Friday, August 24, 2018

Massachusetts U.S. Senate- Race of the Day

74 Days Until Election Day

Massachusetts U.S. Senate

Status: Democrat Incumbent
2016 Presidential Result: Blue State (East)

Outlook: Safe Democrat

Yes, to correct a minor detail I made yesterday, that was appropriately pointed out by a commenter, Democrat Elizabeth Warren is Massachusetts' senior Senator, amid a time of turnover for the delegation from that state, and if a lot of Democrats have their way, she will also be the next President of the United States.

As the former Harvard professor and acting head of the CPFB, at the agency's outset, seeks a second term in the Senate, she also seems to be putting out major signals that she intends to seek her party's 2000 Presidential nomination. As she will be turning 70 next year, this could likely the last realistic chance she has of running, and at the moment in very early polls, she only trails two better known Democrats, (who happen to be older than her), Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders.

Even before defeating a Republican incumbent in 2012, who had made national headlines by winning Ted Kennedy's former seat in a special election, Warren has been a hero to many on the left for her staunchly left-wing views on economic matters and income inequality. This is all even more interesting since claims to have been a Republican until 1995.That means that for years, she was a Republican, while her potential opponent, Donald Trump was a Democrat. Warren has been especially outspoken regarding Trump and his Administration and all sorts of Republicans seem to be more than ok with her becoming the face of the party. The theory is that she is so liberal and so off-putting personally to many in the center or on the right, that she would be next in line of easy pickings in terms of Massachusetts Democrat Presidential nominees.

Expect Trump to continue to hammer away at her as "Pocohantas", alluding to the controversy from her first Senate campaign when she was alleged to have claimed to be Native American in order to benefit for professional opportunities in academia. The fact is that Warren, who grew up in Oklahoma, likely does have Native American ancestry, but not nearly enough of it for her to have appropriately claimed to be Native American herself. None of this seemed to matter to the voters in Massachusetts very much though in her defeat of Scott Brown in 2012. At the time, Republicans had some clever jokes and nicknames for the candidate, regarding the situation. Now, Trump calling her "Pocohontas" just comes across to many as racial and nasty.

The Bay State is very liberal, but Warren is a polarizing figure at home perhaps as much as around the country. Some early reelection polling had her numbers at less than impressive levels indicating that a lot of people would like someone else to be Senator, perhaps in part, because of what is perceived about her national focus and ambitions, but there does not seem to be any Republican, in this race, or out of it, that would be in a decent position to actually defeat her. As party enthusiasm seems to favor the Democrats this cycle, especially in places like Massachusetts, her victory margin will wind up looking pretty big.

For a while, the person most talked about as a Republican challenger to the Senator was retired MLB pitcher Curt Schilling, whom during a long and successful career, spent time with the Boston Red Sox. Schilling was once a beloved figure in New England, and an in demand GOP surrogate, but since retiring has made headlines for some caustic and politically incorrect observations that have lead to some different thoughts about him and whether or not he could even be perceived as being in the political mainstream. Schilling did not run and has endorsed the Independent candidacy of Shiva Ayyadurai, and Indian-American entrepreneur and Ph.D who claims to have invented email (which by effect makes him personally responsible for Donald Trump beating Hillary Clinton.) His past also includes a 2005 arrest for domestic violence and apparently later having a romantic relationship with actress Fran Drescher, that up until their 2016 breakup was described in various reports as a "marriage." Ayyadurai had been running for the GOP nomination, but claimed that the party leaders did not show him proper respect and are a bunch of "racists." So, instead, he is running as an Independent, in your face type candidate, who points out that he is a "real Indian." Any votes he gets in November will come at the expense of the Republican candidate.

Three Republicans will be competing in the September 4 primary, and all of them seem reasonably credible, but have a very uphill struggle in competing against Warren and her hefty campaign warchest. Conservatives held sway at the party convention (as seen by the anti-Charlie Baker protest vote) and issued the party's official endorsement to State Representative Geoff Diehl, a proud Trump backer.

Hoping that a much larger primary electorate may see things differently is businessman and philanthropist John Kingston who  describes himself as an "Independent" type of Republican. Also running, and potentially the strongest GOP general election option is Beth Lindstrom, a businesswoman and Republican political operative ,who also served in a variety of government positions, including the Cabinet of then Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. She was the campaign manager for Scott Brown's shocking upset U.S. Senate special election win in 2010.

If Lindstrom is nominated, this race could potentially be changed to merely "Likely Democrat", but while she is gaining newspaper endorsements and support from the party establishment, winning that primary is far from a given, and those sort of things might actually hurt. Diehl has the official party backing and in a June poll, leads his two opponents, albeit with a large plurality of voters saying they are undecided. It is also reality that an endorsement Tweet from Trump could seal the deal for Diehl.

In any event, while her opponent will try to use 2020 ambitions against the incumbent, Warren is a near lock to win in November and her vote total will probably be competitive with that of Republican Governor Charlie Baker, in around the high 50's. She will have to demonstrate though how adept she is at navigating political minefields. Her comments this week, that some considered overly dismissive, in response to the story of an Iowa woman having been murdered by an illegal immigrant may not hurt her among her party's left considering Trump's deliberate pushing of the headline, but would not exactly been met with massive applause nationwide.

After that, the speculation about a run for the White House will immediately intensify. I happen to believe she is the most likely person to win the nomination, although it would be in her best interest if Bernie Sanders does not also run. The nomination of a major party against (likely) Donald Trump, whether hers or not eventually, will be one worth having for any politician, but Democrats will have to decide for themselves if they look at Elizabeth Warren and can see someone best capable of winning 270 electoral votes.

U.S. Senate races predicted thus far: 
8 D (6 Safe, 1 Likely, 1 Tossup), 
2 R (2 Tossup)

Total with predictions thus far:
31 D (23 holdovers, 6 Safe, 1 Likely, 1 Tossup)
44 R (42 holdovers, 2 Tossup)


At 12:58 PM, Blogger Democratic Socialist Dave said...

Couple of typos (often happen to me when I've corrected something else) and a minor comment.
(1) The first sentence of your second paragraph reads “... she also seems to be putting out major signals that she intends to seek her party's 2000 Presidential nomination.”
(2) In your second sentence about Curt Schilling, you write “... politically incorrect observations that have lead to some different thoughts about him...” where the word is spelled “led” (lead/led is not the same as read/read).
(3) Not only for Rhode Islanders, but at least for some folks in Massachusetts, Curt Schilling's post-baseball career is best remembered for moving a video-game maker called 38 Studios from Massachusetts to RI because of a $75 million RI state-backed loan on which 38 Studios defaulted as it crashed into dissolution and bankruptcy, chiefly because while Schilling knew sports and video games, he knew nothing about starting and running a business. (Also because video game promotion can be a highly competitive, very volatile, notoriously fickle and rarely profitable speculation.) With interest and other costs, and little to liquidate to pay off the loan, Rhode Island's taxpayers, as 38 Studios' guarantors, had to pay about $100 million to its bondholders. Much but far from all was later recouped from the investment bankers who carried this transaction. But the experience almost certainly led to the state's unwillingness to make a slightly smaller investment to keep the Pawtucket Red Sox (Int'l League, AAA, affiliate of Boston) in Rhode Island; they are now moving to Worcester, Mass.

At 4:12 PM, Blogger Steve Boudreaux said...

Warren will NEVER be the Dem nominee for the Presidency in 2020.

DSD: I think Baker goes for a 3rd term in 2022.


Post a Comment

<< Home