MAGOV14 : CHARLIE BAKER’S BEST POLL NUMBERS YET SEND A MESSAGE

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^ being a Massachusetts governor means speaking Massachusetts language : Charlie Baker speaking Massachusetts-ese to voters at a meet and greet

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The Boston Globe’s new poll of Massachusetts’s Governor election yields Charlie Baker his best numbers yet. He now polls 36 percent, while his likely Democratic opponent, Martha Coakley, draws only 39 percent.

Last week, the same poll had it Coakley 40, Baker 35. And that poll was a better Baker result than the previous Globe poll, which showed Coakley at 40, Baker at 32.

Clearly, Baker is amassing support, and doing so the best way : slowly, gradually, one voter at a time, so to speak. He is doing it as it should be done : by increasing his own support, not by taking support away from an opponent.

The strongest campaigns take care to run themselves : not to negate the other guy or gal, but to create a Yes and add many Yes’s to it. Positive support is hard to lose. Voters voting against one candidate can be swayed easily; their loyalty is to “dislike,” not to a candidate. Baker will surely take votes from people disliking his opponent, but he much prefers — or should much prefer — votes that want him no matter who the opponent is.

Baker seems to understand that in Massachusetts, voters for offices other than national do not vote party, they vote the man or woman. And though in November, there’ll only be two candidates, it’s much wiser for a candidate to run against all of his or her rivals than to pray for the “right” November opponent. Baker is doing that. He is running as if he, Coakley, Grossman, and Berwick were all in the same primary. This is how one wins in Massachusetts.

One runs for Governor of Massachusetts not on a party basis, because the issues aren’t party issues. 80 % of Massachusetts voters know what they want : a positive agenda, progressive but not pie in the sky, well managed, reformist, sensible and flexible, on issues economic, administrative, judicial; on energy policy, criminal justice, immigration. The one issue that almost all Massachusetts voters agree should be uncompromised is civil rights. A governor must voice passionately full rights for every sort of person. A governor candidate who trims on civil rights is in trouble; one who opposes them is toast.

Because 80% of Massachusetts voters agree on what they want and to what degree, the deciders become (1) who can do the job the best (2) whose priorities do we want and (3) who can best work with the Legislature to get them done.

None of this is a party matter. Baker gets this. His campaign has been devoid of party bias. He is campaigning in Massachusetts language and doing so convincingly.

Baker is quite lucky that none of his three opponents matches his command of Massachusetts-speak. Berwick cannot do so because his policy agenda is too radical. Coakley cannot do so because she speaks vague rather than competence. Steve Grossman can’t do so because his support rises from the Democratic party voters who insist on being Democrats first. The party Is their agenda, as it is not for at least two-thirds of Massachusetts voters. Only of late — probably too late — has Grossman begun to sound less like a Democrat and more like a Massachusetts. He remains far, far behind Coakley in the new Boston Globe poll.

But now to the Poll and its message about Baker.

Baker’s favorable-unfavorable-not well enough known numbers are 47 to 18 to 35.
Coakley’s numbers in this regard are 54 to 37 to 9.
Grossman’s numbers here stand at 33 to 14 to 52.
Don Berwick’s numbers embarrass his progressivism : 10 to 5 to 85.

Head to head, Baker gets 36 percent to Coakley’s 39; 37 to Grossman’s 29; and 42 to Don Berwick’s 18.

On the issues, Massachusetts voters differ hugely from voters in “red” states :

Do you own a gun ? 66 % say no, only 30 % say yes.
Should we have stricter gun control ? 47 % say yes, 35 % say we have enough; only 15 % say we should have less gun control.
Should the casino law be repealed ? 51 % say no, 41 % say yes.
Do you feel safe at night ? 96 % ay yes, only 4 % say no.
Do you feel safe walking your neighborhood at night ? 84 % say yes, only 13 % say no.

Clearly Massachusetts voters are not ruled by fear and thus are not obsessed by guns. Indeed, far more people (37 %) have a very unfavorable opinion of the NRA than the 17% who have a very favorable opinion of it.

28 % of our voters identify as liberals, 28 % as conservatives, although of the 39% who identify as moderates there is a 26 to 39 lean toward conservative. Query, however, what Massachusetts voters mean by “conservative.” i doubt that they mean Tea Party or Koch Brothers. Probably more a state of mind than a political agenda.

Massachusetts voters are optimistic about themselves and their community, pragmatic, open minded, wanting reform but not repeal — a way of saying “decided questions should remain decided” — and ready to think as citizens, not loners. Thinking as citizens, Massachusetts voters want a governor who knows what he or she believes in, who can articulate an agenda authoritatively, who speaks the phrases of flexibility, open to new facts and situations, able to change his or her mind if need be, to walk back inadequate remarks without hedging; a shrewd dealer and a good guy or gal who treats everyone as a friend and neighbor.

As you must already have surmised, that is a description of Charlie Baker.

—- Mike Freedberg / Here and Sphere

OBAMA-CARE IS HERE TO STAY, AND IT’S GOOD FOR THE ECONOMY

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^ The President argued thus for the ACA

Obama-care – the Affordable Health Care Act enacted into law in 2009 – is here to stay. It should be. It is going to be a huge benefit to the economy, not to mention to the 50,000,000 Americans for whom it will provide basic health insurance.

The 50 million who the ACA will insure will now enjoy better heath, fewer sick days out from work, and far less expensive medical care. Currently the 50 million have only one choice : use an emergency room at a hosp[ital, at which, thanks to legislation enacted 30 years ago, all care is fully paid for by the Federal government. That care is hugely expensive. Under the ACA, people who had only the emergency room option will now have insurance. That insurance will be purchased through exchanges, on which competition between insurance companies will drive down costs – indeed, is already driving them down.

New York State is only the first to announce, recently, that health care costs for its residents have dropped almost 50 per cent. The same will be true in every other state.

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^ Governor Cuomo, announcing that the ACA has given NY an almost 50 % decrease in the state’s health care costs

Or, should we say, the same will be true IF the other states fully implement the ACA and its purchase exchanges. Many Republican-governed states are refusing to do so. Others are implementing the ACA only in part. In many such states, purchase costs are rising, not dropping. This seems to be policy in some Republican states. They want the law repealed, and by squeezing the law so as to make insurance more expensive they hope to turn public opinion against the ACA. It’s cynical, and it’s quite immoral.

Why would even Republicans not want every resident to have health insurance, when such insurance provides such palpable benefits to the economy ? Fewer sick days taken by workers, better health for workers generally, and lower insurance costs ? With lower insurance costs and fatter pay checks, more income available for consumer discretionary spending ? Remember that two-thirds of the ENTIRE economy is consumer spending. Any economy-conscious politician would want as much consumer spending as feasible.

It’s a fascinating question. Since voters all vote – assuming they aren’t kept from voting by various GOP “vote suppression” laws – one would think that the GOP would want to win these votes, not throw them away. Why are they doing this ?

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 ^ 40 times, the GOP-controlled House has voted to repeal the ACA.

The GOP is well funded by huge corporations who view employees as a burden, not an asset; who don’t want to promote employee loyalty, or job satisfaction, and who don’t understand, or give a damn about, the economic impact of stress and poor health. These same companies are – or say they are – delaying to hire new workers because they can’t yet process the ACA’s impact on their health insurance contributions.

We at Here and Sphere do not believe it. What company would delay hiring workers needed to service expanded demand for product or service ? What company would deliberately retard its revenue that way ?

Other companies that fund the GOP are refusing the ACA because, so they claim, their religious values forbid them from insuring women’s reproductive health. This is outrageous. What right does an employer have to impose its religion on employees’ health ? Then there’s the employers that are hiring but only for part time work covering less hours than would require health insurance. Surely this is an unfair labor practice that the NLRB needs to challenge.

It is these corporations which, by huge donations directly to the GOP or by way of ALEC, the legislative drafting arm of America’s anti-ACA, anti-women, anti-civil rights interest groups, are buying the non-compliance of GOP office holders and thereby grievously impacting the course of ACA implementation. Grievous delay is, not, however, going to stand. It will not last long. The Act will be implemented, insurance costs will go down, and eventually the nation might even work its way toward the real health care solution: enrolling all Americans in Medicare.

That would be simple. Unhappily, in politics, simple is never liked by those who profit of complication.

— the Editors / Here and Sphere