Massachusetts GOP: Rest in Peace

Massachusetts GOP: Rest in Peace

The news on election day may have been good on the national level, but in many blue states it was not so good, at least for Republicans. In Massachusetts in particular, we may as well call it: the Republican Party is as good as dead.

The slim GOP minority in the State House is even slimmer today; Heck, the entire GOP caucus could fit in my living room. We are effectively a one-party state, apart from the Governor and a few, scattered elected officials. Why did we get here and where do we go from here?

Now, to be sure, it’s not all gloom and doom. In fact, the implosion of the Mass. GOP has allowed that rarest of all creatures to actually sprout here in liberal Massachusetts: pro-life, conservative Democrats. Yes, there are a few of them out there, although most are not as pro-life or conservative as I’d like. Still, in the People’s Republic, it’s not bad. Yet, I don’t think it’s good enough. A single-party system is bad for any government. Two or even more parties is much better, if only because it keeps the party in power honest and jams up the wheels of government just enough that they can’t muck about in the lives of ordinary citizens.

So how did we get here? Part of the problem is that there no foundation for building up any opposition party, Republican or otherwise. That’s because most Massachusetts cities and towns have open elections, i.e. they do not offer nominees of parties, but anyone who can get on the ballot. Most often, that means that the party with the strongest local apparatus has most of the nominees and thus most city council, selectman, and mayoral elections feature Democrats running against Democrats. What that does to the GOP and other parties is prevent them from building up a local party system and forming candidates who have experience running political campaigns and who have built up a following of people who have cast votes for them. Thus, in elections for state and federal office, the GOP puts up candidates who have never run for office before against seasoned incumbents. It’s like leading lambs to the slaughter.