A Trumped-up convention
So how, in a year in which there is no statewide election, with a Republican governor sailing along with near-historic approval ratings, does a Massachusetts Democratic convention get attention?
Trump. Trumptrumptrumptrump. Trumpdedump. Donald Trump. Eschewing attacks on Gov. Charlie Baker and with a fairly anemic Republican delegation in the Legislature that presents no bogeyman to excite loyalists and donors, speaker after speaker at the state convention in Lowell on Saturday chose to set their sights on the presumptive GOP presidential nominee. It was red meat for the attendant masses.
“Fraudster-in-chief,” said chief Trump antagonist Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
“Obnoxious buffoon,” declared Secretary of State William Galvin.
“It’s just not our focus right now, who’s going to run for governor in two years,” US Rep. Katherine Clark told the Boston Globe.
Indeed, even the most benign attack on Baker brought rebukes from party officials. Mike Lake, who lost a nomination bid for lieutenant governor two years ago, said the focus needs to be in-state if there’s any hope of regaining the corner office.
“The real question is: What is our plan? How are we going to get our party to rally against the real issues here, to hold Governor Baker accountable?” asked Lake.
That brought a touch of snark from Matt Fenlon, the party’s executive director, who said, “We are very glad to see Mike Lake as an elected official of the party reengaging after 18 months following the 2014 primary.”
But few had a problem with the beatdown of Trump, led by Warren, who has relished her national role as pitbull. Nearly 40 times, she invoked the name of Trump, the equivalent of Lord Valdemort to Democrats. Baker? Nada.
“The only thing less popular in Massachusetts than Donald Trump is Roger Goodell and the NFL,” said Sen. Edward Markey.
There was also a move to advance some of the platform stands of Sen. Bernie Sanders, who lost a close primary here to Hillary Clinton, both soundly defeated. One would have eliminated the “superdelegate,” of which Warren is one, as are most high-ranking Democratic elected officials in each state.
There is no fear that she is about to do so; Warren has yet to endorse either Clinton or Sanders despite entreaties from both sides.
It seems former governor Deval Patrick got nearly as much criticism as Baker, with the likes of state Rep. Russell Holmes of Mattapan, the chair of the Black and Latino Caucus, telling WGBH’s Adam Reilly that his caucus has had more meetings with Baker in his first two years than during all of Patrick’s two terms.
“I can say we as Democrats always feel we’d be doing better with a Democrat in the corner office,” Holmes said. “But at the same time, I think [the] Commonwealth has been served well—unfortunately, I can say this—with the governor.”
As Reilly points out, perhaps party officials were being prudent in their restraint on Baker broadsides, given the governor’s likability that is crossing party lines.
“He’s so likable that everybody seems to overlook the policies he puts into place,” said Diane Masters, who chairs the Somerville Democratic City Committee. “And that’s a real problem. It doesn’t hurt that he’s tall and handsome. Unfortunately, he just seems like a nice guy.”
Massachusetts is now running $311 million behind tax revenue forecasts with time running out in the fiscal year, but Baker administration officials don’t seem worried. (State House News)
Gov. Charlie Baker reaffirmed his opposition to the so-called “millionaires’ tax” and defended his position switch in the public accommodations bill for transgender rights in a wide-ranging sit-down with Keller@Large.
The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston’s Working Cities Challenge is giving a $475,000 grant to Haverhill to improve the lives of people living in the city’s Mount Washington neighborhood. (Eagle-Tribune)
The Justice Department has sided with the Wampanoag tribe of Aquinnah, which wants to build a gaming hall on its property on Martha’s Vineyard. (Cape Cod Times)
US Rep. Niki Tsongas defends her push to require the US military to outfit members with only US-made athletic shoes, a position that has been criticized as pork barrel protectionism for Massachusetts-based New Balance. (Boston Globe)
Rampant street crime, not the Zika virus, may pose the biggest threat to the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. (Boston Globe)
The Saturday Globe reported that Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid is now open to the idea of Elizabeth Warren as Hillary Clinton’s running-mate — as long as he can figure out how to avoid letting Republican Gov. Charlie Baker pick her Senate replacement if the ticket wins. One-time Massachusetts Republican senator Scott Brown fired back, telling the Herald Reid is “the sleazeball of politics.” Ron Chimelis says if the reports about Clinton picking Warren are true, Clinton has lost her mind. (Masslive)
NPR interviews the African-American man who was singled out by Donald Trump at a rally in California. Gregory Cheadle is also running for office, and he isn’t a Trump supporter, at least not yet.
A Berkshire Eagle editorial calls the Libertarian candidacy of Gary Johnson and Bill Weld a long shot, but suggests the two pols may have some appeal this year.
Steve Koczela of the MassINC Polling Group says Boston Mayor Marty Walsh’s recent political problems have not affected his popularity with voters. (WBUR)
The union representing workers at Polartec in Lawrence is urging Patagonia to buy the company and prevent massive layoffs and a move to Tennessee. (Eagle-Tribune)
Biotech executives are hopscotching among Boston area firms, with increasingly lucrative compensation packages fueling the talent arms race. (Boston Globe)
The new, local owners of Springfield Hockey LLC sit down with reporters and express optimism about the city. (Masslive)
The developer of the Southfield mixed-use project at the former naval air base in South Weymouth is gearing up to increase commercial development at the sprawling venture. (Patriot Ledger)
The former “can you hear me now” pitchman for Verizon is now working for Sprint. (recode)
City officials are annoyed that UMass Lowell is buying with no warning a residential development at the edge of its campus and taking the property off the community’s tax rolls. (Lowell Sun)
Medical marijuana companies are giving up on Westford — for now. (The Sun)
An unmanned solar-powered boat called the Solar Voyager sets off from Gloucester to cross the Atlantic. (Gloucester Times)
A near-accident Sunday morning at a Quincy intersection turned into a seven-person road rage brawl with several people going to the hospital for treatment. (Patriot Ledger)
Worcester and the state of Massachusetts are putting up funds to help Princeton obtain conservation and watershed restrictions on land needed to protect the city’s water supply. (Telegram & Gazette)
Beekeepers and environmentalists are lining up behind a bill in the Legislature to regulate pesticides they say are destroying the bee population in the state. (Wicked Local)
A private campground in Truro within the boundaries of the Cape Cod National Seashore may have risked its grandfathered business after town officials stopped land clearing the owner was doing to put in sewage pumping stations. (Cape Cod Times)
Ronald C. DeCurzio, the CEO of the Massachusetts Municipal Wholesale Electric Co., says municipal light firms do renewables on their own and don’t need a state mandate. (CommonWealth)
Boston attorney Timothy Flaherty, the son of former House speaker Charlie Flaherty, pleads guilty to lesser charge in witness-tampering case and will face a year of probation with no ability to practice law. (Masslive)
Low-level offenders struggle to pay probation fees. (Salem News)
Adrian Walker spotlights a former prosecutor-turned-crusader against mass incarceration. (Boston Globe)
More than 17 percent of Massachusetts communities, mostly small towns, have failed to file hate crimes reports with the FBI. (Associated Press)PASSINGS
Of all the stories and remembrances published since the death of Muhammad Ali on Friday, the New York Times obituary stands out as the most comprehensive look at the complicated life of one of the most iconic figures of the 20th century. Jim Aloisi recalls how former district attorney Garrett Byrne booted a fight between Ali and Sonny Liston out of Boston. (CommonWealth)