Deval Patrick Creeping Closer in MA Governor Primary
by Matt Stoller, Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 01:16:51 PM EST
From Swing State Project, which has become a must-read for me:
Independent primary polls seem to be all too rare. Fortunately, Suffolk University has given us one for the Dems running for MA-Gov (registered voters, no trendlines):Tom Reilly: 39<
Deval Patrick: 30
Suffolks says that Reilly once had a forty-point lead, but that was a year ago, so I'm not including that as a trendline. Both men beat the likely GOP candidate, Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey, though Reilly's margin is quite a bit bigger. He wins 47-32, while Patrick wins 39-32.
However, Reilly has much higher name recognition (35-33 favorability, and an additional 25% who've heard of him but have no opinion), while Patrick is at 19-11-33. In other words, only 8% of respondents said they've never heard of Reilly, while 38% said that about Patrick. If Patrick can close that name reco gap, then Reilly is probably in trouble - something which will no doubt delight many netroots activists.
I used to live in Massachusetts, and it always struck me a state full of liberal voters with a government full of conservatives. It took the state Supreme Court, for instance, to weigh in on civil unions/gay marriage. As I've come to understand political machinery, this makes more and more sense. Right-wing Democrats like the pro-lifer Tom Finneran, who would be a Republican in any other state, succeed in what should be a progressive state because of a mix of superior grassroots organization and the rapacious demands of television politics. The internet challenges this whole model, and allows progressives like Deval Patrick to create new sources of political power.
This is a clear example of a machine candidate, Tom Reilly, against a progressive upstart. One thing the right-wing did well is to create models for their America before asserting a claim to national leadership - Reagan governed California by crippling the state's revenue stream and Bush governed Texas by crippling everything else, and we are now living in their America. Our failure as progressives has to do with our failure to imagine what our country should look like, and one of the reasons there's a push to get back to the states is because we need to actually govern progressively on a local level before we can do it on a national level. That's why I'm excited about people like Eliot Spitzer, and why I worked for Jon Corzine. It's also why I hope Obama goes back to Illinois as Governor someday.
However much I like those political figures, however, they succeeded not through new models of generating political force but by taming the old. Spitzer for instance is a TV creature, and he doesn't need the internet. This is not to take anything away from him, he's awesome, it's just that politicians tend to do what works for them, not what looks neat to a bunch of bloggers.
Deval Patrick is different. He is the first real progressive running to be a Governor of an important, rich, Blue State state using the organizational model the internet makes possible. This means that if he wins, he will see the world the way that we see it, as a political chessboard with many dimensions and many ways to communicate with the public aside from the traditional press, labor, and standard micro-issue group organized rallies. And he will govern that way too. We need to put candidates in office who see the world our way, and that means that they won because of what we were able to do for them. That's why Ciro Rodriguez is so important; as a Congressman elected by the internet he will get that we are an ideologically coherent group that can bring something to the table. Ultimately though it's people like Deval Patrick that are the key players here, because they will have the greatest impact on voters' lives and they will show that progressive governance delivers good things to the American people. And we can't forget that this is what it's all about.