Capuano vs Pressley: Gerrymandering Works: Blacks Finally Get Representation

Was it that Michael Capuano had no clout in the new redistricting plan that was drawn up after the 2010 election? He had been elected to Congress in 1998 which should have given him at least a little more influence than Stephen Lynch from South Boston who was elected in 2000. It seemed that was not the case. Was it because of Lynch’s Southie connection that brought Whitey Bulger into the picture to influence the Massachusetts Legislature  on behalf of Lynch as it was drawing up the plan? Their work was being done in 2011. If Whitey hadn’t been hiding out in Santa Monica and captured that year before the plan was signed into law by the governor some would suggest that was the case.

That plan was necessitated because back in 2010 Massachusetts lost one of its seats in the House of Representatives in Congress. This article noted:  “we lose one of our congressional districts as part of the continuing decline of the Northeast and Midwest in favor of the South and West.”  Capuano was asked about it but he passed it off saying, ““Populations shift. That’s part of life.” How little he realized it was going to be a big part of his life. He went on to say: “I’m not that worried about it, in the sense that, look, this has happened before. People tend to forget that at the beginning of the 20th century, we had 16 members in the delegation. He would add, “clout is a function of who you send to Washington.” 

Capuano made those statements in December 2010. He had just been elected to his seventh term in Congress. He was beginning to gain a lot of clout. He had made powerful friends in Congress and elsewhere. He had moved farther and farther away from having an effective organization that could bring out the votes. He was deceiving himself by sitting on his laurels, his haunches and his important friends.

While working the redistricting plan the legislature was being lobbied by different groups seeking to have influence on the new districts. An influential group were the minorities.  Outside of Edward Brooke no minority person had been elected to Congress from Massachusetts. Minority voters wanted a say in Washington, DC.

They argued that what if, what if a district was drawn in the tradition of Governor Elbridge Gerry to slice up communities so that  blacks and Hispanics were packed together to outnumber or at least reach a point where a white candidate who was challenged may not necessarily win. To respond to that pressure the drafters had to make a district that included Boston and some of the surrounding communities.

While about 8% of Massachusetts is black the percentage in Boston and some neighboring communities is higher. Randolph is about 39% black, Boston is 25% and Cambridge is 11%. The Hispanic percentage in some of these places is also high. Chelsea is 48% and Boston 18% Hispanic. Looking at this it was clear that there was a way to draw a map that could put many minorities into the same district. One thing was clear though, a congressman from near Boston would be affected. These were Barney Frank, Stephen Lynch, Bill Keating, and Capuano. Stephen Lynch and Bill Keating worked together where Keating agreed to run from his Cape Cod home rather than the City of Quincy. That allowed Lynch to jettison some areas and pick up Quincy which mirrored much of his home community in South Boston.

The end result was that Capuano’s district would be the one where minorities were given a chance. It became 34% white, 27% black, 21% Hispanic, and 11% Asian. Lynch’s stayed 77% white while Keating’s and Kennedy’s (who replaced Frank) were as white as Lynch’s.

Capuano was in a similar position to that of Joe Crowley who lost to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Capuano, like Crowley, had the endorsement of all the top elected officials. Capuano, like Crowley, were running in minority majority districts. Capuano, like Crowley, had no foot soldiers – people enthused by them that they pounded the streets and went door to door. Ayanna Pressley like Ocasio-Cortez had the workers and the enthusiasm.

Ocasio-Cortez received 57.13% of the vote to Joe Crowley’s 42.5%; Pressley had 58.4%  to Capuano’s 41.6%. These races were not even close. No one should have expected them to be because times are changing where the blacks, Hispanics and Asians like the Irish before them recognize the importance of not only having the vote but utilizing it.

It is nice to have a Pressley back on the national scene. Since Elvis left us and has yet to return perhaps now I can take out my old blue suede shoes and buff them up for one more stroll around the block. I’ll not be able to put my diminishing hair into a duck’s tail but I will wear a white T-shirt with a package of Camels rolled up in my sleeve. Congratulations to Ayanna Pressley for her victory.



10 thoughts on “Capuano vs Pressley: Gerrymandering Works: Blacks Finally Get Representation

  1. True: Ripple effects . . .in the grand schemes of things, the grand themes of life, the grand memes of memory . . .a rising tide lifts all boats except those it sinks . . .a rapidly rising tide capsizes Capuano, the unseaworthy old salt . . .a rising tide down drowns waders who can’t swim or won’t swim with or against the currents . . .or wont float and go with the flow . . . .Bob Dylan, “The Tides they are achangin” . . .Cap didn’t adapt . . .get my drift?

  2. The District was drawn to suit a minority. Capuano seems nottohavehustled locally since his 2010 Senate primary loss. Pressley had a great voter turnout operation. That affected the DA race which seemed the more stunning upset

  3. Barbara Jordan was the brilliant eloqcutioner (sp) (brilliant speaker) from Texas . .now I remember, but forget how to spell elocution

        1. Bill :

          Elocutioner cannot be played in Scrabble.

          Unless Barbara Jordan is teaching elocution she cannot even be described as an elocutionist.

          Any Cquestions ???

  4. Wild Thing was by the Trogs . . .a lot of Lovely Rita Meter Maids were wild things who made our hearts sing in our youth particularly the closer we got Jeromes, the Intermission and the Teddy Bear Lounge . . .
    There’s a few new good books about the Combat Zone and Roger Pace & the Pacemakers and some of the dancers and rock & rollers who stole the stage just after Elvis was king . . know, the mid-60s to late 60s Sgt. Peppers’ Woodstock Nation thang . . .the new fangled thang . . .now the new thing is empty-drum, leftist-loonies seizing the stage . . .along with antifa fascists . . .to end on a sour note . . .But, good luck to the gals . . .hopefully we got a few Joan of Arcs, Mother Theresa’s, Sister Wendy, Margaret Thatchers, and Harvard Law Prof. Mary Ann Glendon-types, among them. Solid soul sisters, like who was that brilliant black Congresswoman from Texas, the gifted orator? And who is that brilliant Hawaii Democrat; she was an Army Officer, a Colonel in Iraq, I think . . .a conservative Dem . . .you know . . .Wild Thing, You Make My Heart Sing . . .An oldie: “The very thought of you, and I forget to do . . .the mere idea of you . . .” I forget . . .the sounds and melodies are clear, the images are clear in my memory, . . .sometimes names and lyrics are lost in a fog . . . “A foggy day in London Town . . .” best sung by Buddy Greco . . .

    Musical musings . . .”Memories, like the colors of my mind, misty water colored memories” “Misty” was another great song . . . “look at me, i’m as helpless as a kitten up a tree . . .”

    Anyway, Congratulations to the women, contestants and winners, in pageants and political races and in the grand schemes of life . . .

  5. by the way, Bridgette’s talent was Irish Step Dancing . . .she too was a classically trained ballerina, but she love Irish Step Dancing best . . .She Said . . .

  6. Good analysis . . .and good memories of You Ain’t Nothin but a Houndog and Love Me Tender Years . . .rock around the clock, what goes around comes around, and now the women are taking charge . . .OK in my book . . .
    Saw the runner up in Miss America was named Bridgette Oei (sp), she looked half-irish, half-Chinese, and the new MIss America was a black girl from New York who was a classical opera singer . . .some of the other talents included classical ballet, piano, and one contestant sang an Old Frank Sinatra tune . . .

    Western Civilization marches onwards and upwards and sails forth this time with more ladies at the helm . . . . . “Wild thing, you make my heart swing, you make everything groovey” from the classic rock & roll tune the Cornpoppers used to play at the Farm in the 1960s, the year before Sgt. Peppers hit streets and airways . . .Lucy in the Sky . . .it was a portend . . .

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