I believe Scott Brown has a chance, albeit a slight one, to shock the political world on January 19th. Call this assessment one part innate republican optimism and one part observations from Ward 2, Newburyport on primary day.
For starters, the lack of intensity by democrats yesterday was simply stunning. MA hasn't had a Senate vacancy since 1984 and turnout was pathetic. What's behind the apathy? One theory expressed to the Daily News "I think it's because people aren't particularly excited about this race. They don't see a big difference in the candidates. They seem pleased with them all," Erickson said." I agree with the first part of this statement and think the second part is dead wrong. There wasn't a dimes worth of difference seperating the 4 democratic candidates on the major issues of this campaign and that's the problem.
If people are excited about a candidate they are going to express it by volunteering or at least showing up to the polls to vote. Yesterday, the only campaign that had folks holding signs was Scott Brown's. Admittedly, it was a bit chilly out there yesterday, but it wasn't unseasonably cold, it is December after all. This lack of excitement is the canary in the coal mine moment for the democrats and they ignore it at their peril.
The US Senate is currently debating legislation on: health care, energy, a potential second (jobs bill) stimulus and a promise/threat of taking up "immigration reform". If enacted these bills will transfer unprecedented power to the Federal government and registered democrats responded to this by staying home. If the majority of democrats in MA were excited by this agenda they would have voted in large numbers. The truth is that this agenda is only popular with the far left of the democratic party, even here in deep blue MA and independents are scared to death by it.
Some completely anecdotal, unscientific examples from yesterday. An independent voter approached me to tell me that he had voted for Scott. He also told me the guy at the desk told him he was requesting the "wrong ballot", just part of the joy of living in MA. Another told me he works for a small plumbing supply company and if the health care bill passes they will be forced to cut their employees from 55 down to 49. They don't want to do this, they simply can't afford to pay the mandates that will be imposed by this legislation.
So, how does all this help Scott? Martha Coakley will be campaigning on issues that only appeal to a small percentage of voters. If Scott Brown and this is a big if, can convince the independens that are a majority of voters in this state to cast a ballot for a republican, probably for the first time in their lives he has a fighting chance.
To give Scott a fighting chance the republicans in the US Senate need to stand up and fight instead of playing nice guy. This election needs to be fought on big issues. The principal one being a victory by Scott Brown denies the democrats 60 votes for the federal takeover of health care.