Why The Dems Lost in MA ... One More Take

In the era of saturation coverage and Monday morning quarterbacking where all our mistakes become obvious in retrospect though we manage to miss them when it could have really counted, and Facebook is filled with angry denunciations that Our Democracy is Officially Broken, though these same pronouncements would have miraculously morphed into self-satisfaction if Democrats had  won the day on Tuesday — in light of all of this, I will not demonstrate better judgement by keeping my mouth shut, but rather offer my own unexamined, unresearched, unuseful hypothesis on this week’s Democratic misfortune, at least for the state of Massachusetts. Ok, here goes ...

The state’s Democrats quite simply are suffering from Election Fatigue.  It's as simple as that. Every election for the past five years, and there have been many of them, has been a fire drill, and it’s worn them out.

Starting with Ted Kennedy’s death in August 2009, Massachusetts Democrats have been asked to rally round the party banner again and again.  To put a number on it, on average every five and a half months there has been an election, a convention or  a major political announcement in the Commonwealth.
 

In January 2010, five months after Kennedy's death, Democrat Martha Coakley lost to Scott Brown in the special election to fill that seat. Nine months later, voters went to the polls in mid-term primaries, and then two months after that, they were back in the voting booth for the general election.  Then, ten months later, Elizabeth Warren announced she was running for the U.S. Senate seat won by Brown two years earlier. With primaries in September of 2012, and then the general election in November of that year, voters and activists had had a lot to process over the past four years.  But it wasn’t done yet.  In December of 2012, President Obama announced that he was picking John Kerry as his nominee for Secretary of State.  The election to fill his senate seat was set for June 2013, with the primaries held in April of that year. Five months after ensuring that Elizabeth Warren beat Scott Brown, voters were asked to go back to the polls to pick Kerry’s replacement, and on April 30, the Democrats chose Ed Markey as their standard bearer, and three months later, he was elected to the seat.

So, when Martha Coakley emerged again in 2014, there just wasn’t the energy left in the tank to produce the margin of difference she needed. Her challenge was to find that boost among her electorate, and it was something she just couldn’t do. In a Republican year, in a Democratic state, the batteries simply were too drained to get her where we wanted to go.  Here's what the history looks like as a chart:


2009
August
Ted Kennedy dies
Special Election
2010
January
Scott Brown defeats Martha Coakley for US Senate
Democratic primary
2010
September 

General Election
2010
November
Deval Patrick re-elected governor

2011
September 
Elizabeth Warren announces
Democratic primary
2012
March
Elizabeth Warren chosen as party’s nominee
General Election
2012
November
Elizabeth Warren elected to US Senate; President Obama re-elected

2012
December
Obama names John Kerry to be Secretary of State
Democratic primary
2013
April
Ed Markey chosen as the party’s nominee for Senate
Special Election
2013
June
Ed Markey elected to US Senate
State Convention
2014
June 

Democratic primary
2014
September
Martha Coakley chosen as party’s nominee
General Election
2014
November
Martha Coakley loses to Charlie Baker




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