During a Democratic National Committee fundraising meeting, the congresswoman-elect from Massachusetts’ 7th congressional district pointedly shared her vision for the future of the Democratic party. Ayanna Pressley's message to Democrats argued that "making history" in the 2018 midterms wasn't enough — and that the party needs to commit to long-term, systemic change.
BuzzFeed News reported that the Tuesday meeting was attended by some of the party's biggest donors. The outlet received an audio recording of the meeting, during which Pressley emphasized that Democrats should do more to capitalize on the momentum from 2018 to build lasting change. BuzzFeed reported that Pressley asserted:
[Democrats must ask themselves] if we are simply content with making history, or if want to commit ourselves to working together to make a lasting, transformative change.
The future congresswoman also believes the party must ensure that those who are traditionally underrepresented in democratic institutions don't lose the sense of hope perpetuated by 2018's midterms. As the representative-elect described (via BuzzFeed News):
I know, given the new people that we engaged in democracy, that we have restored hope for many. We have given hope to many and we must do everything we can to keep that hope ... Now, we must push ourselves to ask the tough questions about whether or not we provided them with the institutional support so we can break through more glass and concrete ceilings as rapidly as possible ...
Pressley has also previously emphasized the importance of committing to lasting change as legislators are making historic inroads. "Activists and agitators have brought us to this very moment," Pressley asserted in her victory speech on Nov. 6, as reported by Boston.com. "None of us ran to make history. We ran to make change … and change is on the way.’’
The Associated Press (AP) noted that Tuesday's meeting was intended to stir enthusiasm among the Democratic party's donors prior to the 2020 presidential campaign season. In addition to Pressley, the event featured several other high-profile Democrats as speakers, including former Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum and Georgia congresswoman-elect Lucy McBath.
The AP also noted that, ahead of 2020, the Democratic National Committee hopes to improve the party's finances and fundraising and to prepare for what looks to be an intense Democratic presidential primary. Tuesday's event highlighted some of these priorities.
The outlet spoke with Pressley after the meeting and she stressed the importance of inclusiveness when defining the party's future. "We can no longer make assumptions in the party about who desires or deserves a seat at the table of democracy,” Pressley said to the AP. “I may not be invited back,” she joked.
It's certainly clear that Pressley will not hesitate to make her voice heard, especially on behalf of those who supported her election and who are hoping to see lasting change in the future. "Those young people are demanding and expecting more from me. And I owe it to them," she told donors at the meeting, per BuzzFeed. "I ran to fight for the ignored, the left out, and the left behind. ... Together we’ll do that work beginning with our own party.”