Everyone Wants Charlie Baker To Endorse, But What About Elizabeth Warren?
The Boston Globe practically begged Governor Charlie Baker to endorse (again) in the Republican presidential primary on Tuesday when they ran not one, but two pieces chiding the governor for not involving himself in national politics. The broadsheet’s top unsigned editorial led the opinion pages with the premise that he could use his significant political capital to motivate Massachusetts primary voters, particularly potential independent voters who backed him in 2014. The unsigned editorial argued that Baker’s made his dislike of Donald Trump quite clear, so why not put it to good use and stop him?
State House columnist Scot Lehigh encouraged Baker to take a “gamble” on endorsing Ohio Governor John Kasich, just like his mentor and predecessor former Governor Bill Weld has. Lehigh suggested that Baker is so popular in the state that even if the endorsement goes nowhere, it probably won’t hurt the governor because he would “cement his reputation as a guy willing to take some risks in pursuit of sensible politics.”
These are fine takes, but there’s a handful of things that are off about them.
Baker’s influence in Massachusetts just four days before a Republican presidential primary is probably limited in terms of actually doing the stuff that matters in a campaign, like turning out votes. Get out the vote operations do not appear out of thin air. Sure, Baker could supply bodies to the campaign of his choice, but that is only useful if the campaign he backs has a well-oiled machine behind it. Baker has earned some of the political capital the Globe mentioned by focusing on Massachusetts and staying out of national political fights. As a Republican governor in a liberal state, he has little to gain by engaging in them. Will Baker sway some voters here? Yes, but will a moderate second-year Republican governor from Massachusetts sway voters in, say, Texas? Doubtful.
The issue for people interested in stopping Trump shouldn’t be deep blue Massachusetts, but states where he shows some vulnerability between now and the all important March 15 primaries. Most of the Super Tuesday states are probably too far gone at this point for the endorsement of an anti-Trump candidate to change the race.
Meanwhile, the Globe has been mostly quiet on the subject of an endorsement from Senator Elizabeth Warren, a national liberal icon with real juice among party activists. The paper spent a significant chunk of 2015 trying to persuade her to run for president. Warren’s endorsement could seal the deal for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton or breathe much-needed life into the campaign of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders if she decided to back either of them. Sanders could use her backing more than Clinton because it would solidify his economic bonafides with Democratic voters. Warren’s very prominent place on the national liberal stage means she carries significantly more weight in her party’s primary than Baker’s does in his.
Warren’s office did not respond to requests for comment on her Election Day voting plans.