Face it, the Mass GOP has become a joke. The national party is now dominated by social conservatives, who want the government to legislate morality. It may work in the south and in Utah, but New England conservatives have traditionally been a low-tax, pro-business party that also wants to keep the government out of your private life.
There are still a bunch of old-time New England Republicans around, but most of them have enrolled and run as Democrats. That, alone, has killed the GOP as an effective party in Massachusetts.
So what do we do? Given the small size of the Mass. GOP, I have always thought that a small band of progressives could enroll in the party, run candidates for state and local committee, and take it over without much problem. I mean, how many people does it take to fill a phone booth? We would embrace the Progressive spirit of Teddy Roosevelt, and confound the rest of the nation in the process. But, I admit, it is a silly idea.
The real solution is slightly less radical. Abolish the Massachusetts Republican Party. Well, not really, but we could eliminate the need for the GOP to seed one of the two candidates in the final election.
If we converted all of our state and federal elections to non-partisan elections, we could have two strong candidates in every general election. If Tuesday’s primary was truly non-partisan, and everyone was on the same ballot, chances are that Coakley and Capuano would be the top two vote getters. We could then spend the next month making a decision between Coakley and Capuano, freed from the Democratic and GOP pretenders. We could have good, thoughtful 1:1 debates. It would be fun, and it would be good for democracy.
So, what do you think? Do you want Coakley-Brown, Capuano-Brown, or Coakley-Capuano? Which race would be best for democracy in Massachusetts?