History and demagoguery

A raspy-voiced Hillary Clinton shared the news with supporters at Long Beach, California, rally as the word broke yesterday that the Associated Press tally of her pledged delegates and superdelegates had reached the magic number of 2,383 needed for the Democratic presidential nomination.

This morning’s Boston Globe gives the news the full history-making treatment, trotting out Clinton’s full name, which has disappeared from most daily coverage, declaring: “Hillary Rodham Clinton clinched the Democratic presidential nomination Monday night with timely help from Democratic Party insiders, shattering a glass ceiling to become the first woman in American history to top a major party ticket.”

In a single sentence, Annie Linskey captures the competing characterizations of Clinton’s candidacy: That she is the insider candidate of the party establishment at a time of voter dissatisfaction with the status quo, and that she is a pathbreaking insurgent poised to make history for women nearly 100 years after the Constitution guaranteed them the vote.

The pace of social change has been so rapid that Clinton’s history-making role in the race hasn’t been enough to automatically lock down huge margins among women voters in Democratic primaries, especially younger women, who have overwhelmingly broken for her rival, Bernie Sanders.

Indeed, in a sign of the loosening hold of identity politics, yesterday’s New York Times story on President Obama’s eagerness to get out on the stump on her behalf included this remarkable claim: “The White House argues that Mr. Obama could help Mrs. Clinton appeal to independent voters — particularly suburban independent women — in the Midwest.”

While Obama, whose favorability numbers have been rising, could be a huge asset on the campaign trail, Clinton’s best hope at this point may be that Donald Trump continues to simply be himself.

No one can say at this point what Trump could do that would be so far out of the bounds that it would put a huge dent in his support. His comments in recent days about federal judge Gonzalo P. Curiel, declaring the Indiana-born jurist incapable of presiding over a lawsuit involving Trump’s scammy failed university because he’s of Mexican heritage, have hit a fresh nerve with some, while others say it’s just the more of the same racist stuff he’s been spewing. Plenty of Republicans who once denounced Trump as a dangerous demagogue but then came to heel and endorsed him were busy figuring out how to justify his latest outbursts.

Sen. Susan Collins, the moderate Maine Republican, said she hoped Trump would take back his words about a highly-respected federal judge and show some “respect for the separation of powers doctrine” in the Constitution. “I continue to believe in redemption,” she said in a fit of absurdist fantasy that her party’s presumptive nominee is capable of introspection or self-criticism.

It was left to Lindsey Graham, the South Carolina senator who famously declared earlier this year that his “party has gone batshit crazy,” to offer what may become a new theme to the race.

“This is the most un-American thing from a politician since Joe McCarthy,” Graham said of Trump’s racist attacks on Curiel. “If anybody was looking for an off-ramp, this is probably it. There’ll come a time when the love of country will trump hatred of Hillary.”

If Clinton wins, it will make history. But it may happen, as Graham suggests, less because she has inspired a nation than because her opponent has struck fear into it.

The Clintons, dogged and determined for decades, probably appreciate as much as anyone the old adage applied to sports as well politics: A win’s a win.




A state-funded report finds that there is often little apparent rhyme or reason to funding levels for the state’s sheriffs. (The Republican)

A Salem News editorial calls on House and Senate budget negotiators to exercise fiscal constraint in the face of news that tax revenues are coming in slower than expected.


Records show the former Provincetown police chief offered to leave the post over allegations he violated election laws in exchange for $350,000. Selectmen refused the offer, but ended up buying him out for more than $500,000. (Cape Cod Times)

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh arrives in China for a two-day international summit on climate change. (Boston Globe) Secretary of State John Kerry announces in Beijing that Boston will host the 2017 installment of the conference, a chance to put the city on the global climate change stage. (Boston Globe)

Dracut Town Meeting bucks a growing trend, voting to keep the police and fire chief positions within the Civil Service system. The town manager had argued removing the positions from Civil Service would attract a much broader pool of applicants. (The Sun)

Holyoke wants to crack down on water and sewer deadbeats by cutting off service to those who don’t pay. (Masslive)

The Mashpee fire union has gone public with a vote taken more than six months ago voicing  no confidence in the fire chief and his deputy over safety and communication concerns. (Cape Cod Times)


Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen raises some concern about a recent jobs report. (NPR)


Donald Trump’s attacks on the judge overseeing the civil suit against him in California is not the first time the billionaire has accused a jurist of bias against him. (New York Times)

In a conference call with surrogates, Trump allegedly instructed them to ignore a memo from his aides telling them to avoid talking about the criticism of the judge and to attack journalists who question Trump as “racists.” (Bloomberg)

In a Globe oped, Bill Weld makes the case for “two classical Jeffersonian liberals” and urges voters to cast a “principled” ballot in November for him as vice president and Libertarian Party ticket-mate Gary Johnson as president.

Conservative writer and lawyer David French, who was the target of influential pundit William Kristol’s efforts to launch an independent bid for president, explains why he won’t enter the campaign despite his view neither Trump nor Clinton are qualified. (National Review)


The Cape Ann Marina in Gloucester joins forces with  the boat-sharing service Boatsetter. (Gloucester Times)

A Whitman family whose social media post accusing a pet groomer of killing their dog went viral and resulted in threats to the business owner are lashing out at a police report that found the groomer did nothing wrong. Said the Whitman police chief: “We’re not Ace Ventura.” (The Enterprise)

The switch to chip-enhanced credit cards is frustrating consumers for whom the several seconds it takes for their card to be read feels like years in today’s go-go digital world. (Boston Globe)


A now-shuttered for-profit school that operated four campuses in Massachusetts as well as in Maryland admitted to fraudulent business practices in a consent agreement with Attorney General Maura Healey, an admission that paves the way for former students to have their federal loans forgiven. (Patriot Ledger)

A Globe editorial says the state should include measures of student learning in teacher evaluations and it slams a Senate budget amendment that would forbid that.

Worcester Polytechnic Institute is defending itself in a civil lawsuit filed by a former student by saying the student, who was raped while on a WPI study program in Puerto Rico, is partially responsible because she had been drinking and followed a stranger onto a dark rooftop where the assault took place. (Boston Globe)

The Lowell Planning Board approves a privately build dormitory for UMass Lowell students. (The Sun)


Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll’s budget includes funding for two social workers and two police officers to engage in a “knock and talk” program with drug addicts. (Salem News)

John Oliver, the host of HBO’s edgy Last Week Tonight, set up a dummy debt collection organization and bought $15 million in delinquent hospital bills for $60,000 — then forgave the debt for the 9,000 people who owed it. (New York Times)


Five years after a state audit highlighted the problem, the MBTA says it still can’t reconcile its fare data and actual cash receipts. A T official looking to privatize the authority’s money-counting operation calls the situation a “system failure.” (CommonWealth)

The head of the T’s pension fund, under fire its secrecy and performance, will resign in August. (Boston Globe)

The Boston area is poised for further growth, a development that will tax a regional transportation infrastructure that is already stressed to its limits, says a new report from the advocacy group A Better City. (Boston Globe)

The MBTA’s Fiscal Management and Control Board votes to end refunds on commuter rail fares. (CommonWealth)

All-electronic tolling on the Massachusetts Turnpike is scheduled to take effect in October but officials say it won’t yield any savings. (Masslive)

New Bedford airport officials are talking to carriers in an attempt to add some flights to destinations outside the region. (Standard-Times)

The Worcester Regional Transit Authority tweaks its routes. (Telegram & Gazette)


Abel Jimenez of Proper Pipe Inc. urges natural gas distribution companies to fix leaks by replacing old pipe. (CommonWealth)


Cape and Islands District Attorney Michael O’Keefe disses the Supreme Judicial Court’s investigation of how a confidential deposition of House Speaker Robert DeLeo was leaked to the press. O’Keefe likened it to his office shutting down a murder investigation after the suspects said they didn’t do it. (CommonWealth)


The New York Times is exploring selling an ad-free digital subscription. (AdAge)