I was raised in the part of Massachusetts that Georgians don’t know exists. There’s a reddish-blue center to the state, in Worcester County, that better resembles Lawrenceville than Lindbergh Station.
It’s the Massachusetts of Dennis Leary and Howie Carr, of gloriously obnoxious Patriots fans, and four wheelers at the kegger in the woods, and bitching about property taxes or police union salaries or how much road flagmen get paid, and good pizza next to the townie bar, and hoping for snow to grab some plow money and the uncle with half a dozen junked cars behind the barn that he’s hiding from the code enforcement guys. My home town, Northbridge, went for Trump five to four.
My home town is why we know the name Scott Brown.
I bring this up because if a Democrat is to win the congressional seat formerly held by Dr. Tom Price, it will be a Scott Brown moment.
I have some unsolicited advice for those earnest campaigners — advice that might be surprising to hear from a man who started calling Donald Trump a fascist sometime in mid-July of 2015.
Never mind Trump.
Attach your competitors to the health care bill. With cement.
About 60,000 people in the sixth work in health care, social services or higher education. And approximately no one likes the American Health Care Act rolling through congress like an Indiana Jones boulder of excrement. Not libertarian Republicans looking for a clean out of the ACA. Not mainstreet Republicans who actually wanted something that might work. Not working class white Trump voters who were promised rainbow fairies sprinkling magic pixie dust on their bills. And certainly not Democrats, who will vote en masse against it and anything like it.
Anything a Republican candidate says about this bill is going to cost them votes. If the leading Republican contender after the jungle primary is sufficiently coated in the drek this bill is dredging up, Republican voters may simply stay home … which is about the only way a Democrat wins this seat.
I bring all Scott Brown because he emerged from similar loathing in Massachusetts.
No one particularly liked the Affordable Care Act as it was emerging from a Democrat-controlled legislature in 2010. Then, Ted Kennedy died, right in the middle of it all.
Martha Coakley, the singularly-useless machine candidate of the Massachusetts Democratic Party, faced off against a young, telegenic working-class truck-driving Republican from Boston’s North Shore, Scott Brown.
Republicans turned out. Democrats stayed home. Brown squeaked out a win.
Coakley sucked multidimensionally, of course. Many voters did not fondly remember her prosecution of a day care using what turned out to be fabricated testimony. She blew off nonwhite voters. There’s some latent sexism in Massachusetts politics that can’t be dismissed out of hand. And anyone who lacks the political sense to pander to Red Sox fans in Boston deserves what they get.
But the vote was a referendum on the health care bill, and even though it was modeled on Massachusetts’ own rules, Republican voters there hated it, and Democrats were indifferent to Coakley. Republicans turned out in numbers that looked more like a general election, knowing they had a chance to stick it to the machine. Democrats voted like it was … a special election in Massachusetts.
Thus, Scott Brown, a bill passed under procedurally-questionable circumstances in budget reconciliation, and our present catastrophe.
Any Republican candidate for this seat is the health care bill. I think that the more that’s true, the better the chance of an upset for the ages here.