It’s all over in Worcester. Two days of speechifying, delegate wrangling, and rapid-fire tweeting have come to an end, and it’s now a slow-motion sprint to the September primary. Where do things now stand?
Winner: the BMG hive mind. Many thanks to everyone who participated in the convention prediction post, and to Kevin Mentzer for crunching the data. As a group, BMG’s prediction for the balloting for Governor was 38 (Grossman)-23.5 (Coakley)-22 (Berwick)-12 (Kayyem)-4 (Avellone). The actual result was 35.2-23.3-22.1-12.1-7. So we pretty much nailed it. Especially impressive were the facts that we almost exactly predicted the absolute numbers and the margin for Coakley and Berwick’s very close 2-3 finish, and that we correctly predicted the margin by which Kayyem would miss 15%. Well done, everyone.
Losers: Juliette Kayyem, Joe Avellone, and James Arena-DeRosa. There’s no sugar-coating this: anyone who couldn’t muster 15% of the voting delegates won’t be on the September ballot, and therefore has to be counted among the weekend’s losers. Avellone’s failure was no surprise – he wasn’t a factor in the caucuses, and never found (or even seriously looked for, it seems) a message that resonated with the folks whose votes mattered yesterday. Kayyem’s failure did surprise some, but at the end of the day, she, too, never really came up with a convincing rationale for her candidacy. ”Bold” is fine as an abstract notion, and there’s nothing wrong with being younger than the other candidates. But neither of those without more is good enough, and the “more” never really materialized. Frankly, Berwick’s platform was always “bolder” than Kayyem’s, and one does have to imagine that the barely-concealed disdain for unions in Kayyem fans like Globe columnist Scot Lehigh hurt her with delegates more than it helped.
I confess to being disappointed that Arena-DeRosa didn’t make the ballot, since of all the Lt. Gov. candidates, his résumé struck me as the most interesting (though I never saw him, or any of the others, on the campaign trail). But he didn’t raise much money, and obviously didn’t generate the delegate enthusiasm necessary to clear 15%. So, onward.
Winner: Don Berwick. The only way he plausibly could’ve won bigger would be to have taken second place behind Steve Grossman. Nonetheless, he did way better than pretty much anyone (save the BMG hive mind) expected, and with Kayyem and Avellone out, he’s now got the “not a professional politician” field all to himself. He needs to quickly put some meat on the bones of (e.g., explain how he will pay for) his most dramatic proposals – implementing Medicare for all, ending child poverty, etc. If he can do that, this could be a much better campaign than most people expect.
Winners: Warren Tolman and Maura Healey. By all reports, both Attorney General candidates gave terrific speeches, and both got what they needed from the delegates: Tolman got a majority, and Healey was only a few points behind. The polls show them close. This is anyone’s race.
Loser: the DCU Center. Reports of the facility itself are not good. Perhaps most appalling, at least one (the only?) elevator apparently was not working, making it extremely difficult for people who have trouble with stairs to get around. That should never, ever have been allowed to happen. In addition, Charley and others relayed unhappy reports of terrible WiFi, non-functional electrical outlets, and so on. And for heaven’s sake, couldn’t it be possible for people to get something decent to eat, or to bring their own food, for an event that lasts most of a day? There must be a better venue somewhere in this great Commonwealth.
Winner: annoying Twitter hashtags. Yes, the hashtag “#DemVention” is painfully lame. But it actually worked really well. It’s not too long; it’s easy to remember (because it’s so annoying); and it’s very unlikely to capture unrelated tweets. *sigh*
Winner: the 15% rule. As I’ve stated before, I don’t really like the 15% rule. But the rule did exactly what it’s supposed to do: it winnowed the field of candidates by eliminating three who had not generated sufficient enthusiasm among delegates to the convention. Whether you think that is a good thing is a different question, but there’s no denying that the rule worked well according to its terms.
What else is on your list?