Finally it’s time for the BMG editors to show our cards in endorsing a candidate for Governor. It should come as no surprise that we’re endorsing Don Berwick. He is prodigiously qualified, and evinces a universal humane empathy and passion for social justice. Any progressive can be satisfied with this choice, and proud to choose Berwick to carry on, expand, and even improve upon (*cough* casinos *cough*) the progressive vision laid out by Governor Patrick.
As our readers know, Berwick is a pediatrician by training, and created the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, which is dedicated to using data to help health care providers achieve better results at lower cost. Massachusetts suffers from mind-boggling health care costs, due primarily to the market power of a few platinum name-plate organizations (Partners chief among them). The high cost of health care, and its dizzying inflation, cannibalize budgets for every single other priority: Education, infrastructure, social services, public safety. This is an issue absolutely at the heart of our state’s business, and Berwick has been tending this very garden for decades, with great results. It is not an exaggeration to say that he is a giant and a legend in this field. Among his volunteers we have met several folks in the medical fields who have found IHI’s work transformative — who have seen it up close.
Berwick then took his expertise to the political meat-grinder of Washington DC, as the recess-appointed chief of Medicare and Medicaid — an agency with a budget of $819.4 billion in FY 2012 (the last fiscal year he was at CMS). This responsibility dwarfs anything run by either of his rivals for the Democratic nomination.
Berwick has been mostly very direct and forthright about outlining his priorities and values: Single-payer health care; ending homelessness; against casinos; for clean energy and a post-carbon economy. This is in welcome distinction to his two rivals, particularly the nebulous Coakley. This combination of an empathetic philosophy and technocratic skill makes Berwick the best candidate.
It must be said, however, that we are disappointed by the performance of his campaign. His web and TV ads have been dull, awkward, and uninspired; they certainly do not represent why his is the urgent choice, why he is the person of the political moment. This is one reason why his campaign has not caught fire; but another reason is his failure to pick advantageous fights with his rivals. One hoped that he might be able to use the momentum from a reasonably-successful caucus and convention showing to really insert himself into the thick of the campaign, but somehow this never materialized. Why not? There is no excuse for his dismal name-recognition numbers, so late in the primary campaign (this week’s Globe poll (p. 37) shows that over half of likely voters don’t recognize his name, and another 12% responded “recognize but can’t rate”).
As for his rivals, we welcome Steve Grossman’s committed voice for kitchen-table economic issues, and Martha Coakley’s career of dedicated public service. They are both qualified and reasonably progressive, and either would be a credible candidate for the general election. But we find Grossman’s position on casinos, together with his record as Treasurer of enthusiastically supporting an expanded lottery — $30 scratch tickets? internet gambling? — to be disappointing and inconsistent with the rest of his platform.
And Coakley seems to want good things as long as she doesn’t have to make any tough decisions and can make everyone happy. In so doing, she is re-running her tepid, uninspired 2009-2010 campaign for Senate: A nice person, a résumé candidate, only with fewer obvious gaffes, and — it must be acknowledged — a superior organization to that of either of her rivals. But we still have no idea what her highest priorities are: What does Gov. Coakley do on Day One? What’s her Top Five list of accomplishments as of 2018? What does she really think about casinos? About the market power of Partners and its effect on health care costs? Will she really go to the wall for clean energy? If you know, do tell us.
In any event, we are headed for a step back from Gov. Patrick, who so easily re-framed many controversial issues from a place of compassion and decency, because he believed what he said. From taxation, to corporate tax loopholes, to transportation, to taking in child refugees from Central America, he used the bully pulpit well. Whatever his weaknesses, he was so deft at this critical aspect of the job that we may not yet realize how much we’ll miss it. Of the candidates, Berwick comes closest to embodying a politics of conviction.
And that is why we are for Berwick: He knows what he wants, and says it.
…that the biggest weakness of the Berwick campaign manifested itself BEFORE the caucuses. A candidate like him should have organized and rocked the caucuses well ahead of time, resulting in a convention endorsement, a la DLP.
Coakley is well-loved among too many Democrats for them to even consider looking to another candidate. That’s partly why that campaign didn’t even try in the caucuses. This race has been in the bag since Coakley announced.
In this primary, someone would have had to run a much better campaign than Deval did in 2006 to even have a chance (Coakley is much more well-liked that Reilly ever was). I’m not sure a candidate exists in this state that could do it.
HRC had the 2008 nomination in the bag and I would argue quite popular as well. How did that turn out? There’s no inherent reason Berwick with his bold ideas and strong stances could not have upended all expectations. In fact, given how successful DLP was I assumed going into this cycle that all the candidates would be tripping over each other to try to replicate that model.
I guess that’s the thing. Obama is one of the most talented politicians ever and ran a pitch perfect campaign against a well-known and well-liked (but also widely despised) candidate. Same with DLP, amazing political talent with basically a perfect campaign.
I think Berwick is fantastic. His intelligence, empathy, and values are the best that I have ever seen in anyone running for office. But he’s not an incredible raw political talent like Obama or DLP, not even close. He needed better than perfection from the campaign.
Also, I’d argue that there were a lot more Democrats looking for an alternative to Hillary in 2008 than there are Democrats looking for an alternative to Coakley this year.
We’ll see how 2016 works for Hillary, though! I know I will never cast a vote for her.
Of course, we’ll never know what could have been here. I think a lot of us might downplay Coakley’s popularity among Dems (because it doesn’t make much sense!), but she is very well-liked. It seems she’s had enough votes to win locked up for a long time. People haven’t been looking for an alternative because they like her . . . a lot (even if not so much among many here at BMG).
I just came from a meeting where I learned that an octogenarian volunteer’s knocked a thousand doors for Don! And another volunteer’s knocked *1200*. I’ve done hundreds, and now I feel inadequate and itching to catch up!
Obviously I would have preferred some Grossmentum, but I think you’ve done a fair assessment, and I’m as disappointed by Steve’s casino support as anyone.
Game on. It’s interesting to see this race tighten a little.
Simply for the term “grossmentum”-brilliant!
To run a campaign, you need to hire good staff people and you need to make many important decisions. In many ways, Don is my hero for his positions, but let’s face facts. Berwick’s campaign has been totally ineffective.
After all, if he can’t run his campaign well, how could he possibly run the state government?
Don Berwick will lose the primary.
I like the Editor’s endorsement a lot and it’s why I think voting for Berwick makes great sense, but, as I keep complaining, the campaign has not been good. I’m afraid of the effect September 9 will have on people.
As for the campaign, the Globe’s profileis illuminating:
Any campaign has to regard the candidate’s time as one its most valuable resources. The “only recently did he agree” part says something was seriously amiss.
Likewise, this offer:
It’s very important to prioritize the candidate’s time and not turn the schedule over to whatever random reporter happens to call. That paragraph comes after him looking up a question about Hamas — a sign both of his admirable concern with getting things right and some kind of inability to prioritize winning the election. Finally, another sign of misallocation of time:
When I read that Globe piece, I felt that making the campaign situation look grim (though, also, profiling Berwick’s qualifications) was a goal of the story. For example, in mentioning a fundraiser in Cambridge where only 10 people showed up, why not also mention that Berwick outraised Coakley and Grossman in July and August? (Which he did, if you’re not counting the $200K I believe Grossman is putting into his own campaign.) That would have given a more balanced view, in my opinion, of the fundraising situation. Obviously there must be a good number of fundraisers, like the one we had in our town, with healthy turnouts! In any case, I came away from that Globe profile disappointed that the reporter had cherry-picked less successful campaign events to fit the story that Berwick is not gaining traction. But later that day, at our Berwick info table at the Farmers Market, several enthusiastic people came over (we started calling those visits “bee lines”) saying that they’d read the Globe piece and wanted to know more. So, it apparently had some positive impact.
I’ll bet the reporters love it, and it’s probably time well spent.
It seems odd that his bus ride didn’t get coverage. It reminds me a little of Birmingham’s cross-state bike ride in 2002, which got lots of local coverage but almost no overall coverage.
John Tehan says
Great endorsement guys, but now I’ll be blaming you if Don loses…;)
At least that’s how a posthumous kiss worked for Snow White!:)
“necrophilic” not “posthumous”
Squeezing the “real” primary season into the week or two after Labor Day is not helpful to lesser-known candidates and new voters. I was speaking with two young voters about their concerns today, and it became clear that Berwick was the best candidate for them–something that they would never have had the time to think through without a chance meeting with a supporter. There have been various calls throughout the years to move the primary to the spring, which I think we should consider.
Putting the primary the week after Labor Day seems practically designed to dampen turnout. When I worked on the mayor’s race in Boston last year, a lot of people would say that they planned to start paying attention after Labor Day. And there were still several weeks after that since the primary was a (strangely late) September 24th. However, a Sept 9th primary really compresses that “post-Labor Day attention” time. Moving it earlier, before Memorial Day, would make sense, but the caucus-convention schedule would have to change as well.
I just read somewhere that Baker is in favor of a spring primary. I can get behind that. In fact, I am behind that.
Who do we badger to make this happen? Sept. primary = short turnaround before the general, which makes it much harder for less-financed (ie, non-incumbents or non-politicalnames) candidates with out a warchest to compete in a general.
Besides the headaches of changing the status quo, what are the downsides to a spring primary?
The press seems to have pre-conceded that no one pays attention til labor day, and in the well-heeled ‘burbs, the volunteers and the voters are scarce in the summer (I know, 1%-er problems), creating a perfect vicious circle of “No One Even Knows There’s an Election Let Alone the Candidates Let Alone the Important Issues at Stake.”
Spring primary, who’s with me?
…therefore, the Great and General Court is whom you need to lobby.
I couldn’t have said it better myself.
Donald Green says
I attended the Reading Dem Town Comm Dinner and a straw poll was taken among the 100 or so people attending. Those in attendance represented the traditional end of Democratic politics, spending years in a tight circle of certain politicians. Not scientific but Grossman won with 54 votes with Berwick getting 41. Martha Coakley came in last in the 20s. If Donald Berwick made some headway with those who are steeped in loyalty to certain office holders, this vote may be telling. The people there are politically loyal to favorites, and to my mind Steve Grossman should have cleaned up. He did not. The majority of those voting primary day even if Democrats have no strong affiliation to party regulars, and may be inclined to vote for a non traditional candidate. In the meantime the beat of the campaign goes on with its focus on the less splashy grassroots campaigning. There has been no issue to turn people off of the opposition via newspaper headlines like Scott Brown’s disparaging remarks on Elizabeth Warren’s heritage. It has been pretty much been issue oriented with little sensationalism, something welcome, but not too stimulating for the general public. So help this candidate win, and come make phone calls or knock on doors with us. The more the merrier, and it lightens the load. We don’t do robo calls or flood mail boxes. We’ve taken the up close and personal route. So if you want Dr. Don Berwick as governor, set aside any rookie mistakes, and help elect the most experienced civic minded executive in this race. GOTV will be key, and a plan is in place. Call headquarters 617-945-2618 to be part of it.
It may not be sexy and it is slow and it is less visible than ads and headlines. And yes, it cannot be the only tool for the campaign. But grassroots *IS* not only the best way to convince a voter, it is the *ONLY* way to build a long-term movement. Berwick completely gets that, and he also does not see this campaign as about him and his political ambition. He’s in it for the cause, and so am I.
I’m off to try to get to 400 doors today, soon.
I love Berwick, and I think he’d make a fantastic governor.
But the reality of the current polls, is that voting for Berwick is choosing not to make a choice between whether Coakley or Grossman will win the Democratic primary.
The only reason to vote for Berwick in the election, in my opinion, is if you feel the polls indicate that Coakley will win even if all non-Coakley supporters were to vote for Grossman. At that point, vote your heart.
Otherwise, I, for one, am tired of throwing away my vote in three-way races. Until we change how we run elections, you have to deal with the reality of how first-past-the-post elections work.
I see where you are coming from and can understand your logic.
What if everyone who thought like this actually voted their heart? Wouldn’t that give Berwick a fighting chance?
If this is a low turnout primary, then I think there can be some surprises.
Too many people who still haven’t heard of Berwick and will vote Coakley because most familiar. They never get close to this kind of calculation.
The whole notion of “voting your heart” seems plain misguided to me. The voting booth is not an easel, a guitar, or a potter’s wheel. It is a place where you do your part to ensure sure we are well-governed.
The kind of calculation jeremy’s making here is precisely the right approach.
When we think of, say, health decisions, we don’t want our doctor to “prescribe from the heart”, we want her to know what has the best chance of working and doing that. Why on earth would we set a lower, looser bar politically?
Maybe this also reflects just not watching the polling:
1. At most 40% of the electorate has even heard of Berwick.
2. Coakley began this race with very high favorables. Those of us who contribute to blogs and show up at Democratic Conventions may not share this, but a majority of the primary electorate is not looking for an alternative or resigning themselves to voting for her.
3. Over the course of a month and a half of fairly arduous, committed, laudable door-to-door work, Berwick’s polling climbed from 5% to 10%. I’m expecting maybe 15% on Tuesday. (20% is even possible.) By comparison, both of Patrick’s opponents in the 2006 primary polled better than that.
Frankly, if you’re going to get people to work that hard for you, those volunteers deserve a better campaign out of you than one where you drive yourself to events, appear all-too-quietly on the number 28 bus, squander time on reddit, produce ads more clever than effective, and go to debates weakly prepped. (Example: Berwick should be knocking casino questions out of the park; he isn’t. Example: his comparisons of himself to his opponents may be correct but they sound condescending and superior.)
Granted, anyone can fall into the traps of believing he or she has 20/20 hindsight and proceed to criticize how a campaign was run, but exactly which debates or forums were you watching where Berwick was not knowledgeable nor prepared for answering questions posed to him?
My suspicion is that, if one watches the debates as a Berwick-partisan, one doesn’t notice how insufficient his performance was. This isn’t just confirmation bias. For example, it might be perfectly right for him to emphasize that he’s not a career politician and that career politicians lack the kind of needed expertise he has, but the “I’m better than you” stuff requires a rather delicate hand if it’s not going to turn people off. If you sit through that as a partisan, you’re reaction is likely to be “Hell, yeah! Take that Grossman person and Coakley person, you pretend governors and career politicians!” You’re unlikely to reflect on how that part of the debate might affect people not already won over. They might regard it as rude — which in some contexts it is.
I’ve already written about the “my colleagues haven’t read the literature” response in the first debate. If he is going to raise casinos, he should be completely convincing about them. If you’re watching and you already oppose them, you might feel all warm and fuzzy that he agrees with you but you might not notice that Berwick’s claims about the bad side effects weren’t any more convincing than Coakley’s earnest claims about needing to mitigate the bad side effects. It came out a tie. And Coakley, by the way, was able to acknowledge Berwick’s concerns in a polite and gentle way that made her look pleasant and reasonable. So someone judging them on manners alone would say Coakley came out ahead. Berwick’s insufficient debate performance should have drawn the focus to casino issues. Instead, non-partisans are left free to think about etiquette.
So the debate performance was twice over problematic. It didn’t make him seem like a nice guy — which I claim is easy to overlook if you already like the guy — and on facts, figures, and content, it was weak.
Grossman, in the BUR debate, was admirably convincing on Coakley’s capital improvements plan. He pointed out it was 1% of the current capital budget and it was vague. “Won’t be a footprint on the beach.” Very memorable, crisp, and clear. Berwick scored few such points.
…and of course reception to “Debates” and “Ads” etc are all highly variable based on subjectivity…
But consistently, I have heard lots of positives from voters — undecideds — on Berwick and the debates and, before the debates, the WBUR interviews/roundtable. WEEKS after the WBUR thingy aired, I was hearing people say, “I heard him on BUR; I found him impressive and agree with him”. This really surprised me.
So, while I respect your analysis and reading of the debates, my personal experience with Joe Q Voter suggests many found it impressive/persuasive. Limited sample size, of course, but it has definitely been a trend.
I asked you specifically about how he was unprepared. There was not a single question I saw posed to Berwick where he appeared to be unfamiliar with the issue or where he attempted to change the subject to a tangential convenient talking point *in place of* giving a direct response about the issue and how he feels it should be addressed. Berwick has given answers which have included condemning MA political leaders who have been negligent on addressing major issues the Commonwealth faces. Coakley has continued to blame Wall Street, without explaining what we could or should have done or can or will do. Two of the greatest differences I’ve seen between Berwick vs. Coakley and Grossman is in how he is passionate about his positions and why he is in regards to homelessness and casinos. I’ve found Coakley to be the most unprepared of all of them. In regards to homelessness, she said twice (in one debate) that when the economy gets better, “we can look into it,” suggesting that she still has to do so. Berwick, in contrast, named initiatives and reports recently published and solutions he’d incorporate to ensure that homelessness was eradicated under his tenure.
Yes, Coakley has said many times (even covered in a campaign ad by the Berwick campaign), “I agree with Don…,” and Berwick has made ad homs about her and Grossman, but that wasn’t all he said.
I don’t see the condescension. I see frustration with a system where the two front runners and the Republican get away with virtually the same empty talking points and petty attacks on whether or not they know the amount of the gas tax. All this nonsense is celebrated by a celebrity driven media who asks, “who is the backup quarterback for a pro football team”.
Bread & Circus is all we are getting from the Media and the front runners of both parties.
While jbusch may find it reasonable to posit that when one asks him/her in which areas specifically Berwick was unprepared for the debates that it is because supporters are unable to acknowledge his weaknesses, the truth is that I (this supporter, at least) had found precisely those 2 items mentioned (“read the literature”, “these two are politicians”) problematic after watching the Stonehill College debate.
I don’t believe that Berwick never being able to get traction to come out on top in polls was a result of poor performance in debates or doing AMA on Reddit one afternoon. The last time I was in Massachusetts for a Democratic primary campaign for governor (I was out of the country during the Romney years), I supported Robert Reich – another big progressive who had worked in a Democratic administration successfully on national policy and implementation and returned from Washington only to also lose to the candidate supported by the Commonwealth’s Democratic Party machine.
Some have found inspiration to believe in the possibility of Berwick rising to overtake Coakley by basing it on Obama’s succession over establishment supported “inevitable” candidate Clinton while leaving out all the factors that existed then that have not existed here.
There’s quite a bit of analysis that I don’t believe is supported by the data that Berwick has been his own worst enemy by not doing something right during the campaign (drove his own car, was too accessible to journalists, didn’t use the right talking point during a debate) which have no justification to accept as causal factors. None of them are at all supported by the evidence – at least none that I’ve ever been made aware of that if you publicly announce to journalists that you’re available to meet whenever necessary to answer questions that somehow your supporters will do less canvassing. There are probably at least a dozen things I could come up with off the top of my head that I think the campaign should have done, but these are things that no campaigns do – that only an exceptionally innovative campaign manager would have introduced – items that were neither incorporated by Grossman’s or Coakley’s campaign either, and obviously I have no data to support the argument that any of my ideas would have made a drastic change to the dynamics either.
The biggest change I would have made (were I to be emperor) is completely ** outside of how the campaigns were run ** but to fire most of the political journalists and ensure that the debates were aired on various stations of broadcast TV simultaneously and that candidates’ full speeches were broadcast on TV – that the public airwaves serve the public interest and not just the interests of advertisers and share holders of these infotainment horse race phony political news spots.
How many people who are voting went to some website and watched a streaming debate for 1-2 hours? Last I saw, this general election (not even just the primary) is looking to break records as far as high voter apathy, and it’s very difficult to imagine how without adopting some incredibly untraditional tactics, how an outsider candidate can increase name recognition and fight the media and political machines to overtake 2 establishment candidates.
The fact that over the past few weeks, the campaign was able to more than double its numbers after a year of stagnation at ~5% shows the incredible amount of work everyone was doing, which I think many of us should acknowledge.
I’ve been rambling, but getting back to it – yes, I was disappointed when Berwick said to “read the literature” and didn’t enumerate as exhaustively as I would have preferred, the details, hoping that in following debates he would do so. This is available, but it’s something I believe only Berwick supporters and campaigners against casinos would know about – not potential voters who’ve yet to hear more detailed arguments: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B6Yonv3lQc4
Another factor which I think is being ignored in regards to opposition to Berwick is that most people voting appear to support having casinos and learning that Berwick is opposed to them turns them off to him.
I’d expect a similar response if a candidate were to advocate voting against same-sex marriage in a general election while voters understood it had already been legalized by the government.
Regarding him calling Coakley and Grossman more of the same and exclaiming that he’s not a politician, these are things that while I agree with the former, I’ve thought it shows bad form. There are lots of people I think are assholes, but I won’t say that about them in the 3rd person in front of a captive audience. If only for the simple reason that when attempting to appeal to people and get their support, I don’t want to myself come off as an asshole.
I was reflecting on some on how he might have handled the not-a-politician thing.
One thing would have been to dole out some compliments to Coakley and Grossman. That’s not an impossibility — and it’s something each of them did and it’s pretty standard in political debates now to show some kindness amid all the competition. Better debate prep would have given him some lines to follow.
He might also have taken the tack that, in the past political acumen or skill or experience or something might have been very important for a governor but right now it’s clear we need someone with his skill set. For example, a transition to single-payer truly requires expertise but also the kind of advocacy backed by knowledge with which he is uniquely equipped by the experiences he was fortunate to have. The word “fortunate” sprinkles gratitude and humility over some of this. Much needed. Such an approach also makes it less about Coakley (and to an extent Grossman) and more about Massachusetts, and now, and what our needs are. In other words, I think this whole line could have been pursued both more effectively and more politely.
Now, I confess I don’t prep candidates for debates as my day job or even as a hobby, but I bet if you think about it, you too can come up with ways his debate performance could have been much stronger.
One of the contrasts I was left with was that Berwick really knows his stuff and is passionate but has little tact, can be a little dickish, while Grossman and Coakley were very polite, but didn’t care to know the information outside of what a lobbyist would hand them (Grossman) or what talking point they were told to use (Coakley).
I’ve not decided yet if I’ll post about why Berwick has received my support even though I accepted he had no chance since sometime in July when I saw his poll numbers – 5%, and I had concerns about how we would get policy implemented and work with the State House when it seemed he hadn’t developed great people skills with adversaries, but the fact that he was passionate enough to look at research concerning the homeless and to speak directly about poverty rather than just talking about the middle class, really moved me.
I understand now that you were referring more to how to handles one’s self, act, respond to situations, while prepping initially meant to me to have made one’s self knowledgeable enough on the issues to have a position, familiarity, etc. There were a few moments in which it appeared to me that Martha Coakley had never given some issues any previous thought. Same thing for Grossman, but I felt that he was better able to at least reference some work that he did that was marginally relevant.
The progressive movement of the first part of 20th century really was all for good government run by experts.
Progressives of today are a bit suspicious of experts. Given what scientists who are hired by industry or the Heritage Foundation say, this is not irrational. So running as the expert, uniquely qualified leader is a sort of unusual thing. Populists are more inclined to the idea that “anyone” should be able to be governor.
I was thinking about how Don Berwick’s approach seems different from Deval Patrick’s or Elizabeth Warren’s. In Elizabeth Warren’s case, she came to the race having done an enormous amount of scholarly work on the financial industry. It’s an area in which she is expert and learned. However, you never heard her argue that now was the time for the Senate to have an expert like Ms. Warren and that Mr. Brown, as a career politician, simply lacked the necessary knowledge to do his job competently. You never heard that, but you know what? Had she said it, it would have been true — and she might have lost the election. But think about it, Ms. Warren never ran her campaign that way.
Deval Patrick’s appeal in 2006 was largely around changing some fundamental things about Massachusetts, not to govern “by sound bite”, to do what people behind him advocated. There was never a suggestion that he was “better” than his rivals; it was more that he urged us to become part of making the state better and promised, as it were, to bring us into the state house with him.
Don Berwick is not inviting us into the state house with him. Instead, it’s that he knows what the Commonwealth needs, he explain that to you very clearly if you don’t know what that is, and he can do what the Commonwealth needs because of his extraordinary qualifications. It’s different, say, from Patrick’s early openness to having his agenda influenced. It’s a kind of romance of leadership whereby the leader and the led find the perfect match.
As I say, unusual for a progressive in 2014.
…but a lot of her supporters did, and my own support for her was based largely on the idea that someone with her professional background was exactly what we needed in the Senate at that moment.
I think I’ve outlined how he could have done better, but didn’t. And yes, he wasn’t caught by surprise, but that’s a low bar — especially if you’re polling at 13%. If you depend on the debate, you have to prepare in such a way that you do really well in it. What I think he did accomplish was to pick up voters who agreed with him strongly on casinos or single-payer.
And addressing poverty and homelessness.
No idea how that happened-sorry!
voted for Grossman, you’re still looking at Coakley ahead 47-38, per the latest Globe poll. And, of course, that is not what would happen. At least some Berwick voters would vote for Coakley, and others would stay home.
Vote for the candidate you like best on Tuesday. Don’t try to strategize around what other voters might or might not do. That’s a recipe for disappointment.
If you trust one poll. It misses that the entire campaign would have been different without Berwick
The point is that holding on to Berwick is an exercise in futility. One commenter last week was OK with because Coakley is as acceptable as Grossman. Although I think that attitude alone is a product of Berwick’s campaign, fine. But if you think Coakley’s done bad stuff in the past, has no charisma, totally sucks, will lose to Baker, is a bad prospective nominee, and you’re still voting Berwick, you’re just being stubborn.
I’m one of them. I like the guy but I don’t see him winning against Baker.
to vote for Don Berwick in the primary.
If you are certain that Martha will win with 48% of the vote leaving Berwick and Grossman to split the remainder, the percentages that either receives will information for the Coakley campaign going ahead. It seems clear to me that Martha Coakley believes passionately in whatever it is that is leading in the polls, so a strong second finish for Don Berwick will present her with an epiphany to maybe go for real health care reform during the general election or her campaign for re-election.
Unless of course the year is 2000, Ralph Nader is your favorite, and you live in Florida… 😉
Just ask this guy.
I agree with BMG’s endorsement, and your post David. I share the view in the endorsement that Berwick hasn’t run a strong campaign. He’s missed opportunity after opportunity to mobilize a grass roots campaign, and introduce himself to wide segment of the electorate through paid-media. It’s too bad. However, with respect to tomorrow, I might under different circumstances vote for a candidate who wasn’t my first choice, if there was another solid progressive who I though stood a very good chance of winning. In my view that isn’t the case here. Grossman is a corporatist. Coakley is a pre-packaged (by consultants) politician who doesn’t seem to have a clear, progressive ideology. Berwick believes in the progressive agenda—on his own, not because someone told him to—and he reflexively believes in what is good for the many, not the few. If I’m throwing away my vote tomorrow, I do so without reservation because the other two simply do not have an aspirational view of what we should be as a society.
…automatically make him a corporatist in your mind, as if it’s always a bad thing? He is hardly one the way it is generally used these days in a political context.
But, no. I strongly believe in the power of capital and business ownership. Owning a business is a great thing. Steve Grossman is a corporatist because (in my view) he thinks about society with business, revenue and capital ahead of people (instead of the other way around). The lottery and gambling are two examples where I think he puts revenue, and capital ahead of people.
The entire story of his business is one of putting people first. When it comes to revenue I know him well enough to be confident that he believes even from those sources revenue can be put to good use to help the people. Part of me really wishes casinos would not be such a strong factor in the gubernatorial race since we get to vote separately on that anyway and as long as we have the Lottery it is the TRG’s fiduciary responsibility to promote it.
Grossman. Frankly, I care much more about the lottery and gambling than I do about Grossman Marketing. I’ll take you at your word that he put people first in his own business. I respect him for that and he’s clearly a very successful person. The lottery and gambling are a view to how the candidates view society. Creating revenue on the backs of the poorest and most vulnerable in our society is not the way to go in my view. The lottery and gambling are regressive schemes that redistribute capital/revenue in the wrong direction. And, I have a candidate who is more in line with my thinking than either Grossman, or Coakley. I don’t think Steve Grossman is a bad person, I just think that he sees a panacea in revenue, but fails to recognize the societal cost (cost to real people) that goes along with it.
And they voted on it way back in 1970 by fairly decisive margins. So long as the Treasurer runs the lottery, and so long as the voters continue to support it, he would be abandoning his post and duties by not pursuing that revenue.
Some common sense moderation should certainly be employed-the $30 scratch offs were a terrible ‘innovation’, as was tying the game to local sports franchises or targeting youth. All share the same ethics of a tobacco company and aren’t a responsible avenue for a state agency to pursue. Ding Grossman on that, but not on his management as Treasurer, good luck trying to repeal the lottery-casinos repeal looks like it’s a struggle at the moment-can’t imagine how badly repealing the lottery would fare.
That is his management as treasurer. It isn’t easy but how the candidates view these difficult issues speaks to their political philosophy. I agree with much of your second paragraph.
If Grossman did more for me, I might vote for him just to keep Coakley from the chance of blowing another winnable race. However, I like Berwick over Steve too dang much to let go of my vote.
Berwick’s presence in the race gives you Coakley.
Or, Coakley in the race gives us Coakley.
The spoiler is the statewide officeholder with 40 years of Democratic activism who’s within potential striking distance. Definitely not the total newbie to Mass. electoral politics 60% of primary voters never heard of.
Or I could vote for the guy who doesn’t favor state-sponsored gambling addiction.
The die was cast when Attorney General (and gubernatorial candidate) Martha Coakley used the power of her office to drive Tim Murray out of the race. Ms. Coakley’s shamelessly self-serving use of the Michael McLaughlin scandal to tarnish her only genuine competitor was a political assassination.
It also was yet another demonstration that the important priority for Ms. Coakley is “what benefits Martha Coakley”. Justice, truth, fairness, equity, or what best serves the public interest all get flushed down the toilet in service of what Martha Coakley thinks will most help Martha Coakley.
Tim Murray would have (a) blown the doors off Martha Coakley in the primary and (b) blown the doors off Charlie Baker in the general.
That’s why Ms. Coakley knifed him in the back, and that’s we face the “race” we have.
I agree with much of what else you say, but I don’t think this would have happened. Not even close. She’s too popular, especially among women, who make up a majority of the primary voters.
Back in 2012, she was polling at 43% to Murray’s 11%. She’s basically stayed at that low 40s mark consistently in almost every poll in the last two years.
I also don’t think that Murray could energize progressives like DLP did (I know he’d never get my vote), and the insider pol attacks would be all too easy with Murray.
I knew before I scrolled to the end of your comment who wrote it, but you have never shown the connection, just like you always assert that Coakley will do Deleo’s bidding. Part of why AGs haven’t done well promoting themselves to Governor is in the course of being AG they actually do their jobs even if it ruffles political feathers.
We’ve been over this ground before.
Martha Coakley leaked Mr. Murray’s name while the federal indictments against Mr. McLaughlin were pending. Ms. Coakley negotiated a “plea bargain” with Mr. McLaughlin, and made sure that the entire world knew that Tim Murray was the name she was looking for. She negotiated an exit strategy with Mr. Murray, he left the race, and — surprise surprise — there were no other indictments from all that information Mr. McLaughlin provided to Ms. Coakley.
So when the dust settled, Martha Coakley let an outright thief (Michael McLaughlin) get away with a sweetheart deal in exchange for getting Ms. Coakley’s chief rival to step down.
If Martha Coakley were doing her job, then EVERY one of the many Democrats whom Michael McLaughlin illegally raised money for would be leaving public office or under indictment. That is NOT what happened.
Nobody was going to beat Coakley in the primary, she has been orchestrating this for years. Neither Mr. Grossman nor Mr. Berwick ever had a prayer of defeating Ms. Coakley in the primary, with or without the other.
Another observation is my firm belief that Ms. Coakley’s presence in the race gives US “Governor Baker”.
I get what you are saying and when this becomes the general election, I can sympathize. However, this is a primary and if I can’t defend my principles here, why should I even bother to participate in the process other that support “anyone” who can beat “the opponent” with no regard to the issues of either? All I become at that point is a pawn for the power hungry Democrat battling the pawns working obediently for the power hungry Republican.
TL/DR: If all I doing is working to elect a party, not policies, I’m being exploited and would prefer to sit on the sidelines for none of it truly matters to me.
Constituting 0.00000015 of the population of our commonwealth, you Sir are no certainly pawn.
I am a very large pawn. That’s how it works.
Berwick ran a terrible campaign. He didn’t hire the right people, He didn’t engage the public. Not only are those skills necessary to get elected, they are necessary to be a Governor. I might view this situation differently if Berwick were running for a legislative position.
Right now, voting for Don is like voting for a Green Party candidate. You are voting for somebody who doesn’t have a chance.
I don’t know if even now I would call myself a progressive, and I certainly wasn’t one back in 2010, but I considered voting for Jill Stein because what she was saying about single-payer healthcare made sense to me. Four years later, that viewpoint has moved into the Democratic platform and is being espoused by one of our three leading candidates.
I think we need to take the long view and realize that a show of support for Dr. Berwick’s policies is not just about next Tuesday, whatever the outcome may be. Also, it’s not like the man and the further contributions he can make just disappear if he doesn’t win.
Since I am a total, total research-oriented nerd I went back and watched part of the 2010 C-SPAN debate with Patrick, Baker, Cahill, and Stein. Please everyone help elect Berwick on Tuesday, I would so much like to see him mop the floor with Baker…
The debates are not actually debates about issues. The debates are much more about form than substance. A single 10 second mistake by a candidate can end a campaign. The candidates rarely answer questions directly during a debate.
Incidentally, Jill Stein is similar to Don Berwick. They are both physicians who think they know how to run the country.
If you start with the 18% (by GDP) of the country that is health care, they have the jump on most of us.
Of course you recognize that Berwick’s portfolio in government and management is much broader than Stein’s.
Although a lot of physicians don’t live up to it, I also like that “First do no harm” part in someone I’m entrusting with reforming the government.
Like Rand Paul, who is a physician?
Or Oklahoma’s right wingnut Senator (and doctor) Tom Coburn?
Yesterday I spoke with 3 dozen voters and several spoke abt considering Berwick after watching him in the debates. My conversation with them was easier with those voters and I had a higher rate of Berwick ID’S yesterday than I have had in past (undecideds all rule the day but by a smaller margin).
Before the debates, I was encountering MANY voters who brought up hearing Berwick on a WBUR and being impressed. Those conversations were much easier too.
…in a general election without IRV when it is likely to be close and could split the vote and elect a Republican with only a plurality.
How is voting for Grossman voting for someone who had a chance? If your guy was within the MoE or even down five, you have a point, but we ain’t sopping what Grossman already spoiled on his own time.
Kosta Demos says
always lose, no matter who takes the election. So get over it and vote for the one you think is best – in this case, I think most would say Berwick. So just do it.
I feel a bit like I’m interrupting a bit, since I have been away from BMG for a couple years—sorry about that –had nothing to do with BMG.
I am a Grossman supporter–say that up front-
I have never seen a strong indication that Berwick has an appreciation for organized labor. I have heard him give a good speech but not mention unions or labor
When Don Berwick talks about promoting a single payer system for Mass I have not heard him address how he would make up for the massive loss of jobs this could cause. The bureaucracy of health plans HMO’s etc are massive and redundant but they employ a thousands of people.
I only watched the most recent debate seen a couple local speeches, and read over his web site — so I could easily have missed if this has been brought up before.