To my mind, this weekend’s convention was a huge success, not least by avoiding the catastrophe of shutting one of the candidates out of the September ballot. Bonifaz got on; Goldberg and Silbert got on; Gabrieli got on. Good for all of them, and good for the party as well. Was there last-minute wheeling and dealing to ensure Gabrieli got those 17 votes he desperately needed to barely clear 15%? Probably. Good for those 17 delegates, who may well have voted against their preferred candidate to avoid a major embarrassment to their party.
So what does it all mean? My take, as one who until starting this blog not long ago probably fit the profile of the typical “likely voter” (someone who pretty much always voted but couldn’t name his state rep or senator most of the time, and who didn’t pay a lot of attention to any races until shortly before election day), is pretty simple. The winners were the ones who won: Deval Patrick (who got gigantic headlines in today’s Globe and Herald and as a result may appear on many voters’ radar screens for the first time), Tim Murray, and Bill Galvin. Everyone else survived to fight another day (namely, September 19), and good for them for doing so.
I must respectfully disagree with those who see the convention results as an important “win” for Reilly, Gabrieli, Silbert, or Bonifaz, or anyone else who perhaps surpassed expectations, or as a “loss” for Murray because he didn’t get the endorsement on the first ballot, or for Patrick because he didn’t clear 60% of the delegates. Honestly, do you really think anyone outside the DCU Center cares about that stuff? No one – I mean no one – cares that Tim Murray needed two votes rather than one to get the party’s endorsement. Point is, he got it, and going forward he can and will, loudly and proudly, trumpet himself as the party’s endorsed candidate. As for the rest of it, do you really think that any of the 745,000 Democratic primary voters who weren’t in the DCU Center this weekend care whether Silbert or Goldberg came in second to Murray, or whether Bonifaz got 29% as opposed to, say, 16% of the delegates, or whether Patrick got 59% as opposed to, say, 68%? I don’t.
Maybe I’m wrong – and I will agree that Bonifaz’s perhaps unexpectedly strong showing may help him with fundraising in the short term. But overall, here’s my bottom line: the convention, which most voters were not paying attention to anyway, is over; the party avoided the nightmare of shutting legit candidates out of the ballot; the headline results are the ones that will stick (to the extent anything does); and now we can all move on to what matters: the primary on September 19, and the general election on November 7. Thank goodness.