Failure in Massachusetts

I can’t figure out what is happening with the Democratic party at times. It is so frustrating. We have this belief that if we work hard for a year or so we can sit back and just watch the fruits of our labors. Wrong!! Where is Howard Dean? He understood that we had to contest the Republicans, everywhere, all the time.

From TP:

An exit survey of Massachusetts voters confirms that “decreased turnout among constituencies that historically have voted for progressive candidates,” combined with a strong Republican performance among independents, delivered Scott Brown the margins he needed to win.

The poll, which was commissioned by “Women’s Voices, Women Vote” and conducted by Lake Research Partners (a firm headed by Martha Coakley’s pollster Celinda Lake), found that key demographic supporters of Obama (unmarried women, people of color, and younger voters) did not turn out in large numbers for Democrats. The Massachusetts turnout reflects recent trends in the Virginia and New Jersey gubernatorial elections.

Martha Coakley reportedly did “no outreach” to communities of color and neglected to do any advertising in the African-American or Hispanic media. Voters under age of 40 went to Brown by a margin of 52% to 46%. But younger voters in general turned out at lower rates than in the past. The percentage of unmarried women who comprised the percentage of all voters fell 5 points from 2008. And, self-identified independents flocked to Brown in droves — 76% to 21%.

(Let me interrupt this post and add that the Democrats suck for losing a seat that was “losible”[if that is a word]. Jon Stewart said it better than I –

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But even despite the depressed progressive turnout in yesterday’s election, a majority of voters (51%) still felt Obama and the Democrats are taking the country in the right direction. Issues, while important to voters, split along partisan lines: Coakley won health care voters, while Brown won among jobs and economy voters and tax/spending voters:

– Forty-six (46%) of voters said their vote was mainly to show support for health care reform rather than to show opposition to it (35%).

– Independents sent a clearer signal on the issue, with 44% stating their vote was mainly in opposition to reform and 30% saying it was mainly in support.

– Coakley voters were stronger in their support for reform (80% said their vote was mainly in support of reform) than Brown voters were in opposition to it (65% said their vote was mainly in opposition to reform).

– Coakley won among voters who rated health care reform a “10” on an importance scale (Coakley 53% to 47% for Brown), Brown won among voters who said the same for jobs and the economy (Brown 55% to 44% for Coakley) and won bigger among voters who highlighted taxes and spending (Brown 70% to Coakley 29%).

Many pundits are leaping to blame progressives. Glenn Beck said yesterday, “The progressive movement is sucking the blood out of each of the parties.” Conservative Democrat Lanny Davis said “blame the left for Massachusetts.” While there’s plenty of blame to go around, one thing that’s certain is that the progressive base’s current lack of enthusiasm is hurting Democratic candidates.


0 Responses

  1. Nearly everybody supports health care reform.

    I do.

    But the difference is, what is meant by that?

    Voters who pulled the lever for Brown could easily say they did so in support of health care reform, because they know support for the Democrat plan is not ‘reform’ at all.

    Democratic ‘reform’ is destruction of the insurance industry, i.e. the financial tools that give most people access to healthcare.

  2. Is there an actual percentage of voter turnout? I may have missed it. I am surprised at the results. Born and raised in MASS and being well aware of the Kennedy phenomena, I’m actually shocked. I’ve been away from MASS for a lot of years but my family is still there and they’re just as stunned. Maybe MASS is making a statement.

    All is well Dr T. I miss you guys but not the “stuff”.  My BP is now at normal and I’m not losing weight. Hope all is well with you and yours!

  3. Joe – 

    Maybe I missed it. What would you like to see in a healthcare reform bill that will increase access. increase efficiency and be cost-effective. None of the things that you mentioned previously (as I said in a whole post) come close controlling costs. 

  4. I’m going to have more on this later on today. 

    I’m glad that your BP is down. There is always plenty of stuff no matter where you go. Be Well!!

  5. I’ve made several suggestions, including:

    –Allow people to band together without being an employment based group to buy group health insurance. They can negotiate favorable rates like big corporations and unions do.

    Cost to the taxpayer? zero. So I’d say that’s ‘cost effective’.

    It would help to increase access because people who have no insurance could now enjoy the benefit of a group rate which would be cheaper than an individual rate.

    It would also introduce addition competition into the market, and so tend to hold costs down for everybody else as well.

    The current portability under HIPAA should be extended to include these plans as well.

    –Standardize all insurance forms and information systems.

    Cost to the taxpayer? zero. So I’d say that’s ‘cost effective’.

    Administrative/paperwork costs are estimated to be about 20 cents of every health care dollar.

    This would increase efficiency and hold costs down.

    With costs going down, more small businesses who cant afford insurance now could then do so, thus increasing access.

    This is not the same as the current proposal that all medical records be ‘available electronically in 5 years’. Just because they are ‘available electronically’ doesn’t mean they are standardized. They can be ‘available electronically’ in potentially dozens of formats.

    I’m talking not just computerization, but standardization.

    –Eliminate the regulatory exemption for self insured plans.

    Cost to the taxpayer? zero. So I’d say that’s ‘cost effective’.

    This would mean that all plans must adhere to the consumer protections in state insurance law. Currently almost all large companies and many medium sized companies are exempt because they self insure.

    If an employer wants to ‘play insurance company’, he should be regulated like one.

    This would likely cause many businesses who self insure to purchase standard insurance instead, thus creating more competition for these new customers, and holding costs down.

    With costs going down, more small businesses who cant afford insurance now could then do so, thus increasing access.


    By contrast the ‘public option’ passed by the House would not control costs. CBO estimated that plans under the public option would carry premium AS HIGH or HIGHER than private plans.

    “That estimate of enrollment reflects CBO’s assessment that a public plan paying negotiated rates would attract a broad network of providers but would typically have premiums that are somewhat higher than the average premiums for the private plans in the exchanges.”

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Errington C. Thompson, MD

Dr. Thompson is a surgeon, scholar, full-time sports fan and part-time political activist. He is active in a number of community projects and initiatives. Through medicine, he strives to improve the physical health of all he treats.


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