BOSTON (CBS) — Jon Keller sat down with Experience Magazine Editor Joanna Weiss and Boston Globe reporter James Pindell to break down the winners and the losers of the midterm elections. Nationally, voters appeared to be deeply divided, but in Massachusetts, voters seemed to be supportive of the status quo.
To Weiss, that’s not surprising. “Massachusetts has a long tradition of liking divided government, of liking the Republican governor and as a foil for the Democratic legislature, liking the tradition of them working together, which Charlie Baker has made a good show of doing. And there’s a lot of conscious on some of these big social issues.”
Pindell added, “Let’s be honest with what we are talking about. The races for Congress were basically irrelevant in the general election.” As for Warren and Baker’s races, “two things didn’t happen. One, their challengers never really found an argument, so why did the incumbent need to be fired? And second, there was never the surge of outside money to help the cause of firing that incumbent. That was probably the most surprising thing if you step back on this election, for me anyway, was that a number of these people who ran against Warren thought that in theory, there would be this national super PAC to sort of take on Elizabeth Warren, to bruise her up.”
Keller noted that when former governor Deval Patrick won his second term, he immediately said he would not be running for a third, making himself a lame duck. Baker did not fall into the same trap.
“He’s a student of history,” said Weiss. “He has so much political capital behind him to be a little bit bolder in terms of some of the changes he might want to make. Transportation. We haven’t seen him much on education. He has a little bit of a blank slate and certainly some power behind him to push forth and to really kind of push the legislature in a direction that he wants. And why would he want to stop that?”
Despite the policial capital, Pindell said, “We’ve seen it time and time again that governors who are really popular, particularly one who has held the mantle of the most popular in the country, don’t use it because they just like to not use that capital. They like to be popular. And that’s going to be one of his questions.”
As for the biggest losers of the elections? Weiss said any celebrity that endorsed a candidate who didn’t win: Taylor Swift, Beyonce.
Pindell pointed out a “little loser:” Elizabeth Warren. “I know she won by 24 points but now she claims she is going to take a hard look at the presidency. As she looks back at the midterm election that look just got a little bit harder…I guess I would say this it’s a lost opportunity more than a lose through net-gain because no candidate in America was better positioned to take advantage of a major blue wave than she was because they had been involved in so many different contests.”
Keller said the labor movement in Massachusetts had a tough election night. Question 1 on nurse-patient staffing limits was rejected. The passing of Question 2 creates a commission to look at Citizens United, which not only lifts barriers on corporate donations to campaigns but donations from labor unions. With the commission, that is now in danger.