The Next Elected President Will Be Republican Unless Democrats Address The Non-Racist Root Problems Inflaming Most Trump Voters

Come for the Life of Brian clip. Stay for the discussion of Governor Baker's vulnerability in '18 (among other things). - promoted by hesterprynne

Call me an optimist but I refuse to believe that most Trump voters (63 million Americans) are true racists and homo-phobes and anti-immigrant etc.

Most are pissed about lost opportunities for them and their children. Then Trump comes along and provides them outlets  to vent a good amount of steam.

Meanwhile the Democratic Party is ignoring their concerns and re-empahasising the social issues that the party is known without addressing their concerns.

“That’s all great and everything, but what about me,” asked the average Trump voter. “And oh by the way, I’m super pissed.”

Unfortunately the party, like all major institutions, is run and controlled by people in the .01% (not the 1%) and it’s in their best interest to keep the economic status quo.

So Trump can get shit-canned and Pence can stay they course for the .01% who run this country and that will be that. OR, we can start hearing of a new more inclusive economy that will close the income gap and return lost opportunities to Americans of all ethnicities, sexes, races, religions, sexual orientations, breeds, and litters.

We need to hear more from the “Old Elizabeth Warren” and the message she was delivering.

Jesus Christ people it’s not rocket science.

Time for us all to join the Front Against A Repulsive Trump (FART)



107 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. I agree Ernie, We Need to get on message

    seems some people on our side need to calm down a little if we are gonna beat these bastards.
    Keep up the good work Ernie!

    eb3-fka-ernie-boch-iii   @   Mon 27 Feb 9:30 PM
  2. one of my favorite movies


  3. I definitely predict the next POTUS will be Republican.

    His name will be Mike Pence and he will take office sometime BEFORE January 20, 2021, following the impeachment of Trump:)

  4. I don't have much hope

    Ernie, I don’t have much hope because if there is one thing I have learned here, I don’t think that most Democrats really care.

    We have an opportunity right here in this state to try and work on economically and socially challenged regions of the state, but there is virtually no appetite for it. Many people on this very forum are either disinterested, or take on a decidedly conservative tone of “why don’t you help yourselves out”. Why? I suppose because in the end, people really do like to keep their own money and don’t like spending it on problems that they can’t see, and therefore deem to be that of someone else.

    I think that a true progressive would look at places in this state like Springfield, Holyoke, Pittsfield, North Adams, Lawrence, Fall River, and say “those areas are struggling while greater Boston is doing so well that it is overheating – maybe we should try and even things out a bit”.

    Instead, I hear things like “those places aren’t dense enough to warrant helping, and maybe we should just let them go back to being farmland”. Or I hear things like “those places are at fault for their own issues” (kind of like the “Chicago: struggling under Democrats for 50 years” meme).

    I just don’t think that most people in the Boston beltway area – which makes up most of this blog – are that concerned about the inequality within this state. GE moves to Boston? Fantastic! Jam more people there, my property values will skyrocket! AETNA is talking about moving to Boston too when maybe the state could try and sell them on Western MA? Forgetaboutit! Western MA doesn’t have a subway so they _should_ move to Boston.

    And hell, we gave Springfield a casino, so that should fix everything.

    If that sentiment is prevalent within this smallish state of 6 million people, then why would anyone in San Francisco, Washington DC, Chicago, New York City, or Boston give a rat’s ass about anyone living in Des Moines, Chatanooga, or Jacksonville? Those places are struggling? Screw them, they should come to try and live in Boston so that my property value goes even higher!

    • Bingo

      And people worried about bouncing checks ain’t got time or money to buy link hays and march. We gotta do both/and-and I see virtually no outreach to the places we aren’t already strong in. My friends in Philly are getting this and Mark Bail is seeing new faces at the Granby DTC-but more needs to be done.

      • Why do you continue to insist...

        …that we aren’t doing both? I see a lot of both with plenty of our elected progressive friends leading the way. Of course, I saw it in the campaign too and nobody seemed to notice. I’m despondent as to the state of our country (and the attitudes of the electorate) right now and didn’t watch tonight because the very thought of that man in the House well giving a speech as if he’s President or something is enough to make my blood boil. I’d love to think that he has behaved so badly as POTUS so far that most of his own voters would have buyers remorse, that we wouldn’t have to lift a finger to sweep 2018 and 2020, but similar predictions failed miserably last year (though in my defense the polls and popular vote were on my side). For reasons passing understanding he still has a base, though I have yet to see signs that he is really doing anything about the issues his supposedly non-deplorable voters supposedly care about.

        • Because we aren't

          No politician understands Springfield better than anyone here and knows firsthand it hasn’t seen any major progressive outreach. Worcester at least as Jordan Berg Powers, and Lawrence had a rare primary turnover (though Matis was DFER backed). South Coast is totally Trump country. Easton is going to lose its anti-Trump select board majority and Plymouth and Bristol County and the Cape are becoming more conservative.

          Paul Simmons has documented how this happened to Worcester County too. Baker is a shoe in for re-election and half the Democrats we do elect are fearful of defying DeLeo on raises or taxes.

          Will the GOP come back in MA? Not for awhile, but it’s making inroads and our state while #1 in US News is #47 in income inequality and this economic segregation will lead to political polarization as the eastern cities become even further gentrified while the center and west are abandoned. Mark Bail and Sen. Lesser-one of the few bright lights in our party understand this. So does Sen. Eldridge, Sen. Wolf and Doug Rubin who recommended the OP. So does Dan Cohen. We got a lot of work to do and pretending our party is more relevant or functional than it actually is sets us up for more Browns and Bakers locally and more Trumps nationally.

          • Gubernatorial candidates are just getting started.

            It’s not very helpful to morale to call Baker a shoe-in for re-election.

            • Tell these to Walsh-he just did


              • Not True...

                If you really look forward to 2018, it seems pretty clear that the larger political dynamics are mostly working against Governor Baker. With Senator Warren on the top of the ticket, the millionaires tax helping to organize a broad coalition of progressive / democratic voters, and two years of Trump’s policies negatively impacting the majority of MA voters, the environment will likely be very difficult for Baker or any Republican in MA.

                Add to that the fact that Baker’s approval ratings, while definitely high, are largely made up of “somewhat” supportive voters and not “very” supportive voters – which means he has fewer voters who may be willing stick with him through any downturns – and the picture is not nearly as favorable for Baker as the pundits and insiders have been painting.

                • Did linking national Republicans to Baker work in 2014?

                  Trump is going to give him a headache for sure, and having someone like Diehl in the ticket won’t help, but I still see him generating positive headlines and press for being fundamentally a MA Republican while the Democrats running are relatively unknown and don’t seem like strong checks on the Beacon Hill supermajority which is what unenrolled voters always send moderate Republicans to do.

                  If this is a 2006 environment than sure, you have the headwinds and the base turnout will be critical and likely present. But I am not sure that dynamic is present yet nationally/and Baker is a known quantity with a relatively popular record unlike Healey.

                  I’ve been meaning to get in touch with you anyway so why don’t we bet a lunch on it?

                  • Wrong lessons from 2014...

                    In 2014, Obama was President and it was harder to make the case that Republicans would take the country in the wrong direction. Plus, that 2014 race revolved around other issue more so than linking Baker to national Republicans – and it was still very, very close in the end.

                    I think you are underestimating the impact Trump is having on the grassroots and democratic base – just look at the women’s rally on the common, the protests at Logan, or the fact that Emerge has seen a doubling of women who want to run for office in 2018. Lots of data suggests that progressive activists in MA are fired up and organizing – which is never a good sign for Republicans in this state.

                    It’s also early, so we don’t know what the Democratic field will look like in 2018. On the positive side, D candidates are getting in early, doing the important, hard work of getting around the state and organizing at the grassroots level. The fact that Jay Gonzales is already in and meeting with small groups is encouraging, and the fact that Mayor Warren has John Walsh on board at this early stage says a lot about his commitment to a true grassroots campaign. Don’t underestimate that work, or the potential for other candidates to jump into the race.

                    Yes, Baker is popular and he has a strong political team around him. I don’t at all underestimate him or how difficult it will be – but I definitely believe he is much more vulnerable than conventional wisdom would suggest.

                    Happy to make the bet, but let’s not wait until the end of the 2018 cycle to get together for lunch!

                • What is the inroad, though?

                  I don’t see Charlie Baker as being particularly vulnerable. He has largely done nothing offensive. He has broken with Trump enough times to appeal to a broad section of the population. The economy is excellent in Boston, are pretty good most everywhere else, and are only bad in a handful of communities.

                  From what position does a Democrat run? That he’s going to do the same things that Baker is doing, but with slightly less focus on privatization That’s a waste of effort.

                  • Run on the service cuts.

                    Baker is not a Trumpist and I think trying to paint him as one would be folly, but he is still a Republican who governs as such.

                    • If I were Charlie Baker...

                      ….(and heaven forfend!) I would wave in the face of the Democratic nominee who tried this approach all of the disregarded warnings about appropriating too much when tax revenues were down. I would say, I have a REAL job, a legal obligation to balance the budget. The legislature was told there was not enough money for this, and they shrugged knowing that I would have to be the adult in the room and make those cuts. They can tell their constituents that the mean governor cut their program, when the reality is that that they cynically voted money they knew wasn’t there to buy your vote. And before you complain about not having a millionaire tax, and all the other taxes you think would fund this – fine. As governor, I do not raise or appropriate money. You have had a Democratic supermajority in the legislature for decades. If they wanted, they could vote these things in tomorrow – but they don’t. Your Democratic representatives are lying to you once again, to finance their own corruption and featherbedding, by blaming me.

                      Or something like that.

                    • There are always choices though.

                      The Governor could have chosen other things to cut which granted might have upset different people. You also appear to contradict yourself. First you say the lege voted to fund these things knowing they would have to be cut, but then you say they didn’t do what Dems are supposed to do and fund those things. A Dem candidate for Governor doesn’t have to necessarily defend the lege anyway.

                    • It's not a contradiction

                      If they truly wanted to fund it, they should have raised the funderlying. Instead, they chose to write a bad check to make constituents think they supported services, knowing it would bounce when they signed it. And they blame the teller for not handing over the money.

                      And as far as defending the Lege goes, what does the Democrat say? With me to the helm, we can go back to having these cuts unreported on, just like they were with Deval! You’ll never have to hear about it, because I am the guy with the shovel to help bury the bodies!

                    • "funderlying"?

                      I cannot come up with what the last word in your first line was supposed to be. Please advise.

                      With a Dem at the helm s/he could ultimately choose different things to cut. That’s the whole point.

                    • The inability to correct spelling errors here is mythic.

                      As Ted said, “Stupid phone”.

                      The inability to comment on the thought instead of score cheap debating points on a common problem is my this as well.

                    • See?

                      BMG autofinish couldn’t recognize a word like mythic. Although not sure if it is the site or the phone which is stupid.

                    • Whoa!

                      I seriously could not interpret that word correctly and it was impairing my ability to respond intelligently. I was not trying to score any cheap points!

                  • Two different paths...

                    I agree that Baker has “largely done nothing offensive” – but to me, that’s the point. He has not lead on important issues that a vast majority of MA residents care a lot about. Here’s just a couple of things a Democratic candidate could run on:

                    Income inequality – Progressive MA has the 6th highest level of income inequality in the country, and we are doing very little at the state level to address this issue. The economy is excellent in Boston, but if you travel outside of Boston the picture is not nearly as positive. Many, many people in our state feel left behind, and a strong, progressive Democrat could put forth an ambitious agenda to address this issue.

                    Debt-free college – Governors in New York and Rhode Island have proposed plans to help students go to college without debt. This is one of the most powerful ways we can address inequality in our economy, yet in progressive MA, not only has our Governor not proposed a similar plan, just yesterday in State House News it was reported that costs students in public higher ed will likely go up in the next budget!

                    Paid Family Leave / $15 Minimum Wage -Two other key issues that states like New York are leading on while MA lags behind. It’s clear that business groups like AIM have the state’s ear, which in turn means MA is leading from behind on key issues like this for working families.

                    Leading, not playing it down the middle, on Trump’s attacks on core values – Trump will very likely continue to pursue policies that hurt MA – immigration and health care are just the start. Yes, Governor Baker has spoken out on some, but contrast that with leaders like Senator Warren, who has passionately defended our core values, and you can see quite clearly the difference in leadership styles. My guess is that will matter more and more as Trump tries to shape the country to his agenda.

                    I could go on, but I hope you get the point. Lots of options and room for a Democrat to run on in 2018.

                    • I could get behind an economic populist

                      I could see myself getting excited about a bold Democratic economic populist, one who championed income equality, a more even economic distribution. Maybe take a gamble by being bold on taxes, with specific plans as to how to use the increased revenue. It wasn’t miserable when the state income tax was 5.85% versus 5%, and if the increased money went towards something rather than just to “government” you might get more support than you think.

                      What about a platform of some kind of universal health care deal for the state, maybe even trying to bring in the other New England States so that we’re all doing it together, which would make it harder for people from the other states to just move to Massachusetts once they get cancer or something?

                      Minimum wage increase would be good, but that’s kind of meat-and-potatoes stuff. It should be increasing every so often anyway, as should the gas tax. Some kind of college plan would be interesting too, although I think that we are probably sending too many kids to college who aren’t benefiting from it that much and would be better off using their talents in other areas.

              • Yes, I saw...

                …but I think he also said he’ll wait and see.

          • What should people do?

            Maybe we can try this a different way.

            Can people here offer solutions for economically depressed regions and people? What should someone who is poor and living in Chelsea do? What should someone who is poor and living in Springfield do?

            If your only answer is “go to college or learn a difficult trade skill”, then you need to realize that you are basically creating Trump voters.

            When I read stories about Trump voters, they are predominately less educated, work predominately in blue collar jobs, many of which are/were unionized, but have been increasingly threatened. They are people who are living in communities that are shrinking, economically, primarily due to both globalization and corporate super-sizing. The older voters feel that they have played by the rules, and see no way out. They see their children struggling, either involved with, or surrounded by substance abuse.

            Most are not likely generally racist, but it is really easy to convince these people that their problems are due to immigrants, or due to the government giving black people free stuff.

            It is also very hard for a Democratic platform of “you should get more education and training” to compete with a Trump platform of “you’ve been screwed, and I’m going to go after the people who screwed you”.

            • So is the solution a bigger slice of the pie or something else?

              What should someone who is poor and living in Chelsea do? What should someone who is poor and living in Springfield do?

              What should someone who is poor and living in Hyde Park do?


              Most of the solutions I see proposed are to give Region X (e.g. not Boston metro) a bigger slice of the budgetary pie. The problem with that approach is political — just like you, I like my family more than yours, my neighborhood more than yours, my town more than yours, so I’m going to fight the reapportionment of the same money.

              Sometimes I see solutions about “something else” — a different way of doing things. Those have a chance out of the gate. While I didn’t find the “move Aetna to Springfield instead of Boston” compelling, I did appreciate that it was a “something else” proposal — an attempt to find a creative way to provide more/better economic opportunity for a part of the state outside 128. I think improving commute rail helps a bit and we should do it, but while better commute rail to Worcester/Salem/Fall River will help those areas a bit, it ain’t anywhere near enough. Sometimes we hear proposals of moving government offices out of Boston (the lottery is in Braintree and is looking to move), which has some intuitive appeal, but, at the same time, there are efficiencies when different agencies are located nearby.

              But what else? What policies can the Democrats of Boston support that will demonstrate to the folks nopol, jcconway, and ebiii reference that will earn their votes?

    • I don't know where your 4th paragraph is coming from.

      I’m certainly not seeing that on BMG.

      • I've seen it here.

        I wish I hadn’t.

        I didn’t think to keep the links, but that attitude has definitely surfaced here. I recall seeing it relatively recently, in the form of suggestions that the western part of the state was being heavily subsidized by the taxpayers of greater Boston, that this was unreasonable, and that WMass people should stop whining about the Great and General Court not paying enough attention to its issues, which were likely insoluble anyway.

        But as I say, I can’t link you. It wasn’t something I particularly wanted to revisit. But maybe nopolitician kept some receipts?

        • eastern urban elitism is common among BMGers

          You recall correctly that you have seen it here. I am part of the urban (lesser) elite but when I see it here on BMG saying “gimme me more” it makes me fear the future of regaining the people who voted for both Obama and then Trump.

          We have one BMG’er who wants the rest of the state to pay for higher subsidies for MBTA riders. Here is his quote from Nov 23

          Make them pay their own way if they’re outside the commuting zone.

          And he then proposed taking away from them all of the gas tax money they pay to the Commonwealth to further subsidize the MBTA, specifying they should be stripped of their highway money.

          This was written by a man with a $1 million home and a six figure household income. He blames racists and Nazi collaborators, his own words, for Trump’s election and does not understand he is at the core of why people outside the Camb/Som area, people who go to food banks every week, hate the current economic system.

          We had another BMG’er who wrote on Oct 27:

          Does anyone here think that the people of western or southeastern MA who do not receive MBTA service should pay more for the convenience and free transportation of MBTA riders?

          Absolutely. Why not?

          We have a problem when the in-activist left blogosphere claims the policy ground in a way that stiffs people from western, central, southeastern MA and the Cape.

          Those of us who work in politically diverse communities (which includes engaging with Trump voters) and who do not have the luxury of falling into love fests with the Somerville/Cambridge/Brookline legislative delegation meetings, we see the BS from those areas.

      • Here's where it is coming from

        I am probably more attuned to it because these are often comments in response to mine. I can offer several examples:

        - The vibrant discussion earlier this year from my post “State Senator Eric Lesser gets it: How Trump won our Rust Belt. And how we win it back.” where someone characterized helping cities like Springfield out as “subsidiz[ing] our existence even more than you do now.” which then turned into “So I say, be rural. Indian Motorcycles left in 1953. They are not coming back. They’re not going to be replaced. Embrace the fact that you are rural. That’s a good thing.” I understand that the posters were perhaps offended by the framing of the issue as “West vs. East”, but to me, it was more an issue of “region that is doing well vs. region that isn’t doing well”.

        - The longstanding string of comments, going back many years, about Springfield – a city so poor that it cannot even legally fund the state mandated school foundation budget with its own property taxes because the amount of levy required would put the city over its Proposition 2.5 ceiling – saying that the city does not deserve state help because in 2005, a number of individuals were caught in a corruption scandal involving primarily federally-funded programs (housing authority, jobs training academies, homeless shelter). So “no soup for you!” – forever.

        I believe that I can see the perspective of a disaffected Trump voter. Looking to the East, seeing the abundance of opportunity – which is not to say that there aren’t problems with poverty and inequality, but c’mon, from my perspective when you open up the newspaper and see thousands of job listings, even if you can’t currently do any because of your skill set, that is a lot better than opening up the newspaper and seeing dozens of job listings – that doesn’t exactly inspire you to get that needed training.

        And then being ignored. Seeing all that prosperity and watching those communities using their strength and wealth to simply gain more and more prosperity and opportunity. Watching as General Electric moves its jobs into a region of the state that already has a ton of jobs – and watching the state give them money to do this. Watching as AETNA – a company just down the road from Springfield – being wooed into that same job/opportunity rich area. Watching as the state decides to shift state positions from the job/opportunity-poor area of the state into the job/opportunity wealthy area of the state (i.e. the unemployment call center).

        Yes, one way to look at this is that the area of the state with the power is just naturally looking out for itself. I’m not sure how that is a Democratic ideal though, because that sounds a lot like what someone like Mitt Romney would argue wealthy people also do.

        • ...

          which then turned into “So I say, be rural. Indian Motorcycles left in 1953. They are not coming back. They’re not going to be replaced. Embrace the fact that you are rural. That’s a good thing.” I understand that the posters were perhaps offended by the framing of the issue as “West vs. East”, but to me, it was more an issue of “region that is doing well vs. region that isn’t doing well”.

          … being the author of that particular quote I feel compelled to point out that my questions relied, exactly, upon your posit of “region that is doing well vs region that isn’t doing well” and was attempting to explore the notion that the given region is not doing well, perhaps, because it is trying to, or pretending to, be something that it is not to the detriment of what it is. I think a reflexive defensiveness on the part of those at whom the question was aimed, colors the debate, even now. I think noting differences is not, per se, judgements but can easily be perceived as such.

          • Sentiment

            Yes, that is what you said, but I take issue with that sentiment because it is intertwined with success. I view it as a rich person, saying to a poor person, “maybe you should just stop trying to be rich and instead be content with being poor”.

            • It is your perception...

              I view it as a rich person, saying to a poor person, “maybe you should just stop trying to be rich and instead be content with being poor”.

              … that ‘intertwined with success’ means that there is only one way to be rich and, therefore, anything not that way (not Boston, in this instance) is not rich.

              On the contrary, if you divorce your notions of rural equating with poverty you’ll see that my ‘sentiment’ is more like a rich man telling a poor man to stop trying to get rich in the same way he did and get rich in another way. Akin to the notion that if you want to be movie star rich, you’d better have movie star looks. On the other hand, if you want to be tax lawyer rich, you don’t need to look like Brad Pitt…

              Or, if you want another example, I’ll never get so much as one cent as the DH for the Red Sox, or indeed any team, because I can’t hit the ball very well. If I insisted upon getting rich in that manner and that manner only, then I had better, indeed, get used to poverty.

              • And yet

                the sure fire way to get rich in the USA is to be born rich. The one sure fire way to be poor is to be born poor. Contrary to our “land of opportunity” fantasy, the largest predictor of a child’s economic status is that of their parents. Our economic mobility rates are quite low. This is not to say that the child of a single unemployed women in Brockton will not become a wealthy entrepreneur or that Barron Trump will not wind up destitute and homeless, but the odds of either are very, very slim.

    • or take on a decidedly conservative tone of “why don’t you help yourselves out”

      ….yes, that hits very close to home. It’s also what’s pulling me away from the Democratic Party.

      As you may already know, I am now 62, working part time at a food market for close to minimum wages and sparse benefits. I was laid off from my previous job about a year and a half ago. I am college educated, have 30+ years experience in my former field, and took training courses over those 30 years to add to my “skill set”.

      However, I was replaced by someone younger. I suspect they are being paid less. I know they are not getting my benefit package. I applied for several jobs in that field and was offered one, at half of what I was making before. Half.

      That’s the downside.

      On the upside, I am relatively financially secure, love my new job and for the first time in over 40 years, actually look forward to going to work. The only hitch is that in order to afford working there, I have to endure 40+ years of working at places that were at best marginally good and at worse, one of Dante’s rings.

      In any case, I was at a “Holiday Party” in December with fellow Democrats. I brought up the question “As Democrats, do we believe in a sustainable wage for all working class citizens in the Commonwealth?” I expected (hoped for) a resounding “YES!” from the room. Instead, I saw a few nodding heads, some looked away, and one man replied “You can’t expect someone at Dunkin Donuts to be able to make a sustainable wage. Those jobs are meant to be temporary until the individual improves themselves and finds something more rewarding.”

      I snapped back, “I work at a food market, stocking produce and helping people with their shopping. I find it to be the most rewarding and enjoyable job I’ve ever had. Am I not owned a sustainable wage?”

      Again, he said “No, those jobs are not meant to support an individual, much less a family.”

      If that’s the Democratic Party, Trump wins a second term.

    • Bigger than politics

      The issues we face in Western MA are bigger than the political issues we discuss here. I suggest that this is an excellent microcosm for similar issues facing the sea of red states in the middle of the nation.

      Because of that, BOTH sides of the exchanges you describe are correct.

      At its heart, as I see it, Western MA was originally settled as farmland that was part of a larger agrarian society. The “gateway cities” of Western MA — Springfield, Pittsfield, etc — became cities during the rapid industrialization of the region in the 19th century. That transformation was driven by water power, railroads, and a heavy dependence on affordable labor.

      All that changed in the immediate post WWII era. The automobile transformed Western MA, along with the rest of the nation. Automobiles and subsidized air travel destroyed passenger rail service. Industrial automation first moved south, then offshore.

      We are left, today, with a region that is overly dependent on automobiles and trucks. The resulting infrastructure relies on subsidies from the greater Boston metropolitan area to sustain itself. That is a simple fact, whether we like it or not. America in general and western MA in particular was ravaged by a gasoline-driven binge that has left enormous damage in its wake. Our collective task, now, is how to heal that damage.

      I think there is very little that state government can do to change the fundamental “forcing functions” (to use vocabulary from climate change) that drive these serious issues. Of the remedies that are available, the one that is most likely to have an effect — tax the wealthiest Massachusetts residents, most of whom live in the greater Boston region, and use the resulting revenue to improve life in Western MA — has been taken off the table by the current government.

      The fact that so many voters of Western MA oppose increased taxes and lean towards the GOP and Mr. Trump makes this situation much worse. I don’t like that reality — it is, nevertheless, a fact.

      In my view, an organic metaphor might be helpful. The heart circulates blood through the lungs, to the brain, and then to the body. That blood carries the oxygen and energy needed by the entire body. When the feet are cold and numb because their blood supply has been abnormally restricted, the challenge is to restore the blood supply. We do not ask or expect the left foot to grow a heart or mouth. The heart is also richly supplied with arteries, because the heart requires an enormous amount of energy to do its work.

      The greater Boston area is the economic heart of MA. That might change in the long run, but today it is undeniably true. Western MA is today an extremity that requires the energy provided by blood pumped by the heart.

      We don’t transfer enough wealth from the Boston area to Western MA. A significant contributor to that is that we don’t TAX the wealthy enough. Our economic heart, in fact, suffers from advanced atherosclerosis brought on by thirty years of government lies and propaganda about taxes and tax policy.

      You seem to be arguing about details of individual capillaries, and missing the larger dysfunction.

      Oh, and by the way, your characterization of the exchanges about AETNA differ from what I read here. I saw stomv present a realistic picture of what that move would actually entail, especially for transportation. He didn’t say “Forgetaboutit” — he instead described what that move would actually mean for the affected workers.

      We face very real and very painful issues. They require correspondingly real and painful responses. Those responses haven’t happened yet. In my view, characterizing the lack of a solution as people who “don’t care” hurts far more than it helps.

      Not to put too fine a point on it, but if the state representatives from Western MA together demanded that taxes be increased on the wealthy in order to fund increased state investment in Western MA, the situation would be immediately improved.

      That is not, so far, what has been happening.

      • Density an indicator

        I’m not so sure I buy the “density” argument for a few main reasons:

        1) Density generally follows economic success, it does not lead it.

        2) If economic success is largely dependent on density, then we have a huge problem in this state (and country) if only areas with Boston-like density (i.e. upwards of 10,000/sq. mi) can survive.

        3) Most of the density surrounding Boston is only possible due to Boston being a first-tier city.

        4) In many ways, using density as a measure of worth comes off a little bit as shaming and bullying due to the fact that it is a byproduct of success.

        Springfield is the economic engine of Hampden County. We are as dense as many eastern MA communities (Waltham, Newton, Swampscott) but we are not growing. We are shrinking primarily due to deindustrialization, but also because of a lack of state attention which focuses on growth within 495. That mirrors most mid-sized cities across the country – they feel neglected. I think that is a big problem because it affects so many people. It not only affects Springfield, it also affects every other city and town in Hampden county. Boston was able to stave that off because the state paid attention to Boston in the 70s and 80s, focusing on electronics, finance, and biotechnology, primarily in Boston and up Route 128.

        The rise of Trump is precisely because leaders – both governmental and party visionaries (i.e. like the people right on this website) – do not acknowledge this as a problem. A similar dynamic is happening right here. No one is saying “we have a problem in this state that affects a lot of people, one to which we should devote attention”. Instead, people who are generally well-off economically are looking to fight social battles or global battles, ignoring the economics in their own backyard.

        • I didn't say "density"

          You’re still talking about current specifics, and using language and an argument that I made no mention of.

          I did not make a “density” argument, whether density leads or follows success is irrelevant to my comment. Nowhere do I argue that “only areas with a Boston-like density can survive”.

          It seems to me that using words like “deindustrialization” and “lack of state attention” misses my point. Western MA was industrialized in the 19th century. When the railroads — and the infrastructure that surrounded them — was destroyed by the automobile, Western MA transformed itself again into an entire region utterly dependent on cheap gasoline and good roads.

          Western MA was once criss-crossed by convenient and affordable inter-urban railways. Those were destroyed by the automobile. Western MA once had viable and vibrant town centers, where people who lived nearby could walk (or ride horses) to. People shopped locally. People ate local produce. People worked at local jobs.

          The automobile destroyed all that. It’s gone. That wasn’t the result of self-centered Boston priorities, it was the result of decisions made by Western MA itself and of a of a national malaise that completely ignored the catastrophic impact of the transformation the automobile wrought on America.

          If there is a viable future for Western MA, it will almost surely involve finding a way to return to a buy-local, shop-local, work-local, and eat-local lifestyle. I suggest that such a transformation is going to require a large public investment. It will require generations to come to fruition.

          It will not come from Donald Trump, Trumpism, or the GOP.

          I take issue with your last paragraph. I explicitly DID acknowledge the problem you cite, and a great many people join me in that. When it comes to fighting battles in our respective back yards, I don’t vote in your district, I can’t help you there. My representative is Denise Provost, and she has done more to advance the arguments you make than pretty much anybody I can think of.

          She is actively resisted by those YOUR part of the state is sending to the legislature. I therefore take umbrage when you attack me, and people like me.

          If you want the economics of your own backyard to change, I suggest it might be helpful spend rather less time attacking those of us who agree with you and rather more time working to put state legislators in office who emulate Ms. Provost.

      • I don't live there

        But I am close to the Western Massachusetts towns. Maybe good Democrats can “primary” those in office who are not fighting for higher taxes on Boston’s wealthy citizens?

      • through your hat

        You wrote

        The issues we face in Western MA…

        When you wrote “We face issues” in Western MA,” you pretended to be part of a struggle outside your fat city of Somerville. You are the guy who wrote that non MBTA communities (i.e. all of western MA and lots of other places) should be stripped of their gas tax payments to increase the subsidy you get to ride the MBTA.

        Knock it off. I want mass transit. Just don’t make me continue to pay for yours as all of the state has been doing for years, even though many of us get ZERO benefits. Just drop your demand that the west and the southeast increase their subsidy for your cheap MBTA ride. Or you can pay for my subsidy from the SouthCoast. Let’s see if we can make your credit card give me the same subsidy I pay for you.

        • Keep it up

          This comment exemplifies why Massachusetts Democrats are paralyzed.

          You say “I want mass transit”, then argue against funding it.

          For the record, I and people like me already do “pay for [your] subsidy from the SouthCoast”, and propose to continue to do so. We also pay for your roads and highways.

          Regarding your attacks on Somerville, it wasn’t so long ago that “Slummerville” was beset by the same issues that too much of the rest of the state now faces. Instead of seeking to identify the things Somerville did right (never mind acknowledging the things it continues to do right today), you attack those of us who live here because of its success.

          The attitude and hostility you express in commentary like this do far more harm than good. You punish communities like Somerville — and those of us who live here — for their success, while you loudly oppose the policies (such as investing in low-cost public rail transportation) that will bring that success to other regions. Perhaps you’re thinking that “your subsidy from the SouthCoast” will be paid for by some “fat city” like Pittsfield, Springfield, Fall River, or New Bedford.

          So keep it up. With any luck, you will succeed in destroying the last vestiges of commuter rail and MBTA service that are left. Perhaps your hostile and vicious attacks will succeed at destroying all of Massachusetts, so that the entire state can join our gateway cities in being desolate economic ruins.

          • once again

            Once again, you pretend I wrote something that I did not write. I did not attack mass transit. I said I would like it in my part of the state but do not want to keep paying for a system that only benefits the MBTA communities. A portion of my sales taxes and a chunk of the state’s General Fund go to the MBTA and not to the rest of the state to provide mass transit.

            Let me re-state something I have written here in the past. I was involved at the highest levels of the policy to extend the Green Line to Somerville and Medford. YOU were not part of that level of discussion. I know this because there were only a handful of people in those meetings and I knew everyone by name. None were Tom from Somerville. Maybe you went to the hearings in Somerville. Good for you.

            I did not attack Somerville in any way, shape or form. I like the city and enjoy visiting it. It has great legislators, restaurants, a stellar performance center and a great mix of ethnicities, and is only marred by a self-absorbed liberal elite who live in a bubble and think their farts smell like roses.

            It was amusing to read your words about my “hostile and vicious attacks.” Coming from the guy who called Trump “Hitler. Or Worse.” And called everyone who voted for him Nazi COLLABORATORS. And then demanded that everyone who voted for him personally apologize to you. Let’s be clear that the nastiest attacks ever written on BMG come from you.

            And if you want to support the Democratic Party in MA, next time around don’t vote for a third party gubernatorial candidate.

            • Huh

              The phrase “fat city Somerville” is your own, is it not?

              I’m done with you (again).

              • yup

                Yup, Somerville is fat with cash, which is not a criticism. Alas, the cities and towns near me are not so fortunate but my neighbors have to pay for your heavily subsidized ride while we get nothing from the state.

                I remind you that you wrote that we should be stripped of the gas tax money we pay to further subsidize your ride.

                What part of this don’t you get?

                • Did someone step on your smug...?

                  … so sorry.

                  Yup, Somerville is fat with cash, which is not a criticism.

                  This whole kerfuffle started when somebody, long ago, said ‘western ma is not eastern ma. that is not a criticism’ to which some refused to take it any other way than criticism.

                  What part of this don’t you get?

                  The part where you think you can have it both ways.

            • Best, call it by a different name.

              You are advocating for regional transit, IMO. Mass transit will always be just for the elite in Metro West and Boston.

              Don’t let him sideline your thoughts with petty word play. He uses that in lieu of thought.

        • rural Mass

          I live in a very “non dense” town (it went for Trump). I’ve pointed out before how western Mass provides Boston with it’s water, how valuable is that? I hear the eastern elite whining about better subways and don’t care. I live on a dirt road (we all have a 4 wheel drive in the family). I have a well, pay for my own sewerage system, pay for my own trash. I don’t want it to change.
          Our distrust of Boston makes us think that if taxes go up we’re sure riders in Boston will get free subways long before we get a sewer system, trickle down crumbs, so just leave it as it is. Our town has a food bank but also a lot of neighbors who help neighbors, don’t talk about it and make it a great place to live (no public investment needed).

          • Rubbish...

            I’ve lived in rural Mass communities for about 15 years. I’ve had drill my own well water, blah, blah, blah. The stuff you are whining about paying for are primarily things local govt pays for (non-main roads, water, sewer, trash collection). And I have to laugh at your slam on the states “eastern elite”, have ya been to Amherst recently? Or hang out liberals in the hill towns like a Conway, or up and down route 7 in the Berkshires? Be serious.

            • not whining

              I’m not whining about paying for it, I would rather. If I could have opted out of Social Security I’m sure I could have invested the money better on my own and be better off.

              • OK, now you've become unhinged from logic...

                …by “connecting” opting out of SS to your “argument” about the elitist eastern MA oppressing rural MA.

                • no

                  You said I was whining about paying for things.
                  you-” The stuff you are whining about paying for are”
                  I said ” I’m not whining about paying for it, I would rather”

                  I think I do a good job of managing my money, I can choose who picks up my trash and if I’m not satisfied with their work I can get rid of them. If the service is provided by the government it’s harder to “fire” them. If I could have had the money taken out of my checks over the years which went into Soc Sec I feel I could have invested it and I would have more than I will get from the government in my Soc Sec checks.

                  • but

                    my personal distrust of government is off topic and this thread is about the historical inequity felt by people out here. Flooding the town of West Boylston, so Boston can have water. Flooding the town of Dana, so Boston can have water. Then saying they over-subsidize our life style. You want us to put in mass transit so that will cure our problems, just remember you can’t put anything in near the reservoirs, the watershed has to be pristine so Boston can send good water and incentive dollars to GE so they will build there.

                    • Water over the dam

                      Your continued harping on the Quabbin reservoir distracts from whatever other arguments you make here. We’ve already rehashed that over and over here. It is, literally, water over the dam.

                      The factors that drive today’s economic challenges of western MA are much much larger than the decision to create the Quabbin nearly a century ago. Your objection to “mass transit” is equally irrelevant (nobody has suggested that).

                      What people ARE talking about is public rail transportation for western MA. I find it curious that you spend so much energy focused on the creation of the Quabbin, while you ignore the destruction of the public rail (both conventional and electric) transportation network that existed in western MA when the Quabbin was created (in 1939).

                      The collective decision to completely obliterate that public rail network between 1939 and today is a far greater contributor to the challenges of 21st century western MA than the decision to build the Quabbin.

                      It is telling that you continue to object to reversing that awful decision regarding public transportation. It exemplifies the political component of the paralysis that assures the continuation of the region’s current travails.

              • ...

                I’m not whining about paying for it, I would rather. If I could have opted out of Social Security I’m sure I could have invested the money better on my own and be better off.

                … You could have remained in Social Security AND taken some money and invested on your own and be <ieven better off…

                Given the sharp increase in life expectancy over the course of the lifetime of Social Security, however, you can reasonably expect to receive more in benefits than you contributed in taxes. (This is one of the reasons people say SS is ‘going broke’) And so, to meet your ‘better off’ criteria, your lone ranger investing would have had to be phenomenally profitable to achieve benefits comparable to what you get from SS, and damned near miraculous to exceed same…

                • I

                  retired in my 50′s. I am doing well. I’ve never had anywhere near the 6 figure income mentioned by some on this blog. I’ve done my own investing, when Nixon went to China, I put money in foreign stocks. I also keep my expenses low. I do my own electrical, carpentry, plumbing repairs. When my boat needed a starter last year, I figured out how to do that. I certainly would have opted out of Soc Sec but at least the option should be available.

                  And it’s much cheaper to live outside of 495 (and Fla in the winter).

                  • The numbers don't work

                    It doesn’t sound to me as though you’ve run any numbers to support your desire to opt out of social security.

                    It’s easy to get your benefits statement from social security. It’s also straightforward to model the portfolio you would have needed to match those benefits. If your income was less than six figures and if you needed to consume at least of that income on living expenses (like most of us), then it is very unlikely that the returns from your portfolio could match social security.

                    Whatever the reasons are for your rejection of social security, they are almost certainly not based on a rational analysis of projected income from your retirement plan.

        • That's going too far

          I don’t have a problem with paying taxes that go to fund the MBTA. I recognize that Boston is an important economic part of this state, and that the MBTA allows Boston to function.

          I just want the Democrats in Boston to understand that the state is more than Boston, that there are pretty significant problems outside of 495. I am in favor of raising taxes to help fix problems statewide, but what I see lacking is a general party-wide commitment to regional equity.

          I was reading a paper yesterday which described the period in the early 1980s when Massachusetts first started deindustrializing. Michael Dukakis put together a commission to address it, called the Governor’s Commission on the Future of Mature Industries. There was a deliberate focus on the balance of industry with respect to region. Those people understood that focusing solely on high-tech industries would result in an uneven economy across the state.

          People no longer seem to understand that, and this is where we have wound up, with a massive Boston-centric economy, with many smaller cities struggling with much fewer opportunities, and with almost zero recognition that this is even a problem for the state.

          Petr made the point above – “… more like a rich man telling a poor man to stop trying to get rich in the same way he did and get rich in another way”. I can respect that, but without suggestions, those words are as relevant as telling a poor person to pull himself up by his bootstraps.

          I have made a very concrete suggestion here, and it is very often met with silence. The state government employs almost 50,000 people, and I suspect a large percentage of them are within the 495 belt, with a significant number of them being in Boston.

          How about a state policy that says that when there is new government growth – a new department or something – that it go through a simple review process to see if the work can be done in a Gateway City? I’m not asking to uproot thousands of people and ship them across the state, I am asking that the state recognize that its economy is unbalanced and that such a policy would help balance it out.

          I gave a concrete example of how the state recognized a need to downsize the number of call-center workers who handle unemployment claims – and it chose to downsize the Springfield and Worcestor branches and retained the workers in Lawrence and Boston. It did this out of a perfectly valid reason – the Boston workers were in a state-owned building whereas the Springfield and Worcester workers were in a leased building – but in doing so it missed an opportunity to balance things just a little bit.

          • Fine ideas

            Your simple review process is a fine idea and I support it.

            I have a question about your concrete proposal. As you observe, the two branches that were closed were in leased, rather than state-owned, buildings. What was the cost to the tax payer of the branches that were closed versus the branches that were preserved?

            In a landscape where vital public services, including a great many public services delivered to residents of western MA, are being slashed because the state lacks the tax revenue to pay for them, how shall we pay to do anything differently?

            It sounds as though you agree that the closing of the facilities in Springfield and Worcestor were the right decision. It seems to me that in order to achieve the balance we all seek, we must increase the tax revenues in the state.

            I and other residents of “fat city Somerville” have been calling for significant tax increases on our wealthiest residents for years (in my case, decades). Many of the “Democrats in Boston” that you continue to criticize join me in that.

            The very crisis that you bemoan was in fact created and is now perpetuated by those who so loudly attack me and people like me. The tax-cutting plague that began with proposition 2 1/2 in 1980 has been loudly and famously supported by too many “Democrats” who, along with our GOP, apparently expect the public funds needed to sustain our society to be magically created from nothingness.

            I am one of those with a “$1 million home and a six figure household income”. I pay the taxes I owe and consistently call for taxes on the wealthy to be increased. I and people like me are already paying our share and proposing to pay more. I find it ironic that I am attacked with such hostility here.

            Oh, and again for the record — the phrase “six figure income” does not mean “1%”, even though it’s such an attractive cheap-shot. Such cheap-shots in fact obscure the obscene reality of just how intensely even income (never mind wealth) is concentrated. Various sources like this show that the “1%” income threshold today is about $420,000/year. I assure you that our household income — even in “fat city Somerville” — is nowhere near that number.

            I am not your enemy.

            • I know you’re not my enemy Tom – I’m just trying to raise awareness that the entire state is not a mirror of Boston, nor is it any less worthy.

              I really didn’t like your characterization of Western MA or Gateway Cities because I feel it trivializes those regions and lionizes Boston. Gateway Cities have been economic centers long before “rapid industrialization of the region in the 19th century”, though that does describe the strong growth of those cities. Western MA was not all rural farmlands prior to the 19th Century. Springfield has a long history as a trading center going back to the 1600s, and it was selected as the home of the United States Arsenal by George Washington himself. That is where its industrial growth really started. Springfield was not a one-trick pony like some of the mill cities either. We were a trading post for beaver furs, then moved into textiles, and then into machinery, metal goods, into bicycles, automobiles, sporting goods, electronics. We were always cutting edge until the deindustrialization came, first to the south, and then overseas.

              Yes, the automobile changed things, but it is not as if Boston made the “right” choice and the Gateway cities made the “wrong” choice. Boston’s subway was started in the late 1800s, and was fully functional by the time the automobile came on the scene. The Gateway cities were not large enough to ever contemplate an underground subway. Electric trolley systems were replaced by buses because buses were more versatile – Boston got lucky because it was too difficult to abandon an expensive investment like underground trolleys.

              Boston is not completely innocent in this automobile era either – the elevated portion of I-93 took many billions to correct, and the development of many Boston suburbs was not due to public transportation (which is why traffic is so bad). Though less-so, Boston is still pretty auto-dependent.

              However this paragraph is what I perhaps take the most issue with, because you seem to be dancing around something without quite saying it:

              We are left, today, with a region that is overly dependent on automobiles and trucks. The resulting infrastructure relies on subsidies from the greater Boston metropolitan area to sustain itself. That is a simple fact, whether we like it or not. America in general and western MA in particular was ravaged by a gasoline-driven binge that has left enormous damage in its wake. Our collective task, now, is how to heal that damage.

              When I read that, I heard “The Gateway Cities are not sustainable, and therefore we should stop subsidizing them” rather than “We’re all in this together, so we should be trying to help the Gateway Cities by channeling the growth around the state”. Now in fairness, you did say that we should tax our wealthiest citizens to help subsidize the Gateway Cities. The disconnect, which I think cuts right to the heart of the Trump voter, is that people don’t want to believe that they are being subsidized. And others don’t want to be providing the subsidy either.

              I was a Bernie Sanders supporter, and I have some agreement with Trump on the issues of trade, where he and Sanders overlap. I think that reducing imported goods and putting people to work is a better plan than importing cheap goods and taxing the wealthy and just giving people transfer payments. I think it is more palatable to conservatives as people would be working for their money instead of being “on the dole”. I think it would be better for people, because I think that people generally need to feel necessary and occupied, and there is no better sense of pride than actually making something that someone purchases. That’s certainly better than believing that you are living off government, which is why ever 80-year old Social Security recipient will tell you that they “paid for their benefits in full” when they most certainly did not.

              Limiting imports would cause goods to be more expensive – but fewer social services would be needed. Instead of subsidizing people via taxes, we would be subsidizing them via paying higher prices. But it would not be so obvious! People would feel better about it.

              So maybe Gateway Cities need subsidies – just don’t call them that! Give us “help”, instead. Or better yet, create state policies that are de-facto subsidies – one great recent example of this was the “local sourcing requirement” for MBTA replacement cars. Those are going to be built right here in Springfield! By a Chinese company, by the way – but if that local sourcing requirement was not there, they would be built in China. People in Springfield are thrilled with that, especially because there is potential for the assembly plant to take on work for other states as well. Local subcontractors are going to be able to get in on this party too, so the wealth is being spread around. But suggest that these local subcontractors are being “subsidized” and they would all freak out even though in reality this is what is happening.

              To be clear, I do not agree with closing the unemployment facilities in Springfield and Worcester and preserving the facility in Boston. I think that the state should have taken a bit of a hit there and looked holistically. If the state must lay off 200 workers in a state by closing a facility, I think it makes more sense overall to lay off the workers in the environment where they are more likely to find another job quickly.

              I understand the perspective of using something like “budgetary cost” to make decisions. It does not take the larger picture into account – it is one dimensional in same vein of people who argue that we should not raise the minimum wage because “when you raise the price of something, people buy less of it”.

              I know that’s a lot to chew, but I think I came to a few realizations as I wrote it, so it was worth it to me.

              • Progress

                I’d like to borrow a useful concept from physics.

                Imagine enclosing a specific area — perhaps a city, town, or region — by an invisible surface. Now total public money that flows through that surface into the region. Call those “debits”. Similarly, total the public money that flows through that surface out of the region. Call those “credits”. Now subtract the latter from the former (credits – debits).

                If the resulting total is positive, then the area inside the surface is making a net positive contribution to the general fund of the state. If the resulting total is negative, then the area inside the surface is effectively consuming a subsidy from the general fund of the state.

                I’m intending absolutely NO judgement here — I’m instead presenting a formula for examining how various regions participate in both contributing to and receiving from the general fund.

                I am troubled by the premise that we should manage public policy based on whether or not people “feel” that a particular region is a net producer or net consumer of public funds. It seems to me that, as a commonwealth, we should accept that some regions will produce more funds than they use (they will be a net producer) and others will produce less funds than they use (they will be a net consumer).

                That was the point of my metaphor far upthread. In my view, we all need to recognize that some cities, towns, and regions will be net consumers and others will be net producers of government funds. That remains true whether or not people in a net consumer feel that they are being subsidized.

                • That's a Republican frame

                  I totally understand that this is reality. We could create those invisible barriers in many different ways – for example, people with kids, people without kids, people with 3+ kids, etc.

                  Pointing out that subsidization is happening across those barriers divides us, even when those subsidies are necessary. It also allows people to target those subsidies in rough times, as in “hey, things are bad for me and I don’t have any kids, I don’t want to subsidize those parents with kids as much!”

                  This is a classic Republican frame. Much of the language used when discussing subsidies is precisely the same language used when conservatives discuss people on welfare.

                  You may be familiar with many of the attempts to “regulate” what welfare recipients can eat, or spend their food stamps on (no birthday cakes!). The same things have been said – are currently being said – about Springfield. Springfield wants to require more of its employees to be residents – in response to that, a common comment is “the state gives Springfield most of its budget, so as long as those people live in the state, it is OK”. A while back a state legislator suggested that if Springfield had amassed a small budget surplus as a stabilization fund, that the state should cut aid to the city.

                  I guess I’m saying that I will accept the characterization of some cities being subsidized once we start describing people with children in the public school system as being subsidized as well – with all the baggage and shame that comes with that.

                  • I don't think you're listening

                    I’m not talking about “barriers”.

                    I’m talking about an etherial insubstantial invented mathematical surface. It is neither Republican nor Democrat. It has nothing to do with “people with …”. It is NOT about people. It is about geography.

                    You are imposing your agenda on what I’m saying. Such refusal to face or deal with actual facts, and to instead harp on our favorite agenda (whether “left” or “right”) is a huge part of the dysfunction of today’s society.

                    I utterly reject your apparent premise that we must not measure net production or consumption of public funds for a region. You seem to be saying that we must not measure them, we must not examine them, we must not compare them, we must not plan using that data.

                    That, to me, is a prescription for chaos and even more dysfunction.

                    • Focusing on subsidies

                      How about we measure and publish some “net production or consumption of public funds” in other ways too?

                      Let’s do it by race.

                      Let’s do it by gender.

                      Let’s do it by education level.

                      Let’s do it by religion.

                      Because if we don’t know if, for example, Baptists are a net consumer on society, it will be chaos. We should get that information out to as many people as possible. Hey, maybe we can even create a state department and give it a catchy acronym, like VOICE, to publish the economic contributions by group.

                    • There you go again

                      This has nothing to do with what I said.

                      I have explicitly said — more than once — that I’m not talking about by race, gender, education level or religion. Why, other than to rudely provoke hostility, do you then raise these strawmen?

                      By the way, when you measure the impact on Massachusetts residents of whatever we do, be sure to remember the user community of the service this agency provides. To the extent that you delay, impede, or reduce the effectiveness of the online systems for unemployment, you make life even worse for men and women already suffering.

                      I suggest that the most important aspect of this decision is whether or not people who desperately need unemployment assistance are receiving that assistance in a timely fashion. It sounds a lot like you’re ignoring that in order to advance your own pet agenda.

          • Keep an eye on the Lottery

            Keep an eye on the Lottery, which is looking to move out of Braintree and find a new home. The process they follow as they seek lower rent, keeping their workforce happy and perhaps subsidies from the city and other competing places will reveal a lot about how government agencies choose where to locate.

            • Lottery in Braintree

              Thanks, the lottery is something I wasn’t aware of. I Googled it, and found that they are actually looking to move – but closer to Boston! So basically 13.5 miles outside of Boston is considered to be “too rural” (joke!) for them!

              They say that they are “looking to reposition our headquarters in the greater Boston area so we can hopefully expand the tool for talent acquisition, particularly in the IT, technology, product development and marketing areas.”

              They said they are looking for “proximity to public transportation, in a neighborhood that could benefit from “a real shot in the arm,” and preferably south of downtown Boston.”

              From a business perspective, this looks to make sense. They are basically looking to try and attract young IT talent in Boston. They also don’t want to put out the people already working there (they mention that this is why they want to stay south of downtown, because it would be hard for those employees to commute *through* downtown Boston)

              But this could be done differently. They are talking about moving into online sales, which is why they are focusing on IT. Why not create a new department that focuses on this, and create it in a Gateway City? Sure, it wouldn’t be optimal and most efficient, but it would help the Gateway City in a way that is not generally viewed as a “subsidy”. It could help such a city quite a bit by giving young people in that city’s region who have an IT/marketing background a place to work, rather than forcing them to make the choice to move to Boston (or elsewhere).

              This decision is very Boston-centric – they are stuck on the idea that Boston is the only place in the state where they will find talent, so they want to move 13.5 miles into the heart of the city. Boston gets richer, the rest of the state loses out.

              • Same old same old

                Ok. So let me get this straight.

                I hope we’ll agree every state agency is already underfunded. We already know that the state unemployment systems have been a disaster for years. They have improved, some, in the last few years. Much more is needed.

                So we know that have a big and hard technology/IT problem to solve. We know that we need good and talented people to solve it. We know that these people must have specific technical skills. We know that a reason why industries like biotech congregate in places like Kendall Square (and now Fort Point) is that there are synergies that happen when players are in the same region. We might not like it, but that is still an actual fact of how real things happen in the real world.

                A programmer — “Mary” — lands in company B because, while socializing after work with colleagues from company A, she heard about the job. Suzie, at company B, said “OH! You’re ready to look around? We have a GREAT job that you’d be PERFECT for!”. No recruiting fee needed. No relocation. No housing assistance. On Feb 1st, Mary was working for company A. On Mar 1st, she’s working for company B. That’s how the IT world works.

                Oh, and by the way, if the job sucks or the management sucks or whatever, Mary can always move to Company C.

                If Company B is the only game in town, so that once Mary moves there (uprooting family, leaving old friends and needing to make new, etc), she has to do yet another uprooting if Company B turns out to be a disaster.

                That’s not because Mary is a “Republican” or a “Democrat”. It is because Mary is a real person who makes real choices.

                Please describe how a facility in, say, Springfield or Pittsfield would meet this need. Will you support remote work? Suppose most of the contributors are living where they live now (which is in or near Boston) and using internet connections each and every day (I’ve been doing that since 2013 with a company located in Austin TX).

                Does that satisfy your desire? I doubt it. In that model, only a handful of people would be needed at the new facility.

                It sounds as though you are proposing to subsidize the creation of a new facility, where we would have somehow encourage (which means “pay”) people to move nearby, somehow build the housing for them to live in, the stores for them to shop in, the bars for them to socialize in, all of that (not to mention the colleges and universities that brought a great many of them to region in the first place).

                Pick your own name for it, you are talking about subsidizing a region. That’s what it IS, whatever name you call it. The government will have to pay people more to get them to move there. It will have to pay them to relocate. It will have to somehow (meaning more $$) provide places them for them to live, eat, play with their kids, shop, and entertain themselves. Or you’ll have to recruit and train people who already live in the area. You’ll have to tolerate the learning curve that every new IT professional goes through. You’ll have to handle the “washout” rate, because not everyone who wants to be a programmer is able or willing to do actually do it day-in and day-out.

                It costs MONEY. A lot of it. Especially if it needs to happen fast.

                Can you point to places where this has succeeded?

                I see how responsible public policy might get us there in 10-20 years. I don’t see how this approach is remotely feasible for this facility in this timeframe.

                • More Republican framing

                  I’m not saying your arguments don’t have merit. I’m saying that they are conservative Republican arguments or elite conservative Democratic arguments, not progressive Democratic arguments. They will result in more and more inequality in this state, and you can apply the logic to just about every state department. We should move them all to Boston. Even UMass Amherst – it would be much more “synergistic” in Boston instead of out in the sticks.

                  Let’s apply this thought elsewhere.

                  It costs money to provide social welfare programs. Maybe those people who get those subsidies should just try harder, or maybe they should move to another state where the jobs are and we wouldn’t have to subsidize them. Or maybe they should have gone to college or learned a trade. Any way you cut it, we will have to spend money on them, and that isn’t fair, it isn’t right, especially when we have such budget shortages. So let’s ignore those issues. Maybe they’ll go away.

                  Since we haven’t successfully eliminated poverty, that is obvious proof that we should stop trying and stop throwing money at the problem.

                  I am not suggesting that the state create housing, bars, etc. for state workers. I am just suggesting that

                  Plus, you could certainly pay the workers a lot less to live in a city where the cost of a starter house is $100k, the cost of a grand house is $175k and the monthly rent for a 900 s.f. apartment is $999/month.

                  That sure beats Boston housing prices, where a 1/3 of a house will cost you $599k, and a 1,000 s.f. rental will cost you $3,600 per month.

                  So maybe the “subsidy” wouldn’t be nearly as much when you take things like salary and pension costs into effect.

                  • Empty handwaving

                    Sounds to me like “I’ve already made up my mind, don’t confuse me with the facts”.

                    Your comment is chock full of strawmen that, like your spurious “density” argument upthread, have nothing whatsoever to do with what I said.

                    We are talking about a state office currently in Braintree. Let’s NOT apply this thought elsewhere, let’s NOT chase any of the red herrings you offer.

                    That is just reality. It is not a “Republican framing”.

                    Let’s instead stay focused on the question we started with — where should the new unemployment facility be located. First and foremost, the employees must be able to do the jobs they are hired to do. A great many more of those prospective workers live in the Boston area than in the Springield area. That’s just a fact. You keep talking about abstract ideas like the appeal of low-cost housing in western MA. Great. No argument. Nevertheless, the workers this agency needs don’t live there now. So if you want to hire workers, you need to either recruit and train people in western MA, persuade prospective workers to move from the Boston area to western MA, or move the agency and leave its workers behind (as remote workers).

                    Just as it is not “liberal” or “Democrat” to accept the science of climate change, it is not “Republican framing” to say that a state agency must be able to do its job. There is no political “framing” about how much it costs.

                    You seem to be waving your hands rather than actually addressing the issue(s) at hand.

                    • Racist, classist, or sexist?

                      The employees must be able to do the jobs they are hired to do. A great many more of those prospective workers live in the Boston area than in the Springield area. That’s just a fact.

                      Maybe all three!

                      Have you BEEN to an unemployment office lately, to assess the level of difficulty in that job? On what are you basing your Alternative Fact – a lack of graduate degrees in Springfield? Clerical work in state offices often requires just a GED or HS diploma. And even THERE, in the Valley formerly known as Pioneer, many of the residents are actually literate to the 12th grade level.

                      Somebody not tug their forelock to uou the last time you breezed into Jacob’s Pillow?

                    • So hire them then

                      Many of these jobs can be done remotely … hire people wherever they live and let them work remotely.

                      The claim, upthread, is this:

                      They say that they are “looking to reposition our headquarters in the greater Boston area so we can hopefully expand the tool for talent acquisition, particularly in the IT, technology, product development and marketing areas.”

                      So apparently they already have trouble recruiting qualified workers in “IT, technology, product development, and marketing areas” — and this while they are located in Braintree.

                      It is neither racist, classist, nor sexist to assert the density per square mile of potential workers in the above field is higher near Boston than it is in Braintree. It is presumably an assertion based on experience in Braintree.

                      It is similarly neither racist, classist, nor sexist to suggest that the density is currently lower in Springfield. The jobs being described — IT, technology, product development and marketing areas — are not “clerical” jobs.

                      I know this is hard to believe, but those categories cited by the office itself DO require actual talent and skill. Nobody is talking about graduate degrees. I will observe that when I sat in a cafes and bars in Amherst, North Hampton, and Greenfield since last fall (my youngest son is in Amherst at UMASS-Amherst), I did not hear the kind of conversations that are commonplace in similar establishments in Kendall Square or Cambridge. We’re not talking about graduate degrees, we’re talking about people whose casual conversation includes words like “Hadoop” or “MicroService architecture” or “Vagrant” or “VMWare”.

                      Like it or not, those are the people that make online systems work. Their marketing counterparts are the people that develop successful marketing programs.

                      Today, those people are far easier to find in the immediate Boston area than in Springfield, Pittsfield, or anywhere else in western MA.

                      No amount of snark will change that reality.

                    • Lots and lots of people lived in Detroit at one time....

                      That’s just a fact.

                      Sorry the idea that jobs will go where the people are just does not cut it. People will go where the jobs are. I did. My father did. My grandfathers did.

                    • Maybe you didn't understand?

                      Tom, maybe you didn’t understand what I was proposing here. Do you think that I am proposing to move existing agencies? Because I explicitly said “when there is new government growth – a new department or something” in my initial post, and this is what I said regarding the specific lottery example:

                      But this could be done differently. They are talking about moving into online sales, which is why they are focusing on IT. Why not create a new department that focuses on this, and create it in a Gateway City? Sure, it wouldn’t be optimal and most efficient, but it would help the Gateway City in a way that is not generally viewed as a “subsidy”. It could help such a city quite a bit by giving young people in that city’s region who have an IT/marketing background a place to work, rather than forcing them to make the choice to move to Boston (or elsewhere).

                      I am not proposing to move existing lottery jobs from Braintree to a Gateway City. I am saying that this could be done a little differently, with some creativity. The article said that they are “seeking to shift its business model from one dependent on cash transactions at retail stores to one that takes advantage of online and mobile transactions.” They are really looking to transform this operation completely, and that is the stated reason for moving to Boston. They will be hiring brand new people with brand new skills.

                      Why not create those new jobs at another campus? Structure the department a little differently, hire the new IT and marketing people in Springfield. Surely the state government can work in a satellite-type environment, since this is exactly what it does now between all the various state agencies. Again, it may not be the absolute, perfect, most optimal way to do things, but does it need to be as long as it can work?

                      Maybe this isn’t the exact right test case, but I get the feeling that doesn’t matter to you. You appear to be fighting against what I think is a pretty decent idea to help the entire state, the distribution of state jobs into areas that need economic help. For what reason? As best I can tell, you’re arguing that Boston is bigger and better (sorry, I assumed that you were using “denser” because of your references to public transportation and more people), and therefore more deserving of the opportunities. That doesn’t sound like a Democratic ideal to me, because I have always believed that Democrats believed that opportunities should be more egalitarian.

                    • I think I was clear enough

                      I think I was clear enough, I think you’re just not listening.

                      I think if the state needs a department, new or old, that needs “IT and marketing people”, then the state should locate that department where there is a high concentration of IT and marketing people.’

                      It sounds to me as though you are treating “state jobs” as presents to be distributed. You continue to misrepresent what I say. Nowhere have I said anything about “deserving”. This has nothing to do with being “more egalitarian”. I’m sorry, but you’ve misrepresented and distorted each thing I’ve at each step of the way.

                      I think that the issues that beset western MA took generations to create and they will take generations to correct. I think they require large amounts of funding, and I think that funding has to come from increased tax revenue. I think the increased tax revenue needs to be collected from our wealthiest residents.

                      I think that those need tax increases on the wealthy, and all the investments that might flow from them, are currently being opposed by the elected representatives of western MA. I think that in jumping to characterize me and people like me as “Republican”, you drive away the very people most interested in solving the issues you describe.

                      I think that after decades of cutting away “excess” people and services, the few state agencies that are left are desperately needed. I think that when the unemployment office needs IT people, the very first priority should be for it to hire the best men and women it can afford. I think the priority should be to locate offices where the concentration of that top talent is highest.

                      I think it’s fascinating that one of the few self-identified Republicans among us describes these positions as “clerical”. It’s no wonder, with such attitudes towards the people needed to fill these jobs, that the state has so much trouble attracting people to fill them.

                      I think you, porcupine, and others seem to be focused on just about everything EXCEPT getting these important jobs done as well, quickly, and affordably as possible. Whether Republican or Democrat, I think those priorities are absolutely upside-down.

                      That’s why I find exchanges like this difficult to sustain.

                  • success story

                    Who knows what behind the scenes negotiations went on but the idea of placing UMass medical school in Worcester was revolutionary. The central Mass delegation must have had naked pictures of the Speaker of the House on Beacon Hill. It has been a resounding success. It led to a Nobel prize.
                    It has transformed that area of Worcester. Springfield deserves to get something along the same lines.

                    • Great idea


                      I love it. I invite you to dig a little deeper.

                      1. The program was established in 1962.
                      2. The location was selected in 1965.
                      3. A Nobel prize was awarded to a faculty member in 2006 (41 years after the location was selected)
                      4. The school was funded to the tune of ONE BILLION DOLLARS in 2008.

                      So let’s see. That timeline says that we choose Springfield for whatever our Big New Idea is. With luck and hard work, we’ll get recognition comparable to a Nobel Prize in 2058 (41 years from now). In 2060, the state will award the 2060 equivalent of a billion 2008 dollars.

                      The result, after fifty years and more than a billion dollars, is that one neighborhood of Springfield may be transformed as much as the corresponding neighborhood of Worcester.

                      That sounds to me as though it’s precisely the kind of long-term generational investment that I’ve said we need all along.

                      Let’s do it, by all means.

                      What do you think happens in Springfield during the forty year wait for that Nobel Prize that, in turn, triggered the one billion dollars in state funding that presumably now makes the Worcester campus so attractive?

                  • meh...

                    I’m not saying your arguments don’t have merit. I’m saying that they are conservative Republican arguments or elite conservative Democratic arguments, not progressive Democratic arguments.

                    To the extent that “Republican Framing” involves dressing up an ulterior motive behind a minimally plausible, ostensibly banal, merit and/or benefice… think “states rights’ fronting for racism, for example… it seems to me that your comparison assumes the ulterior motive behind the various, and quite varied, analyses proffered by s’tom and others here. All ‘Republican Framing” involves plausible benefice, but that does not mean that all benefice makes the argument “Republican Framing.”

                    Or, put another way: you seem very sensitive about this topic, to the point of mangling the ‘other sides’ arguments to fit your sensitivities… You have several times used the interesting phrasing “you said x and I heard y.” I think that pretty much sums your debate on the topic. No doubt you did ‘hear y,’ likely because it was your own inner, acutely sensitive, voice short-circuiting the argument to close the loop you’ve already assumed existed. Note, I’m not accusing you of treating falsely or ‘hearing voices’ — I think you are in earnest — and I believe there are some people, possibly even some who’ve held, or who hold, power in the past who’ve made exactly the criticisms to which you are sensitized… only, that’s not here. Speaking for myself only, I”m not going to eschew an argument that I think has merit simply because someone can mistake that for “Republican Framing.” You are entirely free to think my argument has no merit whatsoever but that does not give you license to assume an ulterior motive.

                    • One factor that has not been mentioned at all is land use restrictions.

                      Land use restrictions are blocking what should be a natural tradeoff that would work to the benefit of rural and outer suburban areas. That is, they are preventing the establishment of a market for several rural and exurban advantages: open space, lots of nature, large lots for large houses, room for pets and recreational equipment, car-centered lifestyle (that is a selling point for many people), relatively low crime, racial homogeneity (unfortunately a selling point as well, let’s be honest about that). If people that want this can get it at artificially low rates in Weston or Sudbury, why would they move out to Oxford or Rutland?

                      Strict zoning restrictions also depress housing stock and keep poorer people from moving to urban areas where the jobs are. But I don’t need to elaborate on that.

                    • Boston-centric view

                      Although in Boston, urban areas are more valuable, in the Gateway Cities this effect is precisely opposite. The problem still lies with land use restrictions though – if a town has a great school system, it seems like the “market” would cause people to build more housing units there at a lower cost. Instead, the zoning prohibits this, which causes the housing values to skyrocket.

                      Getting people in this state to vote to lower the value of their houses is not politically viable (just as people voting to integrate schools was not viable).

                    • Your own "Republican" frame!

                      This issue has very little to do with Boston, it is not “Boston-centric”.

                      I confess that I’m not following the connection from land-use restrictions to market value. How do land use restrictions in Weston or Sudbury lower property values in those towns? I thought the opposite happens — it restricts the supply of buildable land, and therefore raises property values. Your comment (as opposed to that from rcmauro) seems to reflect this.

                      Regarding your last paragraph, it appears to me that the issue is tying the funding for school systems to the property value of the city or town. I suggest, therefore, that the framing the question as “Getting people in this state to vote to lower the value of their houses” is itself a Republican frame.

                      Better is to suggest that people in this state vote to transfer the bulk of school funding from local property taxes to general broad-based taxes. I think the effect of THAT is to, in fact, reduce the property tax burden on pretty much all towns.

                      If such a move were coupled with a simultaneous decision to impose a significant tax increase on our wealthiest residents, then we might:
                      1. Improve schools in western MA
                      2. Lower property taxes across the board
                      3. Shift the burden of funding good schools from those in Massachusetts who can least afford it to those who can most afford it.

                      This latter strikes me as a “Democratic” or “Progressive” framing.

                    • Gateway cities are not Boston

                      Here is the precise quote I was responding to:

                      Strict zoning restrictions also depress housing stock and keep poorer people from moving to urban areas where the jobs are.

                      This is a view where the central city is wealthy, has lots of jobs, has high property values, has little affordable housing, and is using restrictive zoning to keep more housing from being built, which keeps poor people from moving there.

                      In Springfield, Holyoke, Chicopee (which I can speak to directly), and I presume places like Lawrence, Brockton, and perhaps other Gateway cities, the situation is exactly reversed. The urban centers have the lowest property values in the area, they have substantial affordable housing, the jobs are moving to suburban office parks because suburban commercial tax rates are much lower than urban tax rates, plus they can offer greenfield development with plenty of parking lots instead of more expensive redevelopment of existing land.

                      What frustrates me is that people in Boston don’t seem to appreciate this, and they write policies based on their Boston view of the world. Affordable housing is a perfect example – the policies are set to create more affordable housing in wealthy Boston. This causes even more affordable housing to be created in poor urban areas, where the jobs aren’t. The affordable units created have 20, 30, even 50 year affordability restrictions on them because that is what you need in Boston to ensure that people aren’t using the rehab money to fix up a building, house some poor people for a few years, and then sell it for a 100% profit. Yes, the housing being rehabbed needs to be rehabbed, but the affordable housing is largely being created in the poor communities (unless it is elderly housing – most of the wealthy communities have almost 100% elderly affordable housing, and almost 0% family affordable housing)

                      Same thing goes for Section 8 housing vouchers. The vouchers use an area average rent, the theory is that poor people would escape high-rent Boston and move into surrounding suburbs because the rent is cheaper than Boston. That may happen when the urban area is expensive – but when the situation is reversed, the vouchers are not enough for suburban rents, and their presence attracts “investors” (many from Boston) who pick up a $120k duplex and put Section 8 tents into it. Poverty gets concentrated.

                      Here’s what may be another Boston-centric frame: people do not move to a community for low property taxes. Springfield has the lowest residential property taxes in Hampden county by a long shot. The average bill is something like $2,700. The desirable communities have averages that between $5,000 and $7,500 per year. Why? Because Springfield has low house prices. We are at the Proposition 2.5 levy ceiling – our taxes actually decreased several years in a row. This did not cause people to move to Springfield. I will admit, though, that businesses are a different story, because businesses valuations are independent of a community’s desirability (such desirability is largely a factor of how well a community can keep out poor brown people, aka “the riff-raff” you will hear discussed in town meetings). Businesses also follow the wealthy residents – Big Y, a Springfield-based grocery store, closed a Springfield location in a neighborhood with 50,000 people within 1-mile and built a palatial store far outside of Springfield in a community of about 12,000 people. Why? Because those 12,000 people probably have twice as much money as the 50,000 people in Springfield.

                      So lowering property taxes doesn’t do much for a poor community. Springfield gets a substantial amount of Chapter 70 money. Our foundation budget in 2015 was $338 million. That is the minimum amount we are required to spend – and we spend the minimum. Our Chapter 70 money in 2015 was $301 million. We already get 89% of our school money from the state. A law that shifts school spending to the state in lieu of lowering property taxes would not help Springfield. It would help the wealthy communities that are already spending 2x their foundation budget using primarily local monies. This law would basically put a lot of money back into the pockets of wealthy people.

                      By the way, lest you think we are somehow riding high on the dole with our 89% aid rate, we were legally required by the state to spend $338 million on the schools in 2015. We were also legally restricted from collecting more than $176 million in property taxes. So we are required to spend almost twice as much as we can legally collect to operate the entire city. We are functionally insolvent because we have high-needs students and a tax base that can’t support them at all.

    • Springfield and the MBTA

      The MBTA required CRRC to locate its subway care assembly plant in Springfield. Once CRRC finishes building orange line and red line cars there, it plans to do similar work, in Springfield, for other transit authorities around the United States.

  5. I hate it when EBIII is...


  6. It's more basic.

    Registered voters didn’t vote. Trump was elected with 46% of the vote, and by garnering a small 70,000 votes across WI, PA, and MI. Nationally only 56% of registered voters went to the polls. There seemed to be a miscalculation in terms of GOTV efforts.

    Certainly the message and more alignment with working people would help. However dealing with racism is still an important issue. Besides addressing those issues affecting African Americans and other minority groups ripples throughout our country. Lower turnout in minority neighborhoods also contributed to the loss.

    We can walk and chew gum at the same time.

    • Agreed, and simpler than that

      I fear we overstate the role of whatever “GOTV” issues the Democrats have. Minority communities, in particular, should not have needed GOTV to keep Donald Trump out of office.

      The 2016 election dynamic was simple. In the key states of WI, PA, and MI:
      1. Minority voters did not turn out
      2. White racist and sexist voters (who stayed home in 2008 and 2012) DID turn out, in large numbers, to support a white racist and sexist male.

      In my view, those are the two factors that need to be addressed. I note that Democrats won the rest of the states. It was the behavior of these two groups of voters in these two states that determined the results of the 2016 election.

      In my view, focusing on GOTV to address number 1 infantilizes minority voters. I think we need to ask ourselves what we need to do differently so that minority voters turn out and vote.

      Perhaps we need to realistically assess the role that racism and sexism in the minority community played in minority turnout for a black male (in 2008 and 2012) and for a white female (in 2016) in those three key states.

      Dealing with racism and sexism in our culture is desperately important. Our economic argument is a core foundation, yes. I think economic arguments drove votes for both Mr. Trump and Ms. Clinton in the last election. I think the question at hand is what drove the behavior of the relatively small group of registered voters in WI, MI, and PA that determined the outcome of the election.

      I think for each of the (1) and (2) above, we should ask ourselves whether a more effective economic pitch would have mattered. My current answer is “no”. I think the economics were pretty clear going into this election, and I don’t think economic issues kept the minority voters at home and caused the upsurge in white voters for Mr. Trump.

      I think that racism and sexism — in both our minority and majority demographics — swayed the 2016 election.

      • "... in these three states ..."


      • Maybe we should listen to their concerns...

        I was hopeful when Barack Obama was elected president. I mean, here is a black man from Chicago who I thought would uniquely understand urban issues. Seems like that would have been a boon for my majority-minority city with many struggles, especially since turnout was high in minority districts for him.

        Eight years later, I can say that nothing much happened. Don’t get me wrong – Obama was the obvious choice, but he didn’t really do much of anything along the “urban issues” front.

        One thing he could have done was expanded CDBG block grants – this is something that Bush cut back in the early 2000s. He didn’t – so urban areas, which are the focus of this funding, see dwindling returns since the total amount is less, in static dollars, than it was just 20 years ago and far less in inflation-adjusted dollars.

        Here are some concrete numbers: when CDBG was developed in 1974, Springfield received $9.1m. This declined through the 80s with Reagan/Bush to a low of $3.6m. It increased with Clinton and peaked at $5.2m in 2001 under GWB. By 2008 it was $4.1m, and by 2014 it was $3.7m, the lowest amount since 1990.

        When what should be your best hope as the president doesn’t help you, why would you be so excited to vote?

        • Of course we should listen.

          I have a possibly provocative question for you:

          How much of our collective assessment of “best hope” has to do with the race and gender of the candidate?

          • I don't think any for me

            I don’t think that I picked any of my candidates based on their race or gender. I picked them based on their economic message. I was a John Edwards (I know!) fan back in 2004 because I liked his message about inequality. I was a Barack Obama fan in 2008 primarily because I felt that he was inspirational. I was a Bernie Sanders fan in 2016 because I felt that his message about trade and jobs was important.

            Hillary Clinton did not inspire me in 2008 largely because I felt that she was a calculating politician who actively groomed herself to be president. About halfway through her tenure as Secretary of State, I felt like she might be a good successor to Barack Obama, but when Bernie Sanders entered the race I felt like his message was a better one. I eventually voted for her against Trump, but I still feel that her primary message in the campaign was “I’m not Trump”. Yes, she had a lot of meat and proposals, but she did not campaign on them effectively.

      • Unfortunately,

        the kind of racism and sexism that brought out these voters has little to do with government. It is about their social interaction and beliefs about people who do not look like them. It has been said that poor people don’t vote, and it is here that efforts to register, and get them to the polls with an appropriate message in hand that counts. GOTV means figuring out who will vote for you because of what you stand for, and then making sure they get to the polls. Strictly using ID politics dilutes a broader message, and suggests only certain people count.

        • GOTV is 20th century...

          Although I’m sure that some candidates still try GOTV activities, with tools like Votebuilder, GOTV has been replaced with “targeted campaigning”.

          I have worked on several campaigns recently. Do you know what the campaigns do? They pull lists of people who have voted regularly. They visit these people, they try and win them over.

          A neighborhood with just 20% voting rate? That’s not a “golden opportunity” to win votes. That is a big fat waste of time, because you can spend countless hours and dollars and you aren’t going to move the needle all that much. Those people are not reliable, they will let you down. Better to focus on the people who have voted in the last 3 primaries and the last 3 generals.

          • They visit these people, they try and win them over.

            Question: Do they try to sell them on the candidate or do they ask them what matters to them and make that the message of the candidate?

            • Which do you prefer?

              A candidate who knows what s/he believes and is willing to explain and fight for them, or candidate who just wants the office and is willing to let the voters tell him/her what the message should be. I for one am much inclined to the former.

          • shortsighted...

            A neighborhood with just 20% voting rate? That’s not a “golden opportunity” to win votes. That is a big fat waste of time, because you can spend countless hours and dollars and you aren’t going to move the needle all that much. Those people are not reliable, they will let you down. Better to focus on the people who have voted in the last 3 primaries and the last 3 generals.

            … This makes sense for a single election cycle, only. But over the long term, it’s fairly straightforwardly idiotic. I think that if many are ignored, than many will be ignorant of efforts…. so it’s sorta self-fulfilling.

            If the thesis is correct, and Donald Trumps victory is the result of a resurgent racism and sexism, then the ‘resurgence’ is a *decades* long process that has revisited us in the absence of significant and dedicated efforts.

            • result of a resurgent racism and sexism

              Does not explain two terms for Obama and the loss of the senate, house, and a majority of governors.

              We’ve got so stop putting our heads in the sand over this.

              • You're attempting to use...

                result of a resurgent racism and sexism(0+ / 0-) View voters

                Does not explain two terms for Obama and the loss of the senate, house, and a majority of governors.

                … the rational portion of the country to provide explanation for the actions of the irrational portion. This is sometimes known as the ‘curse of knowledge,’ whereby once you’ve ‘learned’ something you can’t (without effort) imagine what it’s like to think like someone who has not ‘learned’ that something. Or, put another way, it’s why cognitive dissonance looks so wacky to those who experience cognitive assonance.

                That the successes and sanity of the Obama administration, for example, act as counterpoint to the manifest ridiculousness of the Trump Administration, does not mean the one can explain the other.

                • irrational?

                  40+ years of flat wages, rising heroin epidemic, a lowering of life span for a demographic that votes “Trump” is “irrational?

                  The “success” of the Obama administration was unseen by many.

                  • How very fascinating...


                    Does not explain two terms for Obama

                    …is at odds, comprehensively, with this:

                    The “success” of the Obama administration was unseen by many.

                    It’s like you’re trying to simultaneously say that the presence of Obama refutes racism and the absence of Obama explains Trump. I think you’re going to have to pick one, and stick with it.

                  • YES!

                    Voting for the likes of a DUMB candidate is ALWAYS irrational regardless of personal circumstances!

              • But it does explain it

                It’s not hard, it’s already been done on this thread (I think):

                1. Minority voters in WI, MI, and PA who turned out in droves to vote for a black man did not turn out to vote for a white woman.

                2. Racist and sexist extremists who did not turn out in WI, MI, and PA to vote for John McCain in 2008 or Mitt Romney in 2012 did turn out in droves to vote for Donald Trump.

                The GOP has been appealing to racist voters since 2008 since it explicitly said it would make destroying Barack Obama its first priority. The party has been using racist dogwhistles since then. The growth in the senate, house and a majority of governors strongly suggests that this strategy has been successful.

                Hillary Clinton won the popular election. She lost the EC by a narrow margin in the three states (WI, MI and PA) mentioned above. It is not “putting our heads in the sand” to make the two observations I led with.

                It sounds to me as if, in fact, it you who demands that we ignore the racism and sexism that is obviously central to whatever support Mr. Trump and Trumpism has today.

          • Depends on the campaign

            Depending on a candidate’s perceived strengths I have been involved with campaigns that do what you describe AND those that try to expand voter turnout. For the record, targeted campaigning predates electronic voter files by decades.

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