A New Day for Boston

Boston politics has taken a turn. The Last Hurrah was 65 years ago – the classic obituary novel about those noisy Irish rascals who ran City Hall for much of the twentieth century. That era isn’t just over, it’s almost forgotten. For the first time in a century this year, there wasn’t one Irish man on the Boston ballot for mayor. In the finals it’s come down to two progressive women – ancestries in East Asia and North Africa.  It feels like a first hurrah for something else: it’s multi-ethnic, significantly female, all shades of black and brown, fired-up by issue activism, and still it’s almost cordial, even upbeat. The big issue could be the embarrassment of wealth, how not to let the rents and house prices in a rocketing real estate market drive poor people out. A new day for Boston may be next.

The Mayor’s race in Boston could be telling us: don’t give up just yet on the American way of politics. Don’t give up on the home of the bean and the cod, either. By 2021, the big old town of tribal neighborhoods might as well be on a different planet. The finalists for mayor are both women, family roots in Taiwan and Tunisia. The race is driven by a fresh wave of activists and organizers weaned on the pandemic, the climate crisis, and Black Lives Matter. Yet the air of Boston politics is all its own, far from the national dystopia, utterly un-Trumpian in tone.  Democracy is still celebrated in Boston. Andrea Campbell strikes our keynote: in the preliminary for mayor she ran a close third, so she missed the runoff. And nonetheless she glows, recounting what she learned about the city and herself.

Guest List
Andrea Campbell
Member of the Boston City Council.
Carlton Williams
Movement lawyer.
Armani White
Organizer with Reclaim Roxbury.
Kendra Hicks
Boston City Council candidate.
Sheena Collier
Founder of Boston While Black.
Sidney Baptista
Founder of PIONEERS Run Crew.

Related Content