“Race is a factor in everything”: Mass. progressive challenger Ayanna Pressley defends against charges of “ID politics”
According to reports from the Boston Globe, incumbent Boston area Congressional Representative Michael Capuano and challenger City Councilor Ayanna Pressley took part in a wide-ranging debate earlier this week.
Despite Capuano’s establishment credentials and endorsements from the likes of John Lewis, Pressley, much like Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez before her (who has endorsed Pressley), is taking her challenge to a powerfully connected incumbent seriously.
By the Globe’s account, the primary debate at the University of Massachusetts Boston was often contentious, even as they both conceded they share many of the same views.
Pressley, who is the first Black woman elected to Boston’s city council, is looking to involve the local activist community in actions against Trump. She also emphasized that, as a Black woman, she would best represent the demographics of the district, saying, “You cannot have a government for and by the people if it is not represented by all of the people.”
Capuano countered by pointing to his track record of securing federal funding for renovations and improvement of the city infrastructure before telling the crowd, “That’s advocacy: knowing how to get things done, knowing how to get things done for the benefits of this district.”
Capuano currently leads in early polling, but when moderators pressed the candidates on the difference between how they will lead, Pressley put forth the more radical and transformative agenda, saying to the attendees, “We will vote the same way, but we will lead differently.” Pressley previously stressed surviving sexual assault and being raised by her mother because her father was addicted to drugs and incarcerated. “I will lead in coalition and in partnership with community to spotlight and emphasize new things,” such as racial disparities in maternal health and a bill of rights for survivors of gun violence.”
Pressley, like Ocasio-Cortez, is also in favor of defunding ICE, though she has not used the term abolish. When asked a question about it, she responded, “The president has to be ordered not to give children psychotropic drugs, but I’m the one that’s tripping (for wanting to defund ICE)?”
Pressley has also been facing accusations of engaging in “identity politics,” to which she issued a forceful response in a clip of which has now gone viral. “Race is a factor in everything,” Pressley declared. “But let me say this outright because I have been really furious about these constant charges being lobbed against me of identity politics, which by the way are only lobbed at women and candidates of color. I happen to be black and a woman and unapologetically both, but that is not the totality of my identity.”
The final debate between the candidates has been scheduled for August 15th on Boston’s WGBH program titled “Greater Boston”.
To any progressive candidate or campaign that has had the charge of “identity politics” thrown at you in an attempt to marginalize and minimize, this from @AyannaPressley is a must watch. Wow. #mapoli #ma7 pic.twitter.com/QupcyJQYk9
— Alex Goldstein (@alexjgoldstein) August 8, 2018