Thursday, November 13, 2014

Post-Election Analysis, Local and Otherwise

This column originally appeared in The Sun Chronicle on Monday, November 10, 2014
By Bill Gouveia


            As a political columnist, I feel compelled to give you my analysis of the recent midterm elections.  After careful study and consideration, here is my detailed breakdown on the state and national results:  It was a good year to be a Republican. 


How’s that for insight?


            On the national level, it was clearly a great day for the GOP.  They took control of the Senate with ease, won the lion’s share of the governor races, and solidified their majority in the House.  They managed to define the key issues and blame President Obama for almost everything, including Ebola.  It was a decisive and smart political butt-whipping.


            Of course, winning control of the government is sort of like being a dog chasing a car.  Once you catch it, you have to figure out what to do with it.


            Congress got virtually nothing done over the last two years.  Each side blames the other, but in truth they share the blame.  Both Harry Reid and John Boehner were obstructionists in their own chambers.  Republicans will discover – as Democrats know all too well – that having a majority in the Senate does not mean you suddenly can do what you want.


            But Republicans worked hard for the right to put their policies and philosophies front and center.  Democrats have to acknowledge that and accept the consequences of losing.  That doesn’t mean they should just fold their tent and go home, and they won’t.


            Winning is easy.  Leading is hard.  If Republicans concentrate on exacting revenge for what they perceive as past sins of Democrats, then nothing in government will get better.  We will continue the gridlock and hatred that has consumed and occupied Washington for the last decade or more.


            But right now, they should be allowed to enjoy their celebration.  They earned this victory.  It was clear, it was convincing, it was widespread.  This election might change everything, or it might change nothing.  That will be decided largely by the willingness of Republicans to be leaders as well as winners.


            On the local front, there were few surprises in area communities.  If you had any doubt this is a Republican-leaning part of the state, you need only look at the local results in the US Senate race. 


Hopkington Selectman Brian Herr actually carried five of the ten Sun Chronicle communities over Ed Markey, despite having less name recognition than the players on the Patriots taxi squad.  But he did have an R after his name.  The race for Massachusetts Attorney General was not competitive statewide, but GOP candidate John Miller still gained a majority in half the Sun Chronicle towns.


Governor-Elect Charlie Baker swept all ten communities, partly because his moderate-to-liberal stances on many issues made him attractive to local Democrats. 


The only surprise in the Attleboro state representative race was the margin of victory for incumbent Democrat Paul Heroux.  He dominated Republican Bert Buckley, who had the backing of nearly all the local representatives and city officials.  It was a solid vote of confidence for Heroux as he finishes his first term.  Wrentham State Senator Richard Ross also cruised to an easy victory.


But the biggest winner of the night may have been the Town of Plainville.  The defeat of Question 3 guaranteed the slot machine parlor run by Penn National will indeed open, keeping millions of dollars and several thousand jobs in town.  The casino repeal was rejected by 80% of Plainville voters, and lost in every area community.


Interestingly enough, that included Foxboro where over 60% of those casting ballots supported keeping the gambling law.  It was ironic that they got to vote on a measure allowing a gambling establishment on Route One, just down the road from where Robert Kraft had proposed a resort casino.


Granted, voting to allow legalized gambling statewide is different from allowing it in your own town.  But the wide margin does make you wonder how Foxboro citizens would have chosen had their selectmen not denied them the opportunity to even listen to a casino proposal, never mind vote on one.


Turnout in the area averaged over 50%.  Let’s hope some of those folks remember how to get to the polls come the next local election.


Bill Gouveia is a local columnist and longtime local official.  He can be emailed at and followed on Twitter at @Billinsidelook.

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