Baker’s weak back
It wasn’t exactly Celtics’ player Cedric Maxwell exhorting his teammates “climb on my back, boys,” before carrying the team to victory in the 1984 NBA playoffs but Gov. Charlie Baker hoped to use his political strength on two initiatives and increase the GOP’s presence on Beacon Hill. Unlike Max, Baker got no ring, just a hurt back.
Baker made a big push to pass the initiative to raise the cap on charter schools only to see it go down by a 2-1 margin. The vote to legalize adult use of marijuana was a bit closer but the decisive 53-47 tally made it clear Baker’s sky-high favorables among voters didn’t carry over into the polling booth.
While Baker blanked the presidential race, he said he’d put all the effort into helping down-ballot Republicans win their races and give him a little more oomph on Beacon Hill. Again, Baker’s coattails were too short to grab. The GOP picked up one seat in the House, raising their numbers from 34 to 35, while the six senators will continue to be familiar faces to each other with no newcomers.
Much is being made of how the election results will impact Baker going forward. The Boston Globe today talks with observers who give him mixed reviews, especially Democrats such as former state party head John Walsh, who said it will be a while before the fallout is known but couldn’t help stick a jab into the governor and his aides.
But what’s missing from the narrative is the high profile Democrats who were on board with Baker in both the ballot initiatives are not seeing their cachet questioned about the results. Teachers’ unions are touting their victory in convincing voters the charter cap would cost them money and looking at the result to mount their opposition to Baker in the Legislature and on the ballot in 2018.
Yet, both House Speaker Robert DeLeo and US Rep. Seth Moulton announced they would vote for Question 2 and no one is raising an eyebrow over their failure to have their backers buck up the effort. Also, the progressive-backed Democrats for Education Reform, which numbers quite a few of the party insiders, doesn’t appear to be paying much of a price for backing the referendum, except maybe a few snubs at the bar at the next convention gathering.
As for the pot question, Baker was in the pool with the state’s leading elected officials, including DeLeo, Attorney General Maura Healey, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, and the majority of the Democratic-controlled Legislature. Yet, only Baker is being singled out for failing to convince voters to just say no.
It could be much of the recrimination is coming from pundits and partisans trying to chip away at Baker’s popularity and voters aren’t holding him responsible – or even care where he came down on the issues. The governor remains the strongest political force in the state, with a 55-17 percent favorability/unfavorability ratio, with nearly half the state’s Democrats approving of the job he’s doing. So he had some political capital to expend.
The Easton Town Clerk was fired in the wake of revelations he has failed to file general ordinances and zoning bylaws with the state since 2008, potentially invalidating scores of approved laws. (The Enterprise)
On a 6-3 vote, the Gloucester City Council votes to give a tax break to the National Fish & Seafood Co. as it buys a facility it currently rents. (Gloucester Times)
Medway selectmen approved increasing ambulance fees more than 30 percent to cover operating costs for the town’s 24-hour service. (MetroWest Daily News)
New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte conceded the race to Maggie Hassan, who apparently won with a victory margin of 0.1 percent. (Boston Herald)
Eleven of the 16 Massachusetts communities that had the Community Preservation Act on the ballot voted for it. (Berkshire Eagle)
In hindsight, one of the most prescient stories written in the runup to the presidential election may be this Politico feature, “Uprising in the Rust Belt,” by one-time Boston writer Keith O’Brien. The Globe drops in on Milford, Pennsylvania, the type of community O’Brien wrote about that helped deliver the election to Trump.
Telegram & Gazette columnist Dianne Williamson is trying to cope with Trump’s election. Boston Globe columnist Shirley Leung says misogyny now has the White House seal of approval. The Globe’s Yvonne Abraham heaps praise on Clinton.
A special post-election episode of The Codcast considers the shock heard ‘round the world and mulls over the state ballot questions and what those results could mean for Gov. Charlie Baker, who landed on the losing side of the fight over charter schools and marijuana legalization.
US Reps. Joseph Kennedy, Niki Tsongas, and Michael Capuano discuss what a Trump presidency might mean for Massachusetts. (Greater Boston)
Massachusetts was deep blue yesterday in more ways than one. (Boston Globe) But there were pockets of joy, including the Plymouth County town of Middleborough, which Trump carried with 54 percent of the vote compared with the 33 percent he won statewide. (Boston Globe)
Thousands of demonstrators took the streets last night in Boston to protest Trump’s election, a scene played out in several US cities. (Boston Herald)
For all the hubbub over Tom Brady’s likely vote for his sometime golfing buddy, now the president-elect, the star quarterback’s ballot may not even get counted, as Brookline town officials had no record that he was a registered voter and had him fill out a provisional ballot. (CommonWealth)
The charter school ballot question got blown out nearly everywhere from Boston to the Berkshires, delivering a crushing blow to efforts to expand the number of independently run, but publicly-funded, schools. (Boston Globe) Baker said he would continue to pursue ways of closing the achievement gap in Massachusetts, citing Springfield’s empowerment zone and Lawrence’s longer school day as possible courses to pursue. (Masslive)
Senate President Stan Rosenberg discusses the next steps by the Legislature in dealing with the rejection of the charter school cap and the approval of recreational marijuana use and sale. (Greater Boston) There is already discussion of making modifications to provisions of the marijuana law. (Boston Globe) A Boston Herald editorial urges Beacon Hill leaders to do just that.
Fun fact: With Tuesday’s vote legalizing marijuana in four more states, that means all seven states and the District of Columbia that allow recreational sale and use of pot all voted against Trump, setting up an interesting dynamic on his choice of Attorney General who will enforce federal drug laws. (U.S. News & World Report)
Boston’s startup community is nervous about Trump. (Boston Globe)
One business fear under Trump: A trade war with China. (Boston Herald)
Nonprofits fear Trump’s policies could result in drastic federal funding cuts and drops in charitable donations. (Chronicle of Philanthropy)
Wayland officials are looking at pushing back school start times, especially in high school, to ensure older students are getting sufficient sleep. (MetroWest Daily News)
A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association finds teenagers who use e-cigarettes are more likely to smoke tobacco and become daily users. (Los Angeles Times)
Entergy agrees to sell Vermont Yankee to a cleanup contractor, paving the way for a decommissioning process that will happen much faster than expected. (Berkshire Eagle)
Salem’s police chief addresses the case in which her husband, also a police officer in the city, has been charged with raping a man being held in custody on Halloween, saying the entire department should not be judged by allegations against one officer. (Boston Globe) The husband reportedly told officer he “gave in to temptation.” (Eagle-Tribune)
The principal owner of the New England Compounding Center and her husband were sentenced to probation on charges related to illegal money withdrawals during the scandal involving the company that claimed 64 lives from meningitis. (Boston Herald)
MEDIAJim Rutenberg calls Trump’s election a “Dewey Beats Truman” moment for the digital age. (New York Times) But Politico says Trump’s election was not a media failure.
Breitbart, the unofficial media outlet of the Trump campaign, announced it is expanding to Europe with offices in France and Germany in the wake of Trump’s victory. (U.S. News & World Report)