Anyone who was surprised wasn’t paying attention.
The endorsement of Donald Trump ally Geoff Diehl —the character who’s trying to unseat Senator Elizabeth Warren—by alleged moderate Republican and Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker was as predictable as the outcome of former UFC star Ronda Rousey’s WWE matches. Party loyalty is thicker than water, and the idea that Baker would try to protect his phony image of centrism and bipartisanship by refusing to endorse Diehl is laughable. He may suffer the consequences, however:
[Baker’s] opponent for governor, Democrat Jay Gonzalez, issued a statement condemning Baker’s endorsement of Diehl, saying ‘he wants to send Trump another guaranteed vote to support his hateful policies. By supporting Geoff Diehl, Charlie Baker is asking us to choose someone to represent us who will do everything he can to further an anti-choice, anti-LGBTQ rights, and the NRA’s anti-gun control agenda. If Charlie Baker had his way, Massachusetts would have a senator who would support the appointment of Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. I’m supporting Senator Elizabeth Warren for re-election to the US Senate because I know she represents my values.’…
Diehl helped lead Trump’s state campaign operation and told reporters a year and a half ago that he would “absolutely” ask the president to stump for him against US Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
Back in 1984, then-US Senate candidate Ray Shamie—a Republican Bay State millionaire with ties to the John Birch Society—thought that having President Reagan stump for him would aid his campaign against Democratic opponent and then-Lieutenant Governor John Kerry. Kerry ended up thrashing Shamie. We know Republicans never learn from history, but still…
Baker is arrogantly assuming that Bay State voters will continue to regard him as being decent by Republican standards. He shouldn’t be that overconfident:
At best, the unlikely pairing means more awkward moments ahead for Baker, who early polls showed had a large lead over any potential Democratic opponent. At worst, the presence of a Trump enthusiast on the GOP ticket could cause Democrats and independents who’ve supported Baker in the past — and whom he needs to win reelection — to reject the whole GOP ticket. Conservative Republicans, miffed by Baker’s moderate maneuvering, could also leave the ballot blank for governor.
Democrats — particularly the party’s nominee for governor, Jay Gonzalez — sense in Diehl’s primary victory a fresh opportunity to tie Baker to the unpopular president.
“Geoff Diehl is 100 percent unabashedly supporting Donald Trump” and his agenda, Gonzalez said Thursday at a press conference devoted to slamming Baker for backing Diehl and not standing up to Trump enough.
“By helping to elect people like Geoff Diehl, particularly in the environment we’re in right now, that is a very big statement about how deeply these issues matter to you,” Gonzalez said, accusing Baker of hypocrisy on abortion rights, gay rights, and gun control, among other policies. “You can’t have it both ways.”
Democrats up and down the party ranks, including Warren, have joined in the Diehl-focused barrage. Baker “wants to send people to Washington who will help advance the agenda of Donald Trump; that’s exactly what’s happening here,” Warren told reporters after a campaign event Wednesday.
If Gonzalez can encourage those who do not usually show up in midterm elections to come out in force on November 6 in the name of ensuring that Massachusetts presents a united front of resistance to Trump, then Baker’s vaunted popularity will not rescue him. No matter how much of a “nice guy” Baker seems to be, at the end of the day he is a member of a party that believes there were good people on both sides in Charlottesville, human-caused climate change is a hoax, evolution is a lie, Latino immigrants are all members of MS-13, and Christine Blasey Ford probably led Brett Kavanaugh on.
Back in 2010, when Baker ran for governor the first time against Democratic incumbent Deval Patrick, his slogan was “Had Enough?” It would be the height of irony if Massachusetts voters said the same thing to him on November 6.