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The Massachusetts GOP: Analysis, Not a Postmortem

Did turnout push the Massachusetts elections back towards the Democrats? In the wake of statewide defeat last Tuesday, Republicans in the Bay State are trying to figure out what went wrong.

by
Robert Snider

Bio

November 11, 2010 - 12:00 am
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The blizzard of emails amongst the Republican volunteers following an election in which Massachusetts voters rejected a slate of admirable Republican candidates is a sign that the volunteers will not need to conduct a postmortem — that is, a review following death.

The Massachusetts GOP, the Massachusetts Tea Party movement, and the independent, conservative portion of the citizenry are not dead. Manifestly, their governing principle is the recognition that their struggle must be conducted over a cycle of several elections, and that they must be objective and ruthless in their analysis of their strengths and weaknesses, and those of the corresponding Massachusetts Democratic machine.

Why did Massachusetts voters re-elect an all-Democratic congressional delegation?

They even re-elected Congressman John Tierney, whose wife pleaded guilty in federal court shortly before the election to laundering $7,000,000 on behalf of her fugitive brother (she received a slap on the wrist from the court). Tierney argued that he has a “modern marriage” and did not know that his wife was managing such a large sum. He evidently did not have to make the argument that her sentence, including a minuscule fine, was redolent. His excuse is an insult to common sense.

Numerous, similar examples may be listed for Massachusetts and for certain other states, like California, in which the vote cannot be explained from the viewpoint of reasoned behavior. Conservatives represent that they make decisions based on an objective determination of facts and of human nature. Why did the election turn out the way it did, and why did so many voters vote for Democrats?

The Democratic narrative is that they turned out their base with their “ground game,” and that resulted in the win. That puts the emphasis on the importance of the labor unions, which provide the muscle and structure for the ground game, and deemphasizes the importance of the policy debate that is supposed to be considered in election campaigns. The newspapers reported that Democrats had people at the polls checking off the registered Democrats who had voted, telephoning those registered Democratic voters who had not voted, and getting them to the polls to vote. Did turnout win the election?

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