Some election takeaways

Here are some thoughts about the recent primary election and the upcoming general election less than two months away:

 

  • A lot is being made of Joseph Kennedy III’s loss to U.S. Sen. Ed Markey in the Democratic primary. Some have called it the end of the family dynasty, pointing out it’s the first time a Kennedy has lost a race in Massachusetts. Lost in all of that talk is the perspective that Kennedy was defeated by another Democrat, not a Republican. If Kennedy ran and lost to a Republican, you could call it the end of the family’s political dynasty. Right now, it’s like the New York Jets cheering on the loss of the New England Patriots at the hands of the New York Giants. The domination isn’t over until you beat them yourself. In the end, Kennedy offered no clear reason to vote for him over Markey, and appears to have completely underestimated the incumbent. Markey, on the other hand, recast himself as the leader of the progressive movement, making the outcome less than surprising. 
  • Mail-in voting was popular, but not without its problems — something we hope the state can work out between now and Nov. 3. In the race for the Fourth Congressional District, the vote differential between Jake Auchincloss and Jesse Mermell was just 1,500 votes before Mermell conceded defeat, though she still claimed that some votes were not yet counted. Every town on the Island has a way for people who plan to use mail-in ballots to drop them off safely and securely ahead of the election, either in a dropbox or at the clerk’s office. If you plan to use the mail, follow the postal service’s recommendations and return the ballot at least 15 days before the election (bit.ly/USPSelectionwebsite). The deadline for applying for the mail-in ballot is Oct. 20.
  • One of the real positives of mail-in voting is the number of people who actually cast ballots that way in what was a relatively sleepy primary election. As of Election Day, 950,000 people had cast mail-in ballots, according to a spokeswoman for Secretary of State William Galvin’s office. That number is likely to climb, as is the 1.6 million people who voted overall, according to unofficial numbers. On Tuesday, Galvin’s office was working to certify the election results, so the numbers are not yet final.
  • Early voting is another option for voters who don’t want to visit crowded polling places on Election Day. Starting two weeks before the election, each town will have early voting hours to help ease the crunch on Nov. 3.
  • It was great to see a woman top the list of candidates for Dukes County commissioner. Christine Todd topped the field of eight candidates. All but Hunter Moorman, who dropped out of the race prior to the election but was still on the ballot, will make it to the final election Nov. 3 to fill the seven-member commission. Unfortunately they’ll run unopposed in November, because not a single Republican ran for the commission. 
  • On the national stage, as our attention shifts to the presidential election, we’re faced with reporting by the Atlantic that President Trump called members of the military “losers” and “suckers.” The Atlantic’s story, using anonymous sources, will do little on its own to move the needle. While it’s always preferable to use sources who go on the record, it’s understandable why sources don’t with this president — Col. Alexander Vindman was discredited and fired by Trump after he blew the whistle on Trump’s calls with the Ukraine president about Joe Biden. The president’s supporters will rally around the “anonymous sources” aspect of this story, and dismiss it as “fake news.” Trump famously said of John McCain: “He’s not a war hero. He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.” Those comments were on videotape ahead of the 2016 election, and failed to dissuade supporters of Trump from voting for him. 
  • All of which is to say: Vote, get everyone you know to vote, or we deserve the monsters we get. No matter how you intend to vote, it’s time to register if you’re not already. The deadline to register is Oct. 24.