Voters to party establishment: ‘We’re in charge here’

Jocelyn Antonio, of Quincy, Mass., center, a supporter of Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley, celebrates Pressley’s victory over U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano, D-Mass., in the 7th Congressional House Democratic primary, Tuesday in Boston. Steven Senne | AP

If there are two non-southern states that are mirrors of each other, it’s Massachusetts and Minnesota. So yesterday’s primary election results in the Bay State carry a couple of important messages beyond the border: the next generation of politicians isn’t waiting their turn, and voters are coming for members of Congress, no matter what party they’re in.

Oh, and the era of the old, white guy is beginning to vanish. That’s something the fossils of politics considering jumping into the race for president in 2020 are going to need to think about.

With her win in the Democratic primary last night, Boston City Council member Ayanna Pressley is poised to become the first African American to represent Massachusetts in Congress. She knocked off three-term incumbent Mike Capuano in a sliced-up district that’s only 33 percent white.

The win — along with similar victories in Florida, Georgia, New York, and Illinois is a sign that the Democratic Party activists are no longer willing to wait for the party insiders to deliver on their promises of more inclusive representation, NPR’s Asma Khalid said.

Pressley didn’t have much money. She didn’t have the support of the Democratic establishment.

Message: the power of incumbency is weakening, the Boston Globe says today in its editorial, which noted upstarts did well in knocking off other incumbents in legislative races.

The new reality — that officeholders should expect challengers — should encourage politicians to stay on their toes and take nothing for granted. At the same time, the success of challengers like Pressley should entice anyone who’d ever contemplated a primary challenge in Massachusetts.

Run. It’s a new world, and you don’t have to wait. Just ask Ayanna Pressley.

It was an inevitable fall for a system whose incumbents claim ownership of congressional seats that are actually owned by voters, and whose ascent up the political latter are dictated by whose turn it is.

Those opponents have now awakened with a rallying cry: “Lead, follow, or get out of the way.”