^ ’tis a season for re-election : Governor Baker and Senator Warren

An election is not a party primary. As a result, we do not feel that political party identification has more than incidental to do with who should lead our state and county, and our endorsements reflect that. As for who we send to Washington, political party does matter a lot, thanks to the capture of our Federal government by narrowly partisan institutions, vote blocs, and donor groups. Thus our endorsements for national office involve party affiliation.

United States Senator : we endorse Elizabeth Warren. She’s far from perfect. She can be careless, and her “Accountability capitalism” proposal is wildly impractical. Yet on the major issues that partisans have caused to divide the nation — immigration reform,. health care for all, student debt relief, economic policy, and government accountability, she is a stalwart voice for common sense, equal rights, and economic flexibility. Warren also has a much more bipartisan record of legislative co-operation than the major media lets on. Meanwhile, her two opponents fall far short. Shiva’s campaign is a Pocahontas joke — low-grade slapstick, and Geoff Diehl’s platform mirrors that of President Trump in all its injustices and ranting horror.  Warren could have had a worthy opponent had Republican primary voters chosen Beth Lindstrom, or even John Kingston, but they chose Mr. Trump’s Massachusetts chairman and will have to live with the consequences. We are glad to recommend a second term for Senator Warren.

Governor : we endorse Charlie Baker. Some voters feel that Baker hasn’t supported sufficient reforms, others feel that he has supported much too much. That’s an argument for another day. We support re-electing Baker for three reasons : ( 1 ) he has involved almost every local government body as well as the legislature in a co-operative drive for all kinds of public policy reforms, from workforce housing and infrastructure repair to state administration modernization, MBTA renewal, criminal justice reform, full civil rights for transgender people, and the $ 15/hour minimum wage ( 2 ) he has recognized the best of “identity politics” by organizing, and focusing upon, specific task forces developing policy for the Black Community, Latino community, and the LGBTQ community: and he has devoted countless hours to outreaching to both leaders and ordinary members of all three communities. ( 3 ) he has refused to take the Governor’s office into the national political maelstrom — with a few significant exceptions — and has thus enabled Massachusetts political and civic life to seek consensus without fear of retribution. And consensus reform is always the most lasting and effective.

Baker’s opponent, Jay Gonzalez, is a nice enough guy, and well qualified for administrative office, but it’s hard to see how he could improve upon Baker’s work or even match it. His policy proposals also put him at odds with state consensus.

In effect, Baker has seen that in an era of national political dissonance, a state, well led, can go its own way and accomplish its own political goals pretty much unimpeded. And that is what he has done, brilliantly. If anyone ever deserved re-election, it’s Governor Baker. We endorse him for a second term.

Congress, 3rd District : The “Third” is an open seat resulting from Nikki Tsongas’s decision to not seek another term. It’s also the only seriously contested Congress seat in our state. There are three other contests — the 2nd, 8th, and 6th Districts — but we aren’t impressed with the efforts mounted by any of these three challengers to Democratic incumbents in addition, we feel that party does matter here. It is crucial that the Democrats take control of the House, both to stop the hurtful proposals from Mr. Trump as well as the rollback works sought by the so-called “freedom caucus.” Democratic control is also needed in order to get the nation closer to immigration reform that works for immigrants as well as born here citizens.

Toward that objective, we endorse Lori Trahan, the Democratic nominee. Her opponent, Rick Green, has run a smart, locally-based, nuts and bolts campaign that, in ordinary times,would match what voters should want from Congress. Yet Green, by talking local, has avoided, probably for good reason, how he would vote on Trump or Freedom caucus initiatives; nor is it likely that he would support any kind of immigration reform other than a bare minimum. Meanwhile, Trahan has been a “max” donor to Governor Baker and is therefore a proven bipartisan voice, which we like as we’ve said, and will, in addition, support the kinds of legislation which a Republican-led Congress will not.

We endorse electing Lori Trahan the 3rd District’s Congress-person.

The nation at Large : we are a Massachusetts-based medium, but we have readers elsewhere, and we feel also a duty to the entire nation where Congress is involved. Thus we make the following endorsements for Congress and Senator from states beyond our state’s borders :

Congress : in almost every Congressional District that has a contest on hand, we urge a vote for the Democrat. The exceptions we are aware of are few., 17 total. We support only the following Republican Congress members : Will Hurd (Texas 23), Carlos Curbelo (Florida-26), Leonard Lance (New Jersey-7), Steve Chabot (Ohio-1), David Valadao (California-20), John Culberson (Texas-7), Brian Fitzaptrick (Pennsylvania-1), Dan Donovan (New York 11), John Katko (New York-24), Peter King (New York-2), Mike Bost (IL-12), Scott King (PA-10), Tom Reed (NY-23), Elise Stefanik (NY-21), and Pete Roskam (Illinois-12). We also support these two Republicans running in open seats : Louisa Marisa Salazar (Florida-27) and Young Kim (California-39). In every other case, we support electing the Democrat.

Senator : It’s not the same matter here as in the House. states have interests of their own, particularly in a time of national dysfunction. Who best represents the interests and views of their state is thus our endorsement basis. We also list some Senator candidates who we can’t endorse but whose candidacy seems appropriate for the state they are running in.

Endorsements : Martha McSally (AZ-R), Bill Nelson (FL-D), Jon Tester (MT-D), Joe Manchin (WV-D), Amy Klobuchar (MN-D), Sherrod Brown (OH-D), Bob Casey (PA-D), Phil Bredesen (TN-D), Kevin Cramer (ND-R), Cindy Hyde-Smith (MS-R), Josh Hawley(MO-R), Dean Heller (NV-R), and Mitt Romney (UT-R). 

There are significant contests also in Indiana, Texas, Michigan, New Jersey, and the second Minnesota seat (to fill remainder of Al Franken’s term). The Indiana race leaves us unimpressed by either Joe Donnelly, the present Senator, or Mike Braun, his major challenger. Texas pits the media favorite Beto O’Rourke against incumbent Ted Cruz, who won’;t win any Mr Congeniality prizes. Polls suggest Cruz will win re-election ? that’s probably how Texas wants it. New Jersey features a damaged Democratic incumbent against a Republican pharma CEO: best we pass this one by. We would like to support John James, the Republican running in Michigan against Debbie Stabenow: but we’re not sure of his political views. as for the Minnesota contest, Democratic incumbent Tina Smith seems unimpressive, but her challenger, Karen Housley, has some history of racial insensitivity that she hasn’t yet cleared up. Our recommendation ? Do your own research if you vote in one of these contests.

That completes our first round of endorsements and recommendations. We’ll do our more local endorsements on Friday.

—- Mike Freedberg for the Editors / Here and Sphere



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