s ‘not our turn,’ that we ‘weren’t ready,’ ‘good enough,’ or ‘experienced’ enough. We kept going anyway.”

Pressley has an inspiring story. She grew up in Chicago in what she described as a “tough neighborhood” with a single mother and a father who was “in and out of prison.”

“Bad influences and distractions were around every corner,” she wrote back in 2009 when she was running for City Council, reported. “But I also learned that my neighborhood could be a nurturing, positive place to grow up. We make a mistake when we stereotype neighborhoods as ‘bad,’ and not worth our attention or investment.”

Pressley moved to Boston to attend Boston University, but never graduated, since she left school to support her family after her mother lost her job. She also survived and overcame sexual assault, both as a child and in college.

Despite this inspiring story, Pressley’s positions have proved too extreme even for most of Massachusetts’ congressional delegation.

Since no Republican ran in the primary Tuesday, Ayanna Pressley will be unopposed in November. She will be the first black woman representing Massachusetts in Congress.

While not an outspoken socialist like Ocasio-Cortez, this insurgent Democrat represents many of Bernie Sanders’ positions. It is truly a shame she will not have to face another election in November, no matter how inspiring her story is.