Now that the dust has settled on Super Tuesday, we have a better picture of what is happening locally and nationally with this insane campaign. Reality television star Donald Trump and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton came away with statement wins. Let’s be honest: The results were not all that surprising. So, without further ado, let’s look at the Super Tuesday winners and losers:
Marty Walsh: The mayor’s political machine finally scored its first big win. Since taking office, Walsh’s campaign apparatus has failed Walsh at the local, state, and national level with loses for Warren Tolman, Joe Ruggiero, and Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire. This win erases a lot of the concerns about those losses, because not only did Walsh’s candidate of choice win, she came back from a significant deficit to win. Walsh’s army of supporters as well as local operatives versed in the state’s politics helped Clinton beat back the Sanders surge in Massachusetts.
Walsh wasn’t the only person to win big on Tuesday. Attorney General Maura Healey scored major points with Clinton’s win as one of her earliest endorsers in this part of the country. Healey, a rumored candidate for governor in 2018, received significant face time with Clinton and likely secured her help in a future statewide contest. If Healey does step into the Democratic primary for governor, she would be the likely frontrunner almost immediately.
Pissed Off Republicans
The Republican Party is on the verge of self-immolation, but some portions of the party’s infuriated base don’t care, because they want to burn it all to the ground.
On the local side of things, conservative Republicans mounted a strong challenge to Governor Charlie Baker’s effort to stack the Republican State Committee with his prefered candidates. As it stands now, Baker appears to be succeeding on that front though not all results are available. These party activists should not be confused with Trump voters, as most of them are actually conservatives, not pitchfork-toting populists.
Trump fans on the national level have provided us with a picture of just how out of touch the national Republican Party is with its base. Trump won state after state on a populist authoritarian message, not a conservative one. Trump is a protectionist on trade, and a supporter of Planned Parenthood, the bank bailouts, and the Obamacare mandate. Voters who support Trump are backing him largely because of his bombastic stance on immigration and his chest thumping on foreign policy and terrorism. Trump’s voters are more concerned with his style than his substance, like his hostility to politically correct culture.
Former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore won Chelsea on Tuesday according to posted municipal results even though he dropped out of the race months ago. Gilmore’s win could be attributed to his place at the top of the ballot, a real political phenomenon that has been found to improve a candidate’s performance. Gilmore’s win in Chelsea made him one of four candidates to win a municipality in Massachusetts. Gilmore won more votes in Chelsea than he did in all of New Hampshire.
Boston reached out to Chelsea City Hall to confirm that this is not a glitch. We will update when we hear back.
The backbone of the Sanders campaign was no match for the organized machine behind Clinton in Massachusetts. Young progressives were fired up and charmed by the left-leaning policies and straight talk from Sanders, but they were unable to push him over the top in a state he absolutely had to win. Will they take their ball and go home? Unlikely, but they will be licking their primary wounds for a while, as Sanders supporters are a devoted bunch in the mold of the diehards who worked for Ron Paul and Barack Obama.
Even though his wife won, the former president took some heat from the local media for violating the state law on campaigning at polling places, often called “the 150-foot rule.” Photos are now surfacing that show Clinton posing with voters inside polling places. This is not a great look for the former president or the Clinton campaign, but it’s hard to imagine any serious repercussions will be levied against him. Violations of the law are usually dealt with on-site by local law enforcement.
First, Trump wins your party’s primary, guaranteeing more annoying questions from the press about him and his place in the GOP. It will only be a matter of time before the next anxious unsigned editorial pleads for Baker to do something about Trump.
Second, a small chunk of the base of the Massachusetts Republican Party is unhappy with Baker for what they see as an effort to muscle out conservatives and replace them with Baker-style moderates, occasionally derisively referred to by these activists as “Baker Bots.” Conservatives pushed back against Baker’s campaign-style move to stack the committee with his allies and ran a slate of their own candidates. The full results are not available at this time, but early indications are Baker won a healthy majority of seats on the state committee. Baker also defeated three of his of loudest conservative critics: Mary Lou Daxland, Bill Gillmeister, and Trump’s statewide field director Bonnie Johnson.
Baker caused a mini-uproar when he raised a significant chunk of change this winter to campaign for state committee members. Control of the state committee is essential because it gives access to the party’s fundraising and organizing resources.
This post has been updated with new information.
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