Time for U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley to break up the “squad” and forge her own path.
Being a member of U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s self-appointed far left band of lawmakers — which gave the freshman Pressley instant fame and celebrity — may have outlived its usefulness.
By casting her lot with AOC, the Boston congresswoman is risking becoming a fringe figure and not a party leader.
The “squad” has been marginalized — especially most recently by former President Barack Obama, who criticized the “defund the police” movement so near and dear to AOC and other lefties.
Obama and President-elect Joe Biden have deftly put the squad out of the mainstream and onto the edges of the Democratic Party. Biden has made it clear he plans to govern as a centrist, and has shut out liberal darlings Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren from his cabinet and kept the Green New Deal out of his administration.
For better or worse, Biden is casting his lot with establishment figures like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — who has been engaged in a long-running feud with Ocasio-Cortez.
Biden is wisely keeping Ocasio-Cortez at bay, and not giving in to her demands to be included in the new administration.
He may have to throw AOC and other left wing groups a few bones, but it won’t put them in a position of real power and responsibility.
This is bad news for Pressley, the Boston congresswoman who has been vocal about left wing causes like police and prison reform. She doesn’t want to get caught up in AOC’s drama with Obama, who is the most popular Democrat in the nation.
If she really wants to have an impact, Pressley’s future lies in running for an office like Boston mayor or maybe even Massachusetts governor.
And there are some hints that Pressley might be thinking more of branching out of the squad and making a statewide or citywide run in the near future.
Just last week Pressley came out swinging against Gov. Charlie Baker, bashing him for weakening a police reform bill and threatening to veto it.
It may be an indication that Pressley is thinking more locally and not so much about a national platform.
In a joint statement with Suffolk District Attorney Rachael Rollins and others, Pressley blasted Baker for sending back the police reform bill with amendments, calling them “self-serving attempts to maintain the status quo by a deafening chorus of voices who themselves have likely never been on the receiving end of racial profiling, the excessive use of force, no-knock warrants, or biased and error-prone facial recognition technology.”
There’s an outside chance Pressley could decide to launch a gubernatorial campaign in 2022 — whether Baker decides to run or not. Pressley might be the only Democrat capable of ousting the popular Republican governor.
But the liberal lawmaker could walk right into the Boston mayor’s office without much of a fight if Mayor Marty Walsh decides not to run for a third term. She would make history as the city’s first nonwhite mayor and become a leader among the nation’s group of big city mayors.
Pressley would even stand a good chance of beating Walsh if he goes for a third term. She may be the only opponent Walsh truly fears.
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