Local and vocal Never Trump Republican Ed Lyons wrote a fascinating and accidental expose of Charlie Baker’s otherwise under the radar SuperPac: Massachusetts Majority. For Ed Lyons, this PAC is a sign that Baker has taken the next step in his journey from infamous indifferencee to active resistance to the Trumpist takeover of his nominal party.
Lyons even views this PAC as proof that Baker is trying to create his own statewide third party, a prospect Lyons welcomes:
The rift between Baker’s donors and supporters and the MassGOP’s new leadership has made Massachusetts Majority necessary. Here’s how it works. Baker and those around him can vet candidates and decide who to support. The super PAC notices, and then it can help. The PAC has voter data, and has already done targeted mailings to help candidates. And there is an implicit platform or philosophy underpinning it all: Charlie Baker’s centrist governing philosophy. That platform, plus Baker’s donor network and his base of power — combined with Massachusetts Majority — add up to a political party, no matter how much people may claim it is absolutely, positively no such thing.
What Ed and I both find interesting about this new PAC controlled by Baker is that it is also donating heavily to Democrats.
The Democrats should be concerned as well, since Massachusetts Majority has also been supporting Democratic candidates. The Democratic Party does not have a lock on a majority of Massachusetts voters, and Massachusetts Majority may help non-progressive Democrats win without the backing of their party.
So who exactly is underwriting this PAC and what their political and financial interests might be? My own digging at OCPF has turned up a lot of construction and finance executives and their spouses. A Republican governor having his own campaign fund to influence municipal lawmakers in both parties is pretty unprecedented around here. It should be cause for concern for the Massachusetts Democratic Party and progressives across the state. Particularly those in urban areas.
So far the PAC has been most active in municipal elections:
In last week’s municipal elections it spent an unbelievable $267,000 on 15 candidates, of which 11 won. Four of the 11 candidates who won did so in close races.
The full list of candidates is here. Many of these names happen to be some of the same Democrats who endorsed Baker back in 2018. Now they are taking his money. David Bernstein seems to echo Lyons that Baker might be going fully independent of the GOP for his expected campaign for a third term in 2022.
While Bernstein and Lyons obsess over Baker and his relationship to the GOP, I find Baker’s deep political and now financial ties to prominent Democratic leaders more disconcerting.