VOTING BLUE IN THE BLUEST STATE – Marilyn Armstrong

I’m sure California could make its own case as “the bluest state” but I think Massachusetts has a real grip on the whole “blue” thing.

We had our primaries last Tuesday. Since a lot of Democrats run unopposed, getting elected in the primaries is pretty much getting elected. The Republicans run national candidates, but locally, they often don’t bother.

Especially because our Democrats aren’t always particularly liberal. Some of them are clearly old-fashioned conservatives, but because they live in this state, they are registered as Democrats. I’ll bet this works the same way in traditionally Republican states.

Why fight with color? You are what you are, no matter what your banner might say.

Finally, this year we’ve been seeing some young or at least younger local people running. And winning. For many local offices, we had some young people — late thirties, early forties campaigners — running for office.

Finally! Some of the candidates, we just didn’t know enough about to make a judgment, but in the race for Secretary of State, there was a clear choice between Bill Galvin who has been holding that office since before I moved to the state in 1987.

Ayana Pressley, the new house of representatives winner beating long-term Representative Micheal Capuano

Galvin is, was, will always be, an old-fashioned conservative. Anywhere else, he’d be a Republican. In Massachusetts, it’s simpler to hold to your personal opinions but run as a Democrat or Independent.

He handles a lot of money issues and has done a good job of keeping our tax money in the treasury. Basically, he has done this by letting everything fall apart. The roads are giant potholes. You could lose a tank in some of those holes. The bridges are crumbling, too and around here, where we are completely surrounded by rivers, it’s getting a bit perilous to drive anywhere.

I think we will hear more from Josh Zakim. Especially after one more year of crumbling infrastructure.

Galvin (left) and Josh Zakim (right)

We have a billion dollar positive balance in our bank, but the infrastructure explains why that is. The trains are an ongoing disaster. Every year, they appoint a new transportation secretary and fire him or her in the spring, which is right after winter when those old, damaged rails stop functioning. We lack most of the safety features newer trains use.

It would help if they actually appointed someone who knew something about trains — but the real problem is that Massachusetts doesn’t want to spend the money to fix the railroads on which so many people depend. Daily. We have an underground and a lot of other, surface trains that are “supposed” to be fast, but barely gasp their way into the station. Places like Uxbridge don’t even have trains anymore.

We thought the young guy, Josh Zakim (34 years old) had a chance, but Galvin took him down two to one in the primary. Garry and I hoped for someone not quite so stodgy and old. You can’t win them all.

We did get a few young ones and a couple for whom I hold high hope. We got our very first Black woman elected to the U.S. House of Representative from Massachusetts, Ayana Pressley.

It’s the same seat Tip O’Neill and Teddy Kennedy held, so she certainly has an honorable place to start her fight. The guy she defeated, U.S. Congressman Michael E. Capuano had held the seat for ten years — was warmly gracious about her win and his loss.

Imagine that! Graciousness in politics! Who could have imagined such a shocking event in 2018?

Ayana Pressley is running unopposed in November, so she is set to become the first African-American woman elected to Congress from this Commonwealth. Many people compare Ayana Pressley’s win to that of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, winner in New York (age 28)

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a 28-year-old an educator and political activist who, on June 26, 2018, won the Democratic primary in New York’s 14th congressional district — considered a significant upset and I wish her all the best.

Even though Massachusetts is the “bluest” state in the country, our “blues” range from highly conservative (in the old-fashioned sense of the word) to very far left and straight-out socialist. I’ve lived under Socialism and rumors to the contrary notwithstanding, it’s a pretty decent system. It has flaws too, but overall, it works. Rather better than our government is working, but that wouldn’t be difficult.

Charlie Baker, our guv, is the most left-wing Republican on the map. Massachusetts’ always elects liberal Republican governors. It’s a thing. Maybe some kind of balance?

Our senate and house are Democrats, but the governor is usually a Republican. After a brief flurry of Conservative speeches when he takes office, he quickly realized that he isn’t going to accomplish anything unless he works with all those Democrats in Congress. So, he buckles down and does what they all do. Governors work with the House to try and get something accomplished.

Remarkably, what gets done is rarely what everyone was hoping for — like rebuilding the damned bridges before they fall into the rivers. And making the trains run, even when it snows. And preventing them from derailing and crashing.

I miss Tip O’Neill and Ted Kennedy. I miss the savvy guys who knew how to write legislation, then reach across the aisle and turn it into functional policy that helped people. Nationally, our legislators are stuck like a fly to flypaper. Lots of buzzing followed by death.

I have no idea how all the other primaries have gone. Primaries from states not part of New England are not covered by the news here, so I’m just hoping that at least in a few places, younger, more open people are running for office.

There was a comedienne on Colbert last night who commented that our government is quite simply too old. The reason why Drumpf thinks coal mining is a cool idea is that he’s old. Really old. No one younger than 70 would think for a minute coal mining is “the way to go” and how we’ll find “new jobs.”

That isn’t a new job. It’s a terrible, awful, poorly paid, dead-end job no one but a few people who grew up in the mines thinks is a good idea. Yeah. Let’s save 200 jobs and trash a few million. Way to go, U.S.A.

I love some of our older senators and representatives. There are some smart, savvy guys and gals there. But we need some new life too. We need them to stop sleeping at their desks and find ideas for the next 100 or so years.

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Writer, photography, blogger. Previously, technical writer. Retired! Yay!

25 thoughts on “VOTING BLUE IN THE BLUEST STATE – Marilyn Armstrong”

  1. Many of the primary winners 3 months ago were younger Democrats (top 2 candidates in a race go to general election, regardless of party, so we have several races with 2 Dems running against each other). Obama is out here this weekend speaking to rallies mostly made up of young (student-aged) voters, trying to help 7 Dem candidates win over incumbent Reps. There is some controversy over whether he can be helpful, but hopefully at least some of the districts will flip in the Generals.

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      1. I’m feeling much more hopeful after last week — McCain funeral, Amorosa book, Woodward book, anonymous op-ed piece all together have to have made a few people think a little harder!

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      2. I miss some of the old “lions” like Tip O’Neill, Ted Kennedy, John McCormack and Joe Moakley — they were bipartisan Pols in the best sense. And, I had the pleasure of knowing them — which helped immensely, educating me in political coverage. I also like the infusion of some new blood. I hope it leads to change.

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  2. LA and SF are blue, but Orange County has been red traditionally, though it is lightening up a bit and some precincts are flipping. There are reddish inland areas too. It’s a huge state and you’re right that it’s a bit more diverse.

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    1. I figured. New York is very blue in and around the city, but upstate, it’s good old red. And so was a lot of Long Island. That might have changed since Trump. But Massachusetts has been blue forever. It’s our thing. Even though we always seem to have a liberal Republican for governor. Actually, most of our Rep guvs have been pretty good. Deval Patrick was Black, a Democrat, and didn’t do anything useful for his entire term in office. But he wrote GREAT speeches.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I, too, live in OC — it’s really refreshing to find so many people this year who are concerned about the government — I’m no longer quite so afraid to open my mouth for fear of divulging my Dem beliefs. The diversity is helpful, and OC is becoming a younger population than it once was.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. We have a blue state. Two democratic senators and the majority of Reps are dems. The state went heavy for Hillary. Republicans don’t need to campaign here. They are going to lose anyway. We have a billionaire Republican governor, which shows what a LOT of advertising can do. Both Houses of the State Legislature are controlled by Dems.

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      1. There are decidedly (under)currents of Change in the world today, particularly in the world’s politics.

        I wonder and sometimes worry just what the younger voters are waking up to – and by whom they are being ‘informed’ as they wake?? There are some very slick and skilled ‘informer’s out and about and many who are not yet skilled enough to know when they are being played. 😦

        Sadly those who are skilled, generally the older voter, do not operate the same forms of communication as the younger ones prefer/are growing up with. 😦

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        1. Also, a lot of the kids simply aren’t listening. They don’t care. They have grown up in a world where you go to a “grown-up” to solve every problem and they are still waiting for the grown-ups to fix it. Except the grown-ups are getting pretty old.

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          1. A lot of the ‘kids’ still ask their parents to tell them how to vote. I have a friend whose 50-ish daughter and 25-ish granddaughter both ask him how to vote. Hopefully the kids will eventually learn to think it through for themselves, but in the meantime some of them are well advised and others not.

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          2. True.
            I don’t know if you have followed any of it but the farce that current Australian politics has descended to is turning many of the ‘grown-ups’ into people who can no longer care (for politicians anyway) and no longer see any point in voting for ‘more of the same’ opening the doors to all those with an axe to grind and a desire to make things ‘better’ again (code for: go back to where i felt more comfortable or knew where i stood) and who also have the emotional force (or hidden backers with their own agendas for power) to drag others along with them, 😦

            Troubling times of change ahead, at least in my foreseeable future.

            At least my favourite comedy show is on TV tonight – Have You Been Paying Attention – panel gameshow of Aus comedians on the weeks events from around the world. 🙂

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              1. What is a Democracy? I truly do not believe there has ever been a country that was ruled by (ALL) the people for all the people. The rich rule and always will but they pay others to do it for them.

                Voting is largely a way to keep people sufficiently unsure of where the true power lies.

                Cynical, but most likely true. 😉

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