Fisher Can Only Hurt Baker If Baker Lets Him

The answer to today’s second ‘Ask Me Anything’ question.

Via email, “Steve” asks:

Is the prospect of running against Mark Fisher in the primary and facing him in debates good or bad for Charlie Baker in the long run?

Let’s put aside any damage done by the way Fisher got there—the convention, the vote tally, the lawsuit, and so on. Let’s also set aside any collateral problems for Baker, such as any funds and volunteers staying on the sidelines until he’s the official nominee. We’re just looking at having the primary challenge going forward.

I think it’s bad for Baker, but probably not very significant unless Baker screws things up.

I don’t see any reason Baker should engage Fisher at all; he should keep running against the Democrats as the presumptive nominee. He should, in my strategic analysis, agree to appear only in forums where he and Fisher do not actually appear together. Actual face-to-face debates are only opportunities for something uncomfortable to happen, or traps to get Baker to take a stand on something he wants to finesse.

Sure, Baker will get heat from some for avoiding Fisher—perhaps even from me—but none of that will matter come September. In fact, as long as Baker keeps his eye on the ball, I’d guess that by July we’ll all be back to forgetting that Fisher is even a candidate at all.


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