POLITICAL ANALYSIS OF E.O.C. TESTIMONY

We categorized testimony into a dozen political categories (another dozen issue-based categories are addressed later). The categories are all related to each other, but people testifying generally fall into three groups:

(A) those who believe the party should move further left;
(B) those who believe the party should move to the center; and
(C) those who believe the problem is in the process or gubernatorial candidate’s style.
Counting each citation yields the following rough counts:

A. MOVE LEFT: 81 citations

B. MOVE TO CENTER: 26 citations

C. CHANGE PROCESS: 84 citations

We acknowledge that the sampling method favored those who showed up and those who repeated themselves. Nevertheless, a clear majority favored "move left" over "move to center." In addition, the majority of the "change process" citations support that same conclusion.

Following is a summary of the testimony in political categories within the three groups. In each case, we cite individual testimony in a one-line summary. An individual testimony can be included in multiple categories -- we tried to capture the basic spirit of their thoughts, which in many cases covered several topics.

 

Testimony citations

Each testimony is identified with a two-letter code indicating the venue, then a page number within the list of testimony within that venue, then the initials of the person testifying. The codes for the venues are:

WO = Worcester, March 5

EV = Everett, March 19

NA = North Andover, April 2

BA = Barnstable, April 23

NO = Northampton, May 7

WM = web mail (sent to eoc@MassDems.org, regardless of date)

The pages are numbered in the order in which they will appear on the EOC website (if any). Then we cite the person’s 2 or 3 initials in whatever form their name is recorded. So for example, Jesse Gordon’s Barnstable testimony is cited as BA1-JG; Sam Seidel’s Everett testimony is cited as EV6-SS.

A. Party should move further left

The most common theme was a direct call for more progressive values (category A1, 16 citations). A closely related theme was that we should avoid the DLC centrist attitude and avoid being "Republican Lite" (A2, 18 citations). A call for greater adherence to the party platform (A3, 16 citations) might be considered a "process" issue, but we counted it here because the platform is heavily progressive, and the people pushing for an Action Agenda item on Platform Accountability had a high overlap with those expressing calls for progressivism or against the DLC. Other commonly expressed versions of the same theme were that we should cater more to independents and Greens (A4, 15 citations); that favoring party loyalty excludes independents (A5, 9 citations); and that the Speaker of the House is too conservative (A6, 7 citations).

A1. More progressive values (16 citations)

"If we go forward with a positive vision of a progressive Party we will not only triumph politically, but also enact important change in our society."
- Peter Merkel, West Newton (Webmail)

"People, I believe, really do want progressive change. Half have given up on government and don’t even vote anymore! Give them a reason to vote -- inspire them -- make them believe that they can be part of something bigger than themselves. That’s the kind of vision that is so sorely needed."
- Lawrence Kulig, Southborough (Webmail)

BA3-RDE: Elected officials [should] represent the progressive values upon which this party was founded

NO1-MW: On rumor that DSC is too far left: what definition of left is being used?

NO2-FO: The voice of the party needs to be progressive and liberal

NO3-BB: Party was built on community, justice & progressive vision—take back party from grassroots up

WM4-MB: Progressive democrats fear reprisals in Ward 3 Boston, so nobody new gets involved

WM9-PM: Progressive values have been put aside... we must welcome back the left

WM10-JG: Reich popular among independents because unafraid to espouse progressive values

WM14-LK: People really do want progressive change

WM19-EG: The party needs to make BOLD moves to the LEFT on the issues that affect us

WM23-PD: Progressive values originally drew most of us to the Democratic Party.

WM25-TH: You need to offer a clear, progressive choice to citizens

WM26-AM: Do something against un-civic-minded Republicans. I am hopeful for progressive Dems.

WM29-JH: Progressive outnumbered traditionalists in EOC testimony, 2 to 1

WO3-LC: We did not lose because candidate was too liberal. Centralist politics—not much to vote for.

WO5-LC: Identifies himself as Worcester Progressive Democrat; says Democrats are pigeon-holed

WO6-CW: Return to Democratic values—stand up for all people

A2. Avoid DLC centrist attitude (18 citations)

"In 1994 the influence of the Republicans in the Democratic party resulted in the DLC (Republicans in disguise). We need to eliminate the influence of the DLC from the Democratic Party."
- George Markham, North Andover hearing

"We cannot be ‘Republican lite’. We can’t compete with them with their platforms. We are still the party who stands for the rights of all people - mean AND women, all colors, all economic status, all religions and backgrounds."
- Cheri Whiteman, Worcester (written testimony)

BA1-RD: Party needs to spend more to promote Democratic values

EV2-DM: Renounce copycat Republicanism

EV5-JH: Green Party says Dems are moving to the right; young people are going to the Greens

EV6-JG: The DLC idea of Republican-Lite candidates ensures that the real Republicans will get elected.

EV6-SS: Cannot revert back to when the Working Man was king and private capital was the enemy.

NA1-MD: Democrats are afraid to be liberal

NA2-PMC: Must delineate from the Republican Party

NO1-LB: It would be destructive to move the Democratic Party to the right

NO2-GM: Eliminate the influence of the DLC (Republicans in disguise)from the Democratic party

NO2-PC: Becoming more centrist is inappropriate. A lot of Democrats in state party are really Republicans

NO3-KB: Massachusetts has a reputation of being a liberal state—we need to build on that base

WM5-FS: Following DLC policies may not be the best way to beat Republicans

WM7-TM: We must offer a strong contrast to the Republican vision

WM13-CC: If we don’t take tough stands, many will continue to say we are just like the Republicans

WO4-JB: DLC – lost everything – not best thing for the Democratic Party

WO6-CW: Depressing to watch Republican Lites! Democrats running on Republican issues.

WO6-JB: Think out of the box; differently from Republicans

WO16-CW: Depressing to watch "Repub Lites" and become a party of borrowed, watered-down ideas

A3. Adhere to the party platform (16 citations)

"[The Massachusetts Democratic Party should] require each Democratic office holder to go through the Party Platform and highlight those parts of the platform that they support and would commit themselves to working toward."
- Pat Evans, Williamstown (e-mail)

BA1-POC: Democratic Party has not upheld its core principles

BA1-RE: Dem elected officials have not represented the party’s principles

BA1-JG: I support the Platform Accountability Amendment because it promotes openness

BA3-RDE: Our Party Platform has been rejected by elected Democrats who profess to represent the Party.

NA5-EK: Dems should promote norms of behavior and be capable and willing to enforce these norms

NA7-JM: Confront and opose our OWN Democratic leaders when they violate Platform positions

NO1-LM: Our platform bears no correlation to what the legislature represents. Hold legislators accountable

NO2-PC: Once Democrats get into office, they become Republicans.

WM12-DP: Can’t we hold our elected legislators to the Party platform when they run?

WM15-PE: Require officeholders to hilite parts of platform they support; make it available to constituents

WM17-TK: Too few leaders of our party follow our party principles!

WM21-BK: I embrace traditional Democratic values and our platform

WM23-PD: Our common ground is the progressive values underlying our party’s platform

WM33-HA: Legislative agenda has not been based on the party platform.

WO3-CR: Democrats need to stick together more [on the] Party platform

WO16-CW: We can’t compete with Republicans on their platforms.

A4. Cater more to independents and Greens (15 citations)

"As party members, I think we should woo back Green party defectors. They agree more with the ideals of the Democratic party platform than anyone else. We have allowed them and, in some cases, the GOP to promote our ideals and talk our talk. We need to return to those ideals of universal and affordable health care, dignified jobs and fair taxation for working people."
- Diane Parson, North Adams (e-mail)

"If we do not take distinct stands on important issues, we take the chance of being considered irrelevant by the new generation of voters who are leaning towards the Rainbow/Green party."
- Carol Coakley (e-mail)

"Make no mistake about it, we will see more and more defections to the Green Party or some other party, if we don’t take seriously the concerns of progressives who are steadily becoming estranged."
- Richard D. Elrick, Barnstable hearing

BA1-JG: Count unenrolleds as much as lifelong Dems, since their vote counts just as much

BA2-SS: Our expectations of our party’s responsibilities are somewhat diminished.

BA3-RDE: We will see more defections to the Greens if we don’t take seriously progressive concerns

EV6-CK: We’ll lose people who are Republicans anyway [so don’t address them].

EV6-SS: Information is available to us all making us all much more demanding consumers.

NA2-PD: Unenrolled voters are not part Democrat and part Republican

NO2-FO: Real danger is that people are shifting to the Green Party. There may be a tipping point.

WM4-MB: Change from old-school politics or you’ll siphon margins to the Green party or independents

WM10-JG: Progressive values [are what] so many independents believe in.

WM12-BP: As party members, we should woo back Green party defectors

WM13-CC: We risk being considered irrelevant by new generation of voters leaning to Rainbow/Green

WM15-PE: Those in third parties are yearning for Democratic candidates worth supporting

WM19-EG: Find out why Democrats are flocking to the Green Party. Get in touch with deserted Greens.

WM22-PD: A strong, vibrant Democratic Party wouldn’t be threatened by a third party.

WM25-TH: Progressives have been frustrated at rightward tilt and many have abandoned the Dems

A5. Favoring party loyalty excludes independents (9 citations)

"Independents like me don’t care about party loyalty or about which candidates are "lifelong Democrats." We care about whether there’s a good candidate and about whether issues important to us are being addressed."
- Jesse Gordon, Cambridge (e-mail)

BA1-JG: Demand of party loyalty has turned off unenrolled voters

NO1-BH: If you question policy, you are not a good Democrat—I’m tired of hearing that.

WM1-JB: You’re just not going to get an independent from Amherst to jump after a knee-jerk Dem

WM10-JG: As independent, thought all parties were only for insider politicking.

WM19-EG: State committee folks are "extreme Democrats" or "head in the sand Democrats"

WM21-BK: I don’t give a hoot about promoting "life-long Democrats"

WM28-JH: Arrogance of liberal leadership [causes] more unenrolleds than Democrats

WM39-MW: I’m tired of business as usual. Dems are seen as the party of patronage and good old boys.

WM40-EA: Independent voters have a low opinion of the Democratic controlled legislature

A6. Speaker of the House is too conservative (7 citations)

"I reject the old-school politics that keeps someone like Finneran in power. I don’t give a hoot about promoting "life-long Democrats" if it means we have lost the state house THREE governors in a row!"
- Bayard Klimasmith, Somerville (e-mail)

NA3-GG: Finneran has death grip on Massachusetts

NO1-BF: Finneran needs to step down. He has enormous power.

WM12-DP: If party leaders revert to a conservative direction, exorcise him and diminish his power

WM21-BK: I reject the old-school politics that keeps someone like Finneran in power

WM32-EA: Recognize the negative effect that Speaker Finneran has on the party’s reputation

WM33-HA: Legislative agenda has been based on personal whims of the House speaker

WO4-JB: Finneran is a disgrace. Finneran is a Republican Lite.

B. Party should move to the center

The counter-position to the opinions above was expressed by several people in two versions, direct and indirect. Some people directly called the party too far left, so more centrism captures independent voters (category B1, 10 citations). The "independent" category above (A4) is for viewpoints that independents are progressive, while here the view is that independents are centrist. Others expressed the centrist idea indirectly in terms of "unity" (B2, 16 citations). While supporting unity does not seem to be a centrist viewpoint, its adherents overlapped highly with those expressing other centrist viewpoints. The "unity" viewpoint is the opposite of the progressive viewpoint disfavoring "party loyalty" (A5). It also directly opposes Platform Accountability (A3) as divisive.

B1. More centrist values (10 citations)

"Our foundational values... will unite the Democratic Party and establish a middle ground."
- State Rep. John Fresolo, Worcester hearing

BA1-SR: There is too much infighting and not enough unity

EV2-GOF: Party has drifted too far to the left

EV3-JH: Independent voters are not liberals – we have to reach out & fight for them

EV5-CG: Party leadership is too far left

NA1-WL: There is a need for the party to come to "the center"

NO3-BR: We should unite on our message, but we never can. At least we should agree on the principles.

WO2-JPF: Ultra liberal views are a turn off.

WO2-RK: Democrats are getting too liberal!

WO3-TOB: Liberal mantra is unmarketable. Unity – united voices together.

WO7-JF: Foundational values of fiscal conservatism & social responsibility, not social liberalism

B2. Unity and party loyalty (16 citations)

"We need to stop drawing lines in the sand and go forth with one message that tells the voters that we are the party that cares about all of them, we are the party that believes the purpose of government is to support its people. We are all over the map on the issues, and this divides us. Even though we say we have a large tent, we really don’t."
- Janet Beyer, Concord

"The diversity of the Democratic party is okay, but we also need unity. The voters picked up on diversity - we killed each other."
- Robert Van Canpum, Everett hearing

BA1-SR: There is too much infighting and not enough unity

EV5-JH: We need unified voices

EV6-RVC: Diversity of Party is ok, but we also need unity

NA1-WL: At Convention, we went in with one candidate and came out with 5

NA2-PA: People have to get behind the candidates

NA2-PD: Too much infighting; Dems blame each other too often

NA3-HF: Having 5 candidates lowered Democratic turnout

NO3-BR: We should unite on our message, but we never can

WM26-AM: Accountability Resolution should be used against Republicans, not Democrats.

WO2-JPF: Unite! Foundational values and social responsibility, not liberalism.

WO2-TB: Once there were no strangers in the Democratic Party; just friends you hadn’t yet met

WO3-CR: Democrats need to stick together. Democrats don’t trust each other.

WO3-TOB: [We need a] united voice together

WO6-BS: We need to be united! Democratic party – he thinks of a union.

WO6-JB: We failed to come together with a united message after the primary

WO7-JF: Establish what is necessary to unit the diverse ideological groups present within this party

C. Problem is in the process

Testimony in this group cited particular problems with either the process of selecting a candidate, or with the style of the selected candidate. Some categories have progressive versus centrist implications. The most common testimony was that the gubernatorial candidate needed more passion, or should be a more inspirational leader (category C1, 20 citations). We consider that progressive because of the high overlap with direct citations of Robert Reich (C2, 7 citations). Many call for more party openness or for listening better to constituents (C3, 12 citations)—progressive in the sense of being opposite to traditional party loyalty. Direct citations of O’Brien’s candidacy (C4, 11 citations), we consider centrist – because most testimony focused on her liberal stances, reproductive choice in particular. Recommending rescheduling an earlier primary (C5, 7 citations), and recommending reforming the convention (C6, 8 citations), are pure process viewpoints, usually with no progressive-versus-centrism implications. Many people cited the need to repackage a more positive message (C7, 19 citations), with mixed messages on progressivism vs. centrism, so we count these as process-oriented.

Counting according to those categories, 39 citations favor generally progressive viewpoints, 11 favor generally centrist viewpoints, and 34 are pure process issues.

C1. More passionate inspirational leadership (20 citations)

"The party has got to listen to neighborhood activists who are more in tune with the dangerous loss of excitement about leadership in the Democratic Party. Shannon O’Brien indeed. She had no charisma and conveyed nothing but status quo. We do not need status quo. We are becoming desperate in this country for true leadership and inspiration."
- Terry Mason, Jamaica Plain (e-mail)

BA1-RP: Dems do not get their message across; people don’t know the Democratic message

BA1-SR: Democrats need leadership and a positive message

EV5-PC: Whatever our message is, we are not inspiring people with it.

EV5-PL: Issue is not left or right, it’s about leadership

EV6-CK: We must stand for something – our message has become diluted.

EV6-JG: Give us an inspirational candidate who passionately believes in liberal values.

NA2-JR: The Democratic Party must understand what it stands for

NA2-LK: Talk passionately about big issues

NA2-PD: People are tired of empty politics

NA3-MK: Democrats must find their own voice

NA4-TM: We must stand up for our beliefs

NO2-LM: If you stand for something, it should mean something.

NO3-KB: Be proud of who you elect and tell them to speak up for the truth and our ideals.

WM1-JB: Like Clinton, show some passion and some determination to be there

WM7-TM: [There’s a] dangerous loss of excitement about leadership in the Democratic Party.

WM9-PM: [We have] uninspired and unconvincing middle-of-the-road, poll-based politics

WM14-LK: Talk with passion from the heart…. Give people a reason to vote—inspire them.

WM25-TH: Unenrolled votes will not be inspired by middle-of-the-road candidates

WO2-RU: Our party follows; it doesn’t lead. Take back what is ours as a leading party.

WO5-LG: Young people feel there’s too much nonsense from the government.

C2. Favoring Robert Reich (7 citations)

"I was a passive observer of political campaigns for years until last year when Robert Reich ran for governor. He inspired me to jump back into the process because I was so enthused by his progressive ideas, values and vision for the future." - Tom Hidalgo, Springfield (e-mail)

NA3-JMC: Reich had succinct solutions to problems

WM1-JB: The only chance the Dems had to beat Romney was to nominate Reich

WM3-DR: I have never missed voting. I was one of the first in my community to support Reich.

WM10-JG: Reich candidacy got me to enroll as a Democrat

WM21-BK: I followed Reich into the convention and was sorely disappointed with the election results

WM25-TH: Reich inspired me to jump back into the process; he got many independent voters involved.

WO6-JB: Respects Reich as a person

C3. More party openness and listening (12 citations)

"If we are to reverse the declines in voter participation, and enrollment in our party, we will need to show leadership. Leadership will require us to take risks, and to shake off the fear and paralysis that so often grip us. That leadership must be grounded in listening. People will join us because they believe our values are their values. To convince them, we first need to get out of our meeting rooms, and listen to them. We need to do this at all levels, in our day-to-day interactions with friends, colleagues, and neighbors, as well as in our official party roles. "
- Peter Dolan, Gloucester (e-mail)

EV3-LTB: Like Frances Perkins, Eleanor Roosevelt, and JFK: invite young people in

EV5-CG: Party has lost touch with the working class – distrust creates unenrolled voters

NA1-BF: The party has failed to be receptive to new ideas

NA3-NOC: Party needs to listen at the local level; they have more knowledge about the community

NA6-JM: Open up the Democratic Party to new members and leaders

NO1-BH: We need to listen to what voters want.

WM5-FS: Republican rejuvenation used pollsters to suggest issues that candidates should use in campaigns

WM20-EG: State committee folks need to get in touch with real Democrats and deserted Greens.

WM23-PD: Party leadership must be grounded in listening

WO1-GG: Listen to frontline Democrats

WO4-JC: Address unenrolled issues! Elected on face-to-face [encounters].

WO5-LG: Listen to the people. Knock on doors, get lists.

C4. O’Brien’s candidacy (11 citations)

"The only chance the Dems had last year to beat Romney was to nominate Reich or another one of the non-brotherhood candidates (and Shannon O’Brien was clearly a member of that brotherhood."
- Joshua Bogin, Springfield (e-mail)

"I reject the party tribalism that gave us O’Brien."
- Bayard Klimasmith, Somerville (e-mail)

NA1-MD: O’Brien lost because she told the truth about taxes

NA3-JMC: O’Brien was beholden to too many members of the party

WM1-JB: Shannon O’Brien was a member of the "brotherhood" candidates – a knee-jerk Dem

WM7-TM: She has no charisma and conveyed nothing but status quo. We do not need status quo.

WM19-EG: O’Brien did not offer any bold, exciting plans. I was very lukewarm about her campaign.

WO2-JPF: O’Brien’s position on abortion – ultra liberal views are a turnoff.

WO2-TB: O’Brien turned into a different person and changed her beliefs

WO3-TOB: 16-year-olds having abortions. Liberal mantra is unmarketable.

WO4-JB: Shannon didn’t believe in what she was talking about [so] she saw herself implode.

WO4-SP: Believes 16-year-old abortion issue cost the election (not a liberal issue)

WO10-UN: Reason we lost campaign: the teenage abortion response; and media coverage favored Romney

C5. Reschedule an earlier primary (7 citations)

"The Democrats have bloody primaries - the nominee needs six weeks just to recover. We should learn our lesson and hold primaries in May or June."
- Richard Courtney, Northampton hearing

"Move the primary from September to June....[this is] the single, most important reason for us being disadvantaged in gubernatorial races against unified Republicans. We run against each other for 12 months (or more!), and against the Republicans for six weeks!"
- Joseph W. Mullin, Weston (written testimony)

EV3-ER: Think about how late our primaries are

EV3-JH: Think about our structure – late primary hurts us!

NA1-BF: If the primaries are moved to June then any Democrat should be able to run

NA6-JM: Move the primary from September to June

NO3-MCH: We need primaries in the spring.

NO3-RC: We should learn our lesson and hold primaries in May or June.

WO6-JB: Primary should be in the spring to have time to heal workers who were hurt

C6. Reforming the convention (8 citations)

"We squandered the high energy of our caucuses with the convention (2002). It was a poorly run convention."
- Mary Clare Higgins, Northampton testimony

"The last convention was a disaster. We squeezed too much into too short a time."
- Richard Courtney, Northampton

EV1-EC: Format for convention has to be changed -- it is a disaster

NA1-NK: Does not approve of the Convention process. The 15% rule is bad.

NA3-JMC: Greatly disturbed by 2nd and 3rd ballot—it destroyed legitimacy of candidates

NA4-WC: The last convention was outrageous and a travesty

NO3-MCH: We squandered the high energy of our caucuses with the convention in 2002.

NO3-RC: Last convention was a disaster. We squeezed too much into too short a time.

WM21-BK: If Democrats can’t run a convention, why should we be given the reins of an entire state?

WO2-RK: Democratic State Convention—Disaster!

C7. Repackage a positive message (19 citations)

BA1-EC: Message of Democrats has been obscured

BA1-RP: Democrats do not get their message across; people don’t know the Dem message

BA1-SR: Democrats need leadership, and a positive message

EV1-DR: Time to rethink how message is sent out

EV5-PC: Whatever our message is, we are not inspiring people with it

EV6-CK: Recently one message has become diluted

NA1-MD: Candidates must be sincere and target the issues to everyone

NA2-JR: The Democratic Party must understand what it stands for

NA2-GW: Democrat message can be presented in a better way

NO3-KB: We need to be honest—that we believe in government

WM1-JB: This is a party that has no definition

WM15-PE: Democrats in the legislature should commit to honesty and accountability

WO2-RU: Repackaging needed; the Party has lost its way.

WO2-DB: Our party must be framed by us, not by the GOP

WO3-CR: Redefine the party on our terms; redefine "liberal"

WO3-LC: Didn’t lose because candidate was too liberal—lost because we weren’t on message

WO3-TOB: Repackaging of ideas; reach beyond the 34% [of registered Dems]

WO4-SP: We cannot let Rush Limbaugh or our enemies define our terms for us

WO5-MB: GOP obfuscated message for the Democrats

 

 

ISSUE ANALYSIS OF E.O.C. TESTIMONY

The issues cited in testimony were much more of a mixed bag. It’s difficult to categorize most issue testimony as favoring progressivism versus centrism because most testimony cites the need to focus on the issue rather than offering a policy prescription. I categorize the issues as best as possible and then group them according to whether they are clearly progressive, clearly centrist, or unclear on that scale:

D. PROGRESSIVE ISSUES: 43 citations

(campaign reform; proactive government; tax reform; War on terror; misc)

E. CENTRIST ISSUES: 17 citations

(union/job issues; miscellaneous centrist issues)

F. NON-PARTISAN ISSUES: 45 citations

(health/seniors; education; disenfranchisement; housing; casinos)

 

D. PROGRESSIVE ISSUES

D1. Campaign reform (15 citations)

"Approved overwhelmingly by the voters in 1998 in every city and town across the state, the Clean Elections Law sought to end the skyrocketing cost of campaigns, to reduce the influence of special interest money in politics, to level the playing field for all candidates and to enable more good people to run for office, regardless of their personal wealth. The legislature has worked around the clock to undermine the law and is now getting ready to repeal it. This political environment continues to allow big business to protect its bottom line by buying its way into the halls of government at the expense of the common citizens."
- Tim Carpenter, Northampton hearing

BA1-MAP: Wants support of campaign finance reform

BA2-BM: Need campaign finance reform

BA3-RDE: Failure of elected officials to fully implement publicly financed elections is appalling.

BA5-LWV: League of Women Voters continues to support campaign finance reform

NA1-NK: Need a new method of candidate selection—some do it with computers

NA4-WC: Right now the party is locked into the status quo: Cites Clean Elections

NO2-GM: We had a good opportunity to change the Party with the passage of Clean Elections.

NO2-JC: I support Clean Elections—we need to allow new ideas here because new ideas are vital.

NO2-TC: The legislature has worked around the clock to undermine Clean Elections.

NO6-TC: In the face of ongoing corporate scandals, it’s time to consider measures like Clean Elections.

WM7-TM: Pursue clean elections and change to a less winner-takes-all system.

WM12-DP: Why did we let party leaders call back Clean Elections with their dirty tricks?

WM18-GL: We support public financing of elections [including] Clean Elections

WM38-PV: Democratic Party should embrace Instant Runoff Voting to win back corner office in 2006.

WM39-MW: I’m tired of the Dems not standing up for Clean Elections

D2. Proactive government (5 citations)

"...the role of government is to set forth a vision of a better society and future for all citizens and to inspire people to work toward achieving it. Who if anyone in the democratic party expresses such a vision? Government is not simply balancing budgets..."
- Lawrence Kulig, Southborough (e-mail)

EV3-LTB: Government can make a difference; party stands for a safety net, and peace & justice

NA1-BLI: What is the core mission of government? We must take care of the people.

WM6-FS: Transform image of government from a problem to an opportunity to provide people to prosper

WM9-PM: Progressive values of pro-active government that put Mass in the forefront have been put aside

WM14-LK: Role of government is to set forth a vision of a better society and inspire people to achieve it.

D3. Tax reform without tax cuts (10 citations)

"Taxes are the price we pay for living in a decent society. Fair taxes well spent are an investment with a good return. Taxes raise the value of our community."
- Dick Mason, Everett hearing

"We believe that government can make a positive change in people’s lives. Taxes are the dues we pay for belonging to this society and the services we receive."
- Karen Balvants, Northampton hearing

BA2-BM: Do not cut taxes

EV2-DM: Taxes are the price we pay for living in a decent society

EV3-JH: Taxes are the great evil? No; the price to live in a decent society

EV6-MG: Re-evaluate property tax for relief for the underclass

NA2-BK: People will suffer under Governor’s tax plan

NO1-BF: I am disappointed that the legislature failed to crack down on corporate tax breaks.

WM6-FS: Few of those voting yes to eliminate income tax knew the full impact of such a vote.

WM19-EG: Suggest a progressive income tax that gets at taxing the rich, and ONLY the rich

WO5-GV: We need services—need to pay for them.

WO5-MB: Cuts are ridiculous!

D4. War on Terror & PATRIOT Act (8 citations)

"The Party must stand for humanistic values: putting our house in order...before we can bring credible reforms to other countries. War is only a very last resort for a civilized country."
- Beverly Quint (e-mail)

"At this time on our country, I am completely turned off by any candidate who does not mention the insanity and immorality of Bush’s war. The democrats who are waiting to see certain outcomes before speaking clearly against war will never get my vote."
- Dorothy Ropato, Taunton (e-mail)

"The Patriot Act should be revoked."
- Frances Heffner and Etta Goodstein, Barnstable hearing

BA1-FH: Wants the Patriot Act revoked

BA1-JLS: Concerned about Bush policy on foreign affairs (the war).

BA2-EG: Disapproves of the Patriot Act

NA7-JM: Stand for morality as basis of foreign policy; and our non-Congressional decision to wage war

WM3-DR: Turned off by any candidate who does not mention the insanity and immorality of Bush’s war

WM7-TM: I am so angry and heartbroken to see what Bush is doing in Iraq

WM11-BQ: War is only a very last resort for a civilized country.

WM13-CC: Dems would be well advised to take an anti-war stance – at least on this war.

D5. Miscellaneous progressive issues (5 citations)

BA1-MAP: Maintain women’s right to choose

BA2-MAM: Believes choice programs are good

BA3-RDE: Acknowledge the failure of the drug war; change to public health model for substance abuse

NO1-BF: Disappointed at failure to crack down on corporate income tax breaks

NO2-FO: The party needs a newsletter, for continuity in the message the party puts out.

E. CENTRIST ISSUES

E1. Union / Job issues (12 citations)

"We need to get back on track with the lunch pail, blue collar public, with the core principles of employment opportunities and good-paying jobs..."
- State Rep. John Fresolo, Worcester hearing

EV6-MG: Need good jobs at good pay – service sector jobs are not.

NA1-GW: Working families must be distinguished from professional families

NA2-JR: Represent blue-collar workers and people of the state

NA5-EK: A community of the future should feature full and productive employment for all

WM12-DP: Romney is gutting MGL 150E which grants state workers their collective bargaining rights

WM13-CC: Terrorism can be prevented by addressing root causes: income disparity, unjust labor laws, etc.

WO4-JC: 60% of union households voted for Shannon

WO4-PW: Democratic lunch pail issues – that affects unenrolleds

WO5-LC: Raise worker’s comp back to 66%; index minimum wage

WO5-LG: Two critical issues: young people finding jobs, and health insurance

WO7-JF: We need to get back on track with the lunch pail, blue collar public.

WO15-DB: We created 40-hour workweeks; supported worker’s right to organize.

E2. Miscellaneous centrist issues (5 citations)

EV1-EC: Governor has taken liberties with veterans

NO3-DC: A lot of Dems voted for eliminating the state income tax. Don’t be against it.

WO2-RDK: Vote what the people want – death penalty

WO4-PC: Adult choice on motorcycle issues means $$$ for Democrats

WO9-JF: We have supported rights of legal gun owners and strong law and order policies

F. NON-PARTISAN ISSUES

F1. Health and Seniors issues (15 citations)

"I support a single payer health care finance system for Massachusetts. The Party has an important opportunity to champion the interests of the public through advocacy of this vital reform of the health care system that touches all residents."
- Frank Olbris, Florence (written testimony)

"Candidates must interact with seniors and visit senior centers to gain their support."
- John Dmytrow, Barnstable hearing

BA2-EG: We must make health insurance affordable

BA5-LWV: League of Women Voters continues its support of reproductive choice

EV1-EC: Governor has taken from elderly

EV2-DM: Dem Party supports single payer healthcare at both state and national level

NA3-PS: Healthcare situation is a "caner". Massachusetts needs a universal healthcare system.

NA4-JD: Senior support involves interaction—O’Brien did not visit senior centers so they rejected her

NO2-FO: Single payer healthcare provides the party an opportunity to champion the interest of the public

NO7-FO: I support the inclusion of single payer healthcare in the party’s Action Agenda.

WM2-JB: Many seniors feel ignored and cynical about government. [Let’s] recruit these voters.

WM11-BQ: The Party must stand for humanistic values: health, education, employment.

WM19-EG: File a lawsuit against the federal government to fully fund Medicare costs

WO2-DB: Others deserve what we have: Social Security and Medicare

WO2-JPF: Blue collar issues: affordable health care, education, seniors

WO8-JF: Core principles: high-quality education, affordable healthcare, providing for seniors.

WO15-DB: We created Social Security and Medicare, and 40-hour workweeks for our laborers.

F2. Education (11 citations)

"We need to support programs for early education and after school."
- Ruth Provost, Barnstable hearing

"We should preserve higher education opportunities for all."
- Ellen Gugel, Westborough (e-mail)

BA1-POC: State aid for schools and housing are not sufficient

BA1-RE: We must continue to lead in public education

BA1-RP: We need to support programs for early education and after-school

EV6-RVC: We don’t go into the schools and teach children values.

NA1-GW: Addressing healthcare and K-12 education attracts working families

NA2-MJM: Education and social security network are in danger

WM11-BQ: We must stand for humanistic values: health, education, employment

WM12-DP: Prioritize quality public education from K thru college with access for all

WM19-EG: Preserve higher education opportunities for all

WM39-MW: Adequate funding for health, human services, and education

WO2-JPF: [Key issues are] affordable healthcare, education, seniors

F3. Outreach to disenfranchised groups (10 citations)

"The Party leadership has done nothing to encourage the Democratic Rural Council - an association of small town Democratic leaders. We need to start treating rural Democrats and rural voters as equal partners if we are to win their allegiance in 2006."
- Matt Barron, Chesterfield (Northamptom hearing)

"Bring our Latino children along - we got beat by this issue - we need to support this issue."
- Bob Sullivan, Millbury (Worcester hearing)

"The minority vote is taken for granted."
- Lenny Cooper, Worcester hearing

NA3-NOC: More affirmative action outreach; more outreach to college campuses

NA4-JP: Focus on issues in each community; support local leadership

NO1-MB: Last two elections saw Dem nominee lose the rural vote. We need to treat rural voters as equals

NO3-RC: We need to expand our base. We need to reach out to those who do not participate.

NO4-MLB: Democratic Rural Council, formed in 1998, has not been encouraged by party leadership.

WO3-BW: Disabled are the sleeping giant of politics

WO3-LC: Outreach for minority vote.

WO5-JDG: Broaden out party. Need new words other than working family.

WO6-BS: Bring our Latino children along—we got beat by this issue and need to support it.

WO10-UN: Minority communities feel Dems give them low priority and take their vote for granted

F4. Affordable housing / Development issues (5 citations)

"On the Cape we are especially concerned about affordable housing. Service sector jobs, so important here, cannot afford to pay rent: one has to make $17.71 per hour to pay for a local two bedroom rental."
- Marianne Philbrick, Centerville (written testimony)

BA1-JLS: Affordable housing is the most critical issue on the Cape

BA1-LS: Housing is prohibitively expensive for middle income families on the Cape

BA1-POC: State aid for schools and housing is not sufficient

BA5-LWV: League of Women Voters especially concerned about affordable housing on the Cape

WM19-EG: Stop inappropriate development and dump chapter 40b – a sweetheart deal

F5. Casino Gambling (4 citations)

"The League of Women Voters opposes the establishment of legalized casino gambling."
- Marianne Philbrick, Centerville (written testimony)

"Have we taken a position on casino gambling? If a community wants it, why not allow gambling in those communities?"
- Diane Parsons, North Adams (e-mail)

BA1-MAP: Opposes legalized casino gambling

BA1-SR: Opposes casino gambling

BA5-LWV: League of Women Voters opposes legalized casino gambling

WM12-DP: If a community wants it, why not allow casino gambling?

CONCLUSIONS

Addressing our key question of how to persuade unenrolled voters to vote for Democratic gubernatorial candidates, a majority response among testimony might be, "run a more progressive candidate who inspires independent voters with liberal leadership values, and who favors a more open and accountable Democratic Party." Testimony heavily favored progressive viewpoints over centrist viewpoints, but the two are reconcilable. we’ll cite two viewpoints, one from the progressive side and one from the centrist side, which we believe encapsulate well the opposing viewpoints:

 

"Democrats are becoming more and more frustrated by the failure of our party’s elected officials to accurately represent the progressive values upon which this party was founded [as expressed in] our Party Platform.… Make no mistake about it, we will see more and more defections to the Green Party or some other party, if we don’t take seriously the concerns of progressives who are steadily becoming estranged."
– Richard D. Elrick, Barnstable Town Councilor (BA3-RDE).

 

"It is essential that the Democratic Party as a whole get back to our foundational values of fiscal conservatism and social responsibility, not social liberalism…. The core principles of employment opportunities and good-paying jobs, high quality education, affordable healthcare, and providing for our seniors and the most disadvantaged of our society."
– John Fresolo, State Representative (WO7-JF).

Both the progressives and the centrists cite the need to return to the party’s founding values. Although they differ on what those values are, the commonality is a call for clearly expressing values. The two people above differ on their political labeling, yet Rep. Fresolo’s list of issues are an outline of the Party Platform that Councilor Elrick calls for embracing. Both sides might agree that unenrolled voters would be drawn to vote Democrat if the gubernatorial candidate expressed strong values in a clear and open manner.