^ instead of “unity breakfasts,’ candidates should breakfast with the voters, because it is they who will decide the election
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This year’s Governor election will be decided by the voters — and not by the party insiders. In the Republican party, the insiders have already done their job, and could do so because the Massachusetts GOP is so small. The Democratic insiders, however, were unable to get their favorites chosen by primary voters three times as numerous. Even less so will the Democratic insiders be able to determine the winner in November. The GOP’s insiders won’t have that power either.
Two million voters will vote in the November election. In the era of ubiquitous social media, it is they who will choose the winner. The Democrats can hold “unity breakfasts” till Hallowe’en and it won’t win their candidate the election. Those “unity breakfasts’ will, to the contrary, prejudice voters’ perception of Martha Coakley. Masschusetts voters know plenty about our state’s politics. They know that insiders’ interests often — usually — differ frtom the voters’ priorities. They know that insiders look at politics from the opposite direction to how the voters look.
This is not to say that Massachusetts voters are ‘anti government.” They aren’t. Massachusetts voters have big expectations of state goverment. They want it to do a lot. What they do look skeptically at is WHO does it and HOW. Massachusetts voters perceive — I think correctly — that insiders lose track of what the voters want, and when, and how urgently, and that insiders cannot resist the pleas of one another, most of whom are personal friends to one another, to get things done for them first; the voters can wait.
This is what we’ve seen happening to Beacon Hill all over the past four years. Many projects don’t happen at all; others happen fitfully, or get the shaft because of unerfunding or amateurish oversight. Others waste huge money or are sidelined by incompetent contractors and project executives.
No insider clique can cover that up, though believe me, they have tried to and are continuing to try tpo.
Republican governor candidate Charlie Baker calls it the inevitable consequence of one-party rule. He is correct, but why it happens as it does isn’t simple. One factor: Speaker Robert DeLeo has run his branch of the legislature as dictatorially as he has because the legislature — whose members hear from actual voters all the time — has been frustrated constantly by governor administration diffident at best, incompetent and misdirected too.
Poor administration and insider cocoons have led to an almost complete lack of state governement effect on the economy and lives of voters who live outside the Boston media market — beyond Rouute 495. it’s no accident that those regions of the state now vote overwhelmingly Republican. Voting Republican is, in Massachusetts, the ultmate protest vote against “Beacon Hill.” And yes, the upper Conmnecticut valley and Berkshire county today vote overwhelmingly the other way. Why ? Because the University of Massachusetts (and nearby colleges), sited therein and a huge employer, does deliver effective higher education. No need to protest that.
If the insiders won;t win the election for their candidate, what will ? Answer : the candidates themsleevs and their campaigns. Is it that hard to believe that campaigns matter ? That most voters in Massachusetts vote for the candidate, not for a party ? Those who do find this hard to believe are going to have a hard time figuring out why November’s winner wins.
—- Mike Freedberg / Here and Sphere