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March Surprise

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Political State Report Covers 3rd Berkshire

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Jesse Gordon for Cambridge

How Goes Milton...

Deval Patrick Attacks Romney


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"Electability"


Left Center Left responds to my comment on electability. I was specifically commenting on this from a previous post:
1) I'm not against a primary race per se, I just fear that progressives rallying behind Patrick are doing so for the wrong reasons, in an attempt to secure a progressive as gubernatorial candidate - full stop. David says a primary run could only strengthen Reilly as a candidate: true, unless progressives and partisan types expect him to bend to much to win it – or unless he loses the primary to a less electable candidate, which is more likely to happen if party voters aren't focusing on overall electability or convince themselves that the list of things they happen to want equal electability. In fact, the '02 primary – responsible for the "O'Brien debacle" – proves the case in point. Here, competition and candidate-testing didn't produce the desired result.
We need a primary race so that each faction of the party gets an honest chance to present a candidate. As a progressive, this is the coalition I am trying to build for the general: Progressive Dems, Greens and other non-Dem progressives, Labor, Women, Minorities, Working Poor, Gays and Lesbians, etc. This is not an exclusive list, it's just the major coalitions that progressives target. Are White-Male-Middle-class-Conservative-Dems allowed? Hell yeah! I just have to prioritize. I think this is a winning coalition against Romney -- of course I care about electability -- it's just a lot more complicated than "has good name-recognition a year before it matters" or "has a good resume" or "can win over moderates/conservatives".

Moderate/Conservative Dems are building a different possible winning coalition -- Middle class Dems, perhaps Conservative Dems and Catholics, Labor, Minorities, Women, Moderate Republicans. It's not what I'm trying to do, but I think it's a valid strategy. Romney seems to be building a coalition of out-of-staters, so this coalition might be able to move right and actually be a winning one this cycle -- even so, it's not what I am trying to do.

Come September 2006, it will be a lot easier for me to combine my coalition with the other one if there's a good contested, open, and fair primary. If progressives think they had a fair shot and lost, they will be more vested in the process and back the winner. During the primary, I want the other candidate to recognize that we have a lot of voters with our candidate and they should try to tap into it. If I sit out and let the "electable" candidate have it, he never taps into my voters and becomes less "electable".

This is why Deval Patrick is not a lay-up for progressives. I think he needs to address his labor issues. If I think that Labor is luke-warm to his candidacy and will sit out or back Romney or a third party or undermine him in the general the way Finneran undermined Harshbarger, then it really hurts the winning coalition I am trying to build.