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Entries in MassPoliticsProfs by Jerold Duquette

In her recent Globe column (“Nothing Pragmatic about Charlie Baker’s Death Penalty Gambit”) Renee Loth writes, “[f]or someone who has based his entire political persona on a non-ideological, pragmatic approach to government, Governor Charlie Baker’s recent flirtation with reinstating the death penalty is a distressing swerve.”  I respectfully disagree.

When party officials say they will remain neutral in a primary it CANNOT mean that they will simply stand back and let nominees be chosen without their preferences being impactful. If that were the case, then there would be little point of parties having leaders. Official neutrality in primaries can, at best, mean no public endorsements until after the primary, NOT no efforts to DO THEIR JOB, which is to get party members elected in November.

American politics in 2018 is a hot mess. The Age of Trump will almost certainly be understood as a chaotic and terribly destructive time in American politics when our institutions were strained to the limit and democratic norms of conduct were shattered. Not so in Massachusetts, however.

The drop of the Bay State from 1st to 8th in the U.S. News rankings will undoubtedly complicate Charlie Baker’s re-election effort, but it isn’t likely to cause the odds makers to move the state’s gubernatorial race from a “likely” re-election to a “toss up.” Nonetheless, it is clearly an unexpected gift to the three folks competing to be Baker’s general election foe.

There is a clear lesson here to be learned (or remembered), of course...

State Representative Solomon Goldstein-Rose of Amherst has decided to leave the Democratic Party and become an unenrolled voter and state legislator. Interestingly, he indicated that the move will not impact his commitment to the values of the Democratic Party or his willingness to work and vote with the Democrats just as he has while a member of the party.

So…what’s the point?

My advice to the Guv is to throw a “Flake.” Overnight the biggest personal check the law allows to Doug Jones ASAP. If Jones pulls it out, Baker will be able to say that he has, in fact, “put his money where his mouth is” and will continue to oppose unfit candidates regardless of their party label. 

There are a lot more unknowns about the 2018 Massachusetts governor’s race today than there were a month ago. The pundits, pollsters, insiders, and blogging profs can be forgiven for attempting to apply conventional wisdom to this popular parlor game, but when it comes to the potential toxicity of Donald Trump in 2018, we may have to recognize a new species of unknowns that would probably even befuddle Donald Rumsfeld himself. In the Age of Trump we may have to get used to grappling with “virtually certain unknown unknowns.”

Yesterday morning I assumed that Charlie Baker would earn re-election the old fashion way. Today, I have my doubts.  The situation is so potentially unstable, in fact, that I wouldn’t be shocked if Charlie Baker ends up running for re-election as an independent.

Upon Reflection: My Take on the Flag Flap

Disapproval of the NFL players’ form of political protest is the result of ignorance, misinformation and disinformation nurtured by understandable (but not justified) emotional reactions. The idea that such protests were disrespectful to military members and veterans is illogical and wrong. Of course, one can “feel” that anything is anything, but since words and ideas actually have meaning, we can and should dismiss as demonstrably false the truth claim that Colin Kaepernick’s protest was disrespectful (intentionally or otherwise) to the military.

 

Why?

Trump is a failed human being in almost every respect. Pretending that he might “grow” into the toughest job on earth is moronic. Pretending that the signs of engagement that signaled confidence and competence in past presidencies can be interpreted similarly during the Trump presidency is not useful and may even be dangerous.

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