(Worth discussing. – promoted by Paul R. Ferro)
The notion that Scott Brown lost this election because he went too far in the middle is one of the dumber arguments of the 2012 post mortems I’ve seen and heard so far.
Scott Brown’s loss can be put on the shoulders of one man. Not Eric Fehrnstrom. Not Mitt Romney. Not Mitch McConnell . The man who is 100% to blame for Scott Brown’s loss is Barack Obama.
Let’s look at the math.
Barack Obama: 1,900,575 votes
Elizabeth Warren: 1,678,408 votes
Scott Brown: 1,449,180 votes
Mitt Romney: 1,177,370 votes
Scott Brown lost by 229,228 votes. To win this seat, you needed roughly 1.56M votes. Looking at what the President ended up getting, Scott Brown would’ve needed roughly 110,000 people to vote for Barack Obama for President and Scott Brown for US Senate. That just can’t happen.
So, looking at the math, Senator Brown (he’s still our Senator!) needed cut the margin in half if he wanted to get over 50%. So, he needed about 115,000 people to vote for him instead of Elizabeth Warren. This is where my initial statement comes into play. Scott Brown would NOT have won over 115,000 people by moving to the right.
Many of us live in our own political bubble. I know I’m not friendly with many democrats. That isn’t saying anything bad about democrats as I have many in my family and my wife’s family. However, when I go out to dinner, grab a drink, etc. it’s with my political friends. The fact remains there’s a finite number of people who care about life vs. choice and marriage. And that finite number of people who base their decisions solely on social issues, their minds are made up well before the first ad goes on TV or the first mailing goes to the post office.
I think Sen. Brown made many tactical mistakes, including talking about Planned Parenthood and beating us over the head with how pro choice he is. I just don’t think it net him very many results, and I think those ad dollars could’ve been spent much better.
But I still think that Scott Brown would not have gained 115,000 votes by moving to the right. Sure, his strategy of telling me 45 times a day how much he loves abortions irritated me, and I wish he didn’t do it, but going the other way wouldn’t have helped.
Do you think 115,000 people would’ve voted for him, and not Elizabeth Warren, if he stood up next to Rep. Akin and agreeing with him? No, of course not.
Do you think 115,000 people would’ve voted for him, and not Elizabeth Warren, if he received a prime time slot at the Convention talking about how important banning abortions is, in the case of rape and incest? No, of course not.
Do you think 115,000 people would’ve voted for him, and not Elizabeth Warren, if he did a press conference with VP nominee Paul Ryan talking about how they agree on “important social issues”? No, of course not.
Bottom line: Scott Brown lost because in Massachusetts, you don’t win a state-wide race as a Republican during a presidential year. Going farther to the right would not have changed the outcome.
Matt Elder is a Marlborough City Councilor and Political Consultant. Follow him on Twitter @CouncilorElder