The Agenda

More on Massachusetts

To continue the thread, Charles Stewart shares the following analysis with The Monkey Cage

The geographical pattern of the vote shifts, showing that the shifts occurred in the Boston suburbs and exurbs, argues against the notion that this was largely a matter of angry working-class Democrats abandoning their party. More likely, it was borderline independents punishing the incumbent party for poor economic performance, along with Republicans who had no interest in George W. Bush coming home to support a national Republican who could string sentences together to make paragraphs.

I must confess that this doesn’t surprise me, as I had assumed Brown’s victory was powered by Massachusetts’s large number of unaffiliated voters. According to the 2008 CNN exit polls, 40 percent of Massachusetts voters are self-described independents, 17 percent are Republicans, and 43 percent are Democrats. Moreover, “working class,” as the endless exchange between Thomas Frank and Larry Bartels demonstrated, is a very contested term. One assumes that many of those “borderline independents” are the children of Kennedy Democrats of another era. And Brown’s strong performance in South Boston and some of the region’s less affluent suburbs is suggestive. 

I’m sure that someone out there advanced an “angry working-class Democrats” theory of Brown’s election rather than one focused on independents and voters in the suburbs and exurbs. 

Reihan Salam is president of the Manhattan Institute and a contributing editor of National Review.

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Get Your Facts Right

On the menu today: Another reminder that “People of Praise” and “People of Hope” are not the same group, and proof that “People of Hope” did not inspire Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale; wondering what Joe Biden is doing with his time these days; and two Senate committees release their ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Get Your Facts Right

On the menu today: Another reminder that “People of Praise” and “People of Hope” are not the same group, and proof that “People of Hope” did not inspire Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale; wondering what Joe Biden is doing with his time these days; and two Senate committees release their ... Read More