By Michael Gates ’15
There is no reason that a Democrat should ever lose an election in Massachusetts. For years, the odds have been, and continue to be, stacked in their favor. Since 1991, Democrats have served 107 terms in the House of Representatives, compared to Republicans serving only four terms. And, in the Senate, besides Scott Brown, the incumbent, there has not been a Republican senator from Massachusetts since Edward Brooke in 1978.
The victory of Scott Brown for Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat put a dent in the deep-blue political spectrum of Massachusetts, and also changed American politics as a whole. This seat would decide key votes among the Senate, such as health care and the stimulus. Massachusetts has been a Democratic stronghold for years, so why the recent change in heart? It’s hard to tell, but it may be the competition and the recent growth in independents.
Brown and Warren battle it out for the Seante (PolicyMic)
In 2010, Brown won in a fairy-tale story type manner over Martha Coakley for the very influential Ted Kennedy Senate seat. Brown at the time was a state senator, not considered a rising politician, as only one of five conservative state senators in Massachusetts. He annihilated the little competition that was presented for the nomination, and moved on to the election. Martha Coakley, on the other hand, was the Mass. Attorney General, well-trained and bred for this liberal style of politics. The Obama administration and the Boston Globe both supported her in the election, yet still Scott Brown arose on top. It was a lengthy campaign, and Coakley made a few mistakes. She ran on Obama’s ideals; after a year in office, he had yet to show much improvement in the economy or the housing market. She tried to relate herself to the “Yes We Can” type principle, while many Americans and many Massachusetts residents were dissatisfied with the first year of Obama’s term. Independents, at the time, were becoming a more and more valuable commodity. And Brown’s bipartisan attitude brought him a huge surge from the independents fed up with the gridlock in Washington. He aired the famous campaign ad, now known as the JFK ad, where Brown turned the beginning of a televised Kennedy public service announcement into an ad. Airing a liberal president in a conservative campaign ad? It does not get more bipartisan than that.
And in this very intense 2012 race between Elizabeth Warren and Brown, the race looks very similar; Coakley and Warren are similar candidates, both attorneys and high standard intellectuals, versus Brown, a more roughian ‘I’m one of you’ type politician. Except the key difference in 2012: independents. Registered Democrats far outnumber Republicans in Mass., but a whopping 52.2% of the population is unregistered, meaning that independents rule. So, Mass. isn’t as deep blue as we thought, but more a purple color, in between red and blue. And the independents’ mascot? Scott Brown. He advertises himself shaking hands with President Obama, who his party is currently trying to tear down. The new image of Brown has become a man in a red and blue shirt, riding around in a pickup truck. In the recent debate at UMASS Lowell, he claimed himself the second most bipartisan senator. It’s become clear that he is pushing toward a more moderate stance for the upcoming election.
Many hope that Brown truly wants to reach across the aisle and encourage moderate politics and the end of the gridlock in Washington, but does he really? It seems more like he is conforming to the Massachusetts parameters that he has been given in order to gain reelection. On the other hand, Elizabeth Warren is not exactly willing to reach across party lines either. She gave a rousing speech at the Democratic National Convention, not so much in support of Obama, but a criticism of Mitt Romney. She especially attacked his tax policy, saying that Romney “wants to give tax cuts to millionaires and billionaires. But for middle class families who are hanging by their fingernails? His plans will hammer them with a new tax hike of up to $2,000 dollars.” Political fact checkers and critics have been all over the speech, accusing it of being not only factually questionable, but also being a far leftist point of view. Yet recently Warren has pulled ahead in the polls by a small three point lead, but whatever the reason is, her Native American heritage is not getting her votes.
If you saw the first debate at UMASS, you would have seen Elizabeth Warren again explaining that she is Cherokee, but did not and does use it to benefit herself in any manner. As ridiculous as it is that Elizabeth Warren could possibly be considered a minority, it is just petty politics not worth the time of Senator Brown, nor the media. The press has shaped politics into lost birth certificates and heritage, when the focus should be on health, jobs, taxes, the economy, the military, and MONEY. Elizabeth Warren can be whatever heritage she wants as long as I have money in the bank and low taxes, so if the race could stop dwelling upon the minutiae and become a race centered on which candidate is going to help my small business succeed, then we might be getting somewhere. Honestly, neither of the candidates is very impressive, but the best bet is Scott Brown. He may seem like a falsified independent, just hoping his bipartisanship will get him votes, but no matter what his motives are, he it is still a step to a more moderate Washington D.C. and a more moderate Massachusetts.