Power-Building Strategy: Elect a Democratic governor in 2022.
The electoral success of the “moderate” Republican governor lives on in Massachusetts under Charlie Baker. Governor Baker was first elected in 2014 during a GOP wave year, and then sailed to re-election in 2018 during a Democratic wave year.
But Governor Baker is less an aberration and more the norm in this solidly blue state. In fact, with the exception of Deval Patrick’s two terms from 2007 to 2015, Massachusetts has had a Republican governor since the early 1990s.
Since his election, Governor Baker has enjoyed an extraordinarily high approval rating that has only recently begun to slip as the state has mismanaged a slow vaccine rollout amid rising COVID-19 cases and loosened restrictions. But perhaps most surprising is that his approval rating has remained highest among Democrats, with the lowest support coming from his own party.
Massachusetts does not have term limits, and Governor Baker has not yet announced his re-election plans. Cook Political Report has already rated the race as a “Solid R” despite the state’s otherwise blue streak.
In the Red States section of EveryDistrict’s 2040 Report, we argue that Democrats should be open to working with Independent candidates, or even moderate Republicans, in deep red states as a means of building a more progressive future in those states. But in the Blue States section, we argue that states that regularly elect Democrats — like Massachusetts — should be a model for the nation on how progressive governance can innovate and better deliver for its citizens than GOP leadership.
As we look to how Democrats can build power in this blue state, we see the most pressing challenge as articulating how a Democrat in the governor’s mansion could unlock the state’s full potential. A state that sends Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey to the US Senate, and where only 17% of seats in the legislature are held by Republicans, should not be shy about electing a Democratic governor.
Massachusetts Democrats must more clearly articulate a vision for progressive policymaking that resonates with the Democrats who are a critical piece of the Baker coalition. Doing so is critical not only for Massachusetts, but for presenting a clear vision of blue state leadership that can be a model for the nation.
How you can advance a 50-state strategy in Massachusetts:
- Support the Democratic nominee for governor in Massachusetts in 2022.