Much will deservedly be made of Boston City Councilwoman Ayanna Pressley’s defeat of 10-term incumbent Mike Capuano in the Democratic primary September 4 for Massachusetts’ 7th congressional district, which covers about half of Boston, all of Everett, and portions of neighbors such as Somerville and Chelsea.
Pressley, for one thing, will become the first woman of color elected to Congress from Massachusetts; and she’s young, too—44—enough to build up major seniority in a chamber all about seniority as far as leadership positions. (She is running unopposed in the general election, which means her primary win pretty much catapults her to Capitol Hill.)
Does she owe her historic win by nearly 17,000 votes to a single advertisement—in this case, a video of Pressley riding and stopping along the MBTA’s 1 line from Cambridge’s Harvard Square to Roxbury’s Dudley Square?
It’s impossible to say, of course, though the ad and the bus line were central to her ultimately successful message, one that leaned heavily on issues of income inequality and access to opportunity. From an explainer about the ad on Pressley’s campaign site:
Today, when you board the MBTA’s number 1 bus in Cambridge, it’s less than three miles to Dudley Station in Roxbury, but by the time you’ve made the 30-minute trip, the median household income in the neighborhoods around you have dropped by nearly $50,000 a year. As the bus rolls through Back Bay, the average person around you might expect to live until he or she is 92 years old, but when it arrives in Roxbury, the average life expectancy has fallen by as much as 30 years. A student riding the bus home to Dudley is, on average, nearly 20 percent less likely to graduate from high school in four years than a peer living just across the Charles.
The ad itself has gotten nearly 11,000 views on YouTube—and thousands more elsewhere—though a lot of those have come in the hours since her September 4 win.
What’d you think?