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How Massachusetts was won

The best prediction on Massachusetts' Senate race came from my source in the state who said earlier today that the contest looked like Republican Mitt Romney’s 2002 gubernatorial victory over Democrat Shannon O’Brien.

Yes, it did. Romney won by 5 points. So did Republican Scott Brown. Romney swept the moderate to conservative middle class suburbs. So did Brown -- in some cases, running well ahead of where Romney was.

To pick four representative communities (and for Romney’s numbers, I'm using figures helpfully posted by the Swing State Project). In Andover, Romney got 63 percent, Brown got 58 percent. In Braintree, Romney got 55 percent, Brown, 62 percent. In Middleborough, Romney got 59 percent, Brown 70 percent. In Weymouth, Romney got 53 percent, Brown 64 percent.

A few days ago, I wrote that those who thought that Massachusetts was defined by Cambridge (where Democrat Martha Coakley won 84 percent of the vote) had never been to Dracut or Westwood. Dracut gave Brown 70 percent of its votes today, Westwood 60 percent.

Coakley ran unevenly in some of the state’s Democratic strongholds, including the smaller working class cities. She got only 57 percent in my home town of Fall River, where O’Brien had received 67 percent and Barack Obama won 73 percent last year. In New Bedford, she won 59 percent to 70 percent for O’Brien and 74 percent for Obama. On the other hand, Coakley won 69 percent in Boston -- Mayor Tom Menino seems to have delivered -- which was 8 points better than O’Brien. In Brockton, Coakley’s 54 percent put her five points ahead of O’Brien.

The upshot is that a result that shook the nation was quite typical of past Republican victories in Massachusetts. Despite the state’s Democratic tilt, Republicans won one gubernatorial election after another from 1990 through 2002 because so many of the state’s 351 cities and towns are thoroughly middle class places. Many of them are suburban in character with moderate politics, a certain aversion to taxes, and a great many voters who register as neither Republicans nor Democrats. Call these places “Middle Massachusetts.” They’re the places that sent Scott Brown to the Senate.

By E.J. Dionne  | January 19, 2010; 11:14 PM ET
Categories:  Dionne  | Tags:  E.J. Dionne  
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Comments

Tonight the man in the Pickup truck trumped the man in the Presidential Limousine. Scott Brown is a true American.
Tonight Scott Brown proved to the nation that the Obama, Pelosi, Reid extortion, bribery and arrogance will not be tolerated, even in Massachusetts. When we can beat Obama and his machine there we can do it anywhere. Scott Brown needed no teleprompter tonight. He laid out his agenda and it was a beautiful sight to behold.
The time has come to clean out those who would force faux reform down our throats. The People have decided that Obama and company have taken this country the wrong way. That secret back room deals and one party government cannot stand.
Isa. 13: 11
And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible.
Obama is the most arrogant man on the planet. His hubris will be his undoing. If Obama continues on his reckless path of ignoring the people of the United States they in their justifiable wrath will remove all those who follow him in the 2010 elections and he will be a one term President.

If the Democrats try to ram this through by delaying the certification of Scott Brown as Senator, all hell will rain down on them.

Posted by: mharwick | January 19, 2010 11:29 PM | Report abuse

So Sen. Centerfold won largely on a promise to vote down Washington's brand of health care reform because it would "interfere" with Massachusetts' already-existing system of socialized medicine.

Now the unlikely new Republican hero is in the impossible position of explaining to the country why government-facilitated medicine works for Massachusetts, but even a watered-down shadow of it is "too much government involvement" for the rest of the country to merit.

Even the FoxNews viewers are not stupid enough to buy this tortured contradiction. Even as much as they approve of torture.

Posted by: B2O2 | January 19, 2010 11:32 PM | Report abuse

HaHa. Cannot wait for the November elections to drain the swamps in DC of any Spendocrats. Your time is coming, tick tock.

Posted by: Bubbette1 | January 20, 2010 12:23 AM | Report abuse

Wow.. Scott won because (gasp) he represented middle-America. Oh how gauche..how unprogressive..how uncool...no "poor me," "poor immigrant," poor incarcerated Al Qaida," poor "uninsured ne'er do well"...whatever? He won because he was an American.

And his has Airborne Wings on his chest!!! Pretty shocking

Posted by: wjc1va | January 20, 2010 12:27 AM | Report abuse

Republican Won because Democrats acted exactly as if they are a Republican Administration and that is the only reason Dem. Lost. Too bad for Obama, I told him NOT to give all that Billions to the Wall St.
I tell You what he should have done.
*Let all the banks go Bankruptcy reorganization, and come back as smaller and leaner.
* Bankruptcy court should have force them Banks to Sell their assets (Homes) at the .20 to .40 cents to the $ per court order to the homeowner as the 1st option.
* Fed (through fredi and Megi) would give the homeowners the new mortgage.
* The result would have been less money spent by Fed, people would keep their houses for the fair Market value Price, The banks would have been less incline to do what they are doing now (pay bouness on the back of American Tax payer.)
And most importantly Obama's rating would have been up high now.

Posted by: thebullss | January 20, 2010 5:01 AM | Report abuse

What profundity! Of course Brown did especially well where Romney had done well. Both are Republicans. Of course, Coakley won 84 percent of the vote in Cambridge. That’s where Harvard University is.

Posted by: gmdim | January 20, 2010 5:16 AM | Report abuse

Well- I guess the GOP have all the solutions!

Since they have us in such great shape!

Why all the complaints?

Is this country not great?

We are the GREATEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD!

What is the problem?

Did Shell not get enough from the AMERICAN tax payers?

What is wrong?

Did the BANKS not get enough?

What is wrong?

What are all the 'I want my country back' folks whining about?

TAX DOLLARS are going to go for YEARS- YEARS AMERICANS WILL PAY FOR THIS--

US Tax payers have and will pay for invading Iraq-

And who gets to profit?

SHELL OIL signs OIL contract in IRAQ!

US Taxpayers pays for SHELL to profit!

Now- who is your favorite BASEBALL TEAM?

Boston Red Sox?

Did SHELL say THANK YOU TO ALL US SUCKERS- Or just Bush & Cheney?

Posted by: sasha2008 | January 20, 2010 7:26 AM | Report abuse

This isn't about Republican and Democrats. This is about the dissatisfaction and pure disgust that the American people feel towards their "representatives" We are fed up with the back room deals, the arrogant, holier than thou attitude of them. They know what is best for us? They are so out of touch with us, and do not listen or want to listen to us. The arrogance in DC is just deafening.

Posted by: CaPatriot | January 20, 2010 8:36 AM | Report abuse

Marvelous, E.J. Another post hoc analysis with 20/20 rear view vision. Get a real job and contribute to society.

Posted by: Paaa | January 20, 2010 8:37 AM | Report abuse

The more prominent voices of liberal Democrats like Dionne continue to "explain away" Brown's victory, the better things look for the Republicans in 2010 and 2012.

Democrats should change their party symbol to the ostrich.

Posted by: WashingtonDame | January 20, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Hey, that's what I want to do! Elect a man who supports waterboarding, opposes a federal cap-and-trade program to reduce carbon emissions, and is against developing a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants unless they leave the country. Here's a real man, a deep thinker, a true American who will work for the good of all. I don't think so. (It is shameful that the citizens of Mass. now toss out Kennedy's work after reelecting him so many times so he could do the work in the first place. Way to go, Massachusetts.)

Posted by: Enlishisimportant | January 20, 2010 9:25 AM | Report abuse

The election showed that the country wants to be governed in the center, President Bush/Rep lost because they governed from the Far Right, were social conservatives and corrupt.

Democrats have lost in VA, NJ and Mass because they are attemtpting to govern from the far Left, except adding troops in Afghanistan, and are equally as poor as Rep w/our tax dollars. Huge earmaks, 300 million for LA, Nebraska Fed govt pays for Medicad, Unions exempt from Cadilliac tax plan and the 'bank' tax that the banks will just pass on to consumers.

Just hope the Rep can take over the house and our Fed government can govern from the center.

Posted by: pgrady1 | January 20, 2010 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Republicans, you must keep in mind that the only reason you won is because the people of Massachusetts came out to vote in such huge numbers.

Posted by: thinking2 | January 20, 2010 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Give us a break EJ !

who's Brown .. getting elected in the bluest state on the planet is equal to OBAMA being supported for President by the KKK .

3.5 out 5 are registered Dems .51% are independents .
The Repub vote there is equal Wash DC .
Your trying to make Chicken S**T taste like Chicken salad . The truth is this is the largest Senatorial win ever in American history thanks to Obama , Pelosi and Reid .

Posted by: same15259 | January 20, 2010 9:58 AM | Report abuse

I couldn't wait to read what "I'll love Obama no matter what he does or says" had to say about this election. And true to form he spun this thing to look like Brown got defeated! If only there were more Democrats in MA then we would have won. Dionne a 3-1 advantage in a state so blue you'd think everyone was holding their breath and you call this a typical election? I love how naive you are! Thank you for being such an idiot. I love it! Ha Ha!

Posted by: tomb5 | January 20, 2010 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Post columnists - THE PEOPLE OF MASS. HAVE SPOKEN; do not underestimate the power of the people. Pretty simple that we will not tolerate, bribes, corruption and tyranny; I suggest you start supporting the people instead of your Messaiah

Posted by: sobell52 | January 20, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

He won because the health care in Massachusetts doesn't work and people don't want it! The statist and Marxist drones don't get it even after getting trounced in Va., NJ and now Mass! Nobody wants your brand of stupidity! It has already cost 13 million jobs and eliminated the auto, financial services job sectors! Now you shills for socialist purity want to kill banks and insurance companies. Why do you hate success and prosperity? Jealous?

Posted by: vgailitis | January 20, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

The people in MASSACHUSETTS don't have a brain in there head,Was there a cocktrail party there last night?One might think if you look at the way family was dressed.The world did not come to an end last night. Time for Dems to use same tactics as Rep did for eight. This jerk will go to washington and stand with the other forty idiots that put us into this mess he will be nothing. Maybe he can go live at C street.

Posted by: hotbarb | January 20, 2010 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Let's call this what it is.....

The biggest upset in American politics since, well,forever!

Posted by: jeffreid1 | January 20, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Who is this Scott Brown guy ?

A small-town fiscal conservative ? opposed to Obamacare and BIG Government ? winning in liberal Massachusetts ?

A hard-nosed pro-military guy who opposes terrorist-friendly policies ? Heck he supports waterboarding even !

A good-looking telegenic, a former Cosmos model who sets hearts aflutter ? Has a beautiful family ? He's a Christian even !

He connects with people... he shook a million hands ! He seems authentic.

He even plays basketball and drives a truck !

Good God.. He is just like... Sarah Palin !!

Democrats be very afraid.

Posted by: pvilso24 | January 20, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

"He won because the health care in Massachusetts doesn't work and people don't want it!"

Idoit, the people of Massachusetts are perfectly happy with their healthcare -- they object to paying for it for trailer-trash, inbred droolers like you. Hard to argue with that.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | January 20, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

I've been amazed at the arrogance of the Democrats since they've taken office, but the people are tired of the arrogance. To quote Nancy Pelosi after the Presidential election, "We won." Remarkably Dionne made the 5% margin of victory by Brown sound small, but Obama only won by a 6% margin and the Democrats are treating that like they won by a landslide and are now treating the U.S. like the U.S.S.R where it's a one party rule. The people are fed up, but instead of yelling the Red Coats are coming they are yelling the Blue Coats need to leave (or at least listen to the people).

Stop with the closed door meetings where one of the parties is locked out and let's exchange ideas. Let's use this election as a lesson for both parties that we need to work together and be the UNITED States of America.

Posted by: thinkitthrooooo | January 20, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

I'm of the opinion that sometimes a "cigar is just a cigar." Perhaps MA voters had no national referrendum. Perhaps they felt that Brown ran a better campaign. I know this election had an historical spin but is that because the media hyped it up so much? Of course there were voters that felt they were making a statement. But perhaps many just didn't like Coakley. Brown is a Republican but seems to be open on many issues. Let's just see how this all plays out. So much hype. Is there nothing that MA voters should be interested in except health care reform? How about jobs?

Posted by: justmyopinion6 | January 20, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Better title: How the Dems gave the election to Brown!

Coakley was the worst possible choice and an arrogant political nitwit as well!

Dems deserve what they got! Fargin idiots!

Posted by: Hive | January 20, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse

"Good God.. He is just like... Sarah Palin !!"

Except that he is willing to work as one member of a legislative body -- something prima donna Palin will never do. And he's not a complete moron. And he's at least somewhat pro-choice.

Other than those pesky facts, sure, just like Palin. Keep telling yourself that, numbnutz.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | January 20, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

To justmyopinion6: You wrote: Perhaps MA voters had no national referrendum.
****
There was a national campaign to get Brown elected. MoveOn.org had a campaign to get people from all States to registered Democrats out to vote and the conservative political machine had people calling on a national level from all of the States to get people out to vote in Mass. Registered Mass. voters that live out of state flew in to vote in this election. President Obama took time from his overwhelmingly busy schedule to campaign for the Democratic candidate. Senator Kennedy had changed the election ruling for this kind of election during during the Kerry/Bush campaign and the Mass. legislature changed that ruling back because they needed this Senate seat at a National level to get their healthcare agenda through.

This election was absolutely a national referendum.

Posted by: thinkitthrooooo | January 20, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

As a Massachusetts citizen and voter who supported President Obama in 2008, I'll tell you why I voted for Scott Brown yesterday. He came across as genuine. We were promised transparency and openness by the President and have been dealt arrogance and hubris by an out of touch elite. This works on both sides of the aisle. Time to get to work or face the same cosequences as Martha Coakely.

Posted by: dcameron1 | January 20, 2010 11:30 AM | Report abuse

To B202, this is how "Government-facilitated medicine" really works for Massachusetts: A friend of mine spent $7000 for a nongroup insurance policy from Harvard Community Health, a "name brand" health insurance company, and got a letter from that company yesterday informing him that the coverage wasn't good enough to comply with the state law, which means he will now have to pay a fine. And Congress wants to use our system as a model for the nation? The blatant corruption would be comic if it didn't have real costs for hardworking citizens.

Posted by: anthony19 | January 20, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

mharwick: you quoted the Bible, "Isa. 13: 11
And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible."

That's a great verse to quote, but you interpreted it wrong. The U.S. is indeed being punished for its evil and iniquity, etc.
For proof you need look no further than the election of Brown last night. His election and so many of the comments on this board, including yours, plainly demonstrate that God is abandoning us because of your arrogance, your worship of false gods (ideologies and those who speak them), and your refusal to listen to and obey the teachings of Christ.
You're right, all hell is breaking loose. The Devil, with your help and that of so many others, runs rampant in America.

Posted by: easysoul | January 20, 2010 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Wow! This is historic, ironic, and just. A little-known, truck-driving, family-oriented, fiscally-conversative Republican takes the seat that belonged to one of the most liberal, morally bankrupt men in politics. Power of the People! The democrats are sweating bullets and straining their arms pointing at one another. This is beautiful. Life is good. I haven't been this happy in over a year.

Posted by: Coachmont | January 20, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Don't forget how MA Democrats changed the law in 2004, so that the Governor Mitt Rommney would not be able to appoint a Republican to the "Kennedy Seat". Thanks to MA Democrat legislature, a special election was required. Senator Brown gets 3 years. Looks like game players got gamed! And the "Kennedy Seat" is finally released to the people. I, for one, am glad. I'm tired of Kennedy-worshipers and grateful that era is over.

Posted by: iphony | January 20, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

It seems that the Democratic Party is stuck with FDR's Great Depression mantra: "We have nothing to fear but fear itself"-- While the GOP finds Fear to be the best and most effective way to win elections. This tactic worked in 2004 (war) and yesterday in Massachusetts (health care reform, socialism, etc.) Many Americans seem to have forgotten the eight years of failure at governance by the Republicans -- so they are inviting them back for more of the same. But expecting a different result, of course.
We are the top nation in the buying of snake oil.

Posted by: 80parone | January 20, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Why did Scott Brown win? I think if Democrats had been passing sensible bills instead of passing the mic, they might have retained Massachusetts. But the people have spoken and they are tired of paying public servants nearly $200,000 a year to bloviate, pontificate, and [insert scandal]gate! Call the independant voter dumb, misinformed or complacent at your peril, Democrat or Republican. Not one of those knuckleheads on Capitol Hill deserve to grow old enough to leave an imprint of their rear ends on the leather wingbacks of the Senate chamber if they will not be engaged in business for the people, and by the WILL of the people. This country would have choked on that hot mess of a health care bill and the majority must now understand that. Washington would do good service to start this debate over and give the people something we can live with and afford. Better yet, first fix this economy and shave a few points off the unemployment rolls! Who can worry about health care if you don't have a job?

Posted by: rwf_001 | January 20, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Why did Scott Brown win? I think if Democrats had been passing sensible bills instead of passing the mic, they might have retained Massachusetts. But the people have spoken and they are tired of paying public servants nearly $200,000 a year to bloviate, pontificate, and [insert scandal]gate! Call the independant voter dumb, misinformed or complacent at your peril, Democrat or Republican. Not one of those knuckleheads on Capitol Hill deserve to grow old enough to leave an imprint of their rear ends on the leather wingbacks of the Senate chamber if they will not be engaged in business for the people, and by the WILL of the people. This country would have choked on that hot mess of a health care bill and the majority must now understand that. Washington would do good service to start this debate over and give the people something we can live with and afford. Better yet, first fix this economy and shave a few points off the unemployment rolls! Who can worry about health care if you don't have a job?

Posted by: rwf_001 | January 20, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse

What astonishes me from right-wing commentaries is the constant denigrating of Democratic politicians who, however imperfect, are trying to pass legislation that may actually improve the quality of life. One can disagree and believe their attempts will not improve matters but why assume that their motives are pernicious?
Then there are comments to the effect that people are angry because there is no attempt to compromise on Capitol Hill. I truly don't get that. The Health Care bill in the Senate has been compromised from the beginning with Republicans playing a purely destructive role and yet Democrats are being blamed for lack of amity. As far as I can see compromise with Republicans is only possible by unilateral surrender. There is partisanship (it would be astonishing if there wasn't) on the Democratic side but it is nowhere near as ferocious as it is on the GOP side.

Posted by: serban1 | January 21, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

America is now like a sinking Titanic with a bunch of rats looking for any light for escaping. They are in a painic mood without any thinking and reasoning, they are just following any propaganda and slogans by the Republicans. If you do not believe me, just make a list of what are the reasons caused the mess today, the overspending under the GOP administrations, the wars under the GOP administraions, The corruptions under the GOP administraions,the debts that started under the GOP administraions, the social unrests that under the GOP administraions, and etc. Come on Americans! wake up and think. We have no places to run, we must follow true leaders like Obama to fix the ship and go to safety.

Posted by: johnycheng1 | January 21, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

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