The best part about the results in Virginia*, New Jersey, and Washington State, is that these states will now not only have Democratic trifecta (unified Democratic control) but progressive Democratic trifecta. The NY Times already had a preview of the emerging “Blue Wall” on the West Coast that could bypass the Trump Administration on carbon pricing, living wages, and single payer health care.
Lamentably, they will also be bypassing Massachusetts, largely the “bluest state” in name only. BMG contributor Jonathan Cohn brought this gem to my attention on twitter.
Despite holding 73% of the House and 87% of the Senate, the Chair of our state party is asking its members to sign a ballot initiative for Paid Family Leave. A law that could easily be passed by our supermajority over any potential veto by our Republican governor. Having to go to the ballot for basic progressive legislation, despite this partisan advantage, is truly pathetic. VA and WA will only have one seat advantages* for their trifecta-yet I am confident both state legislatures will pass far more consequential legislation than ours in the term ahead.
Tuesday’s results should teach us that every race should be contested, that competitive primaries strengthen our party, and that millennial and minority voters will only be activated by promises of bold change and strong stances against the far right. Collaborating with Baker, accepting his re-election as inevitable, and forcing our local grassroots to waste precious man hours and money to pass basic progressive legislation is unacceptable.
The short term solution is to pass every single one of these ballot questions and beat Baker to bypass this inertia. The long term solution has to be for groups like Indivisible, Our Revolution, and maybe even the state party to start to get involved in local primaries and force the pols to adhere to the platform. Otherwise it’s a paper tiger majority.
Legislative primaries in MA are low risk/high reward opportunities. Recent races have already shown this in the defeat of DINO’s like Tim Toomey and the exile of a potential DINO like Joe Shortsleeve to a failed independent candidacy. The risk of losing the legislature to Republicans is nil. The risk of a bold campaign for Governor is nil.
Throughout my own journey on the 2016 campaign trail, I heard complacency that our state was doing fine. I still hear this in 2017. Yes we have Senator Warren leading a great DC delegation, but locally it’s not fine.
Massachusetts is the most economically unequal state in the country. The Financial Times-no socialist rag-just released a finding that our housing market is the most inflated in the country. Worse than New York or San Francisco. The lack of starter homes is even leading to a brain drain of talent from our state. Smart people graduate from our public schools and area colleges but leave for cheaper pastures like Austin, Philly, or Pittsburgh. That will have trickle down effects on our schools, our crime and drug abuse rates, and even our politics as the rise of the right in Worcester County, Bristol County and the Cape attest too. A proud bay stater once said that all politics is local. All progressive politics is local. The Revolution that started on Tuesday has to start here-within our own party.
*VA delegate races are still being counted, but it’s looks likely they have a 1 seat majority in the end.