Endorsements on Parade: Return Markey & McGovern to DC…
As America faces a stark and historic choice on Tuesday, Massachusetts faces many of its own. On the federal level, the 413 has two federal races ahead. US Senator Ed Markey faces Republican Kevin O’Connor, a lawyer and Representative James McGovern, a Democrat who represents the Upper Pioneer Valley’s population centers, again faces his 2018 Republican opponent Tracy Lovvorn.
It is our recommendation that voters reelect both Democrats. The upside is obvious in terms of both policy and influence. Markey’s reputation as an excellent legislative grind was probably the most important feature of his primary campaign. His continued service will serve the commonwealth well. Meanwhile, McGovern wields the gavel of the powerful Rules Committee. He is a committed voice for social justice at home and abroad.
As some may have noted, we made no recommendation in this year’s primaries. This is not normal. (What is in 2020?) We have abstained and the geographic breadth of this blog’s endorsements are limited, but rarely have we said nothing. The reason for this was simple. In the heat of pandemic-tinged campaigning, we felt our time was better used reporting on candidates and the racees, rather than bloviating about whom voters should support.
But egomania endures. While the opposition in these races is, to be kind, weak, this blog felt it must speak to critical federal and state races Tuesday will settle. They will, God willing, join Joe Biden in Washington next year put what right what the incumbent president has done wrong.
Markey emerged victorious from his primary battle against Newton Congressman Joseph Kennedy, III in September. It was a slog. Despite the novelty of the Green New Deal and some folks’ instance that Earth’s fate hinged on Markey’s reelection, his greatest compelling argument in September remains such in the general election. He is a prodigious legislator.
On countless issues he and his staff have cranked out policies and bills that aim to improve the lives of everyday people. We have our quibbles, but on the environment, consumer protection and—in recent years—investments in scientific research, he is nearly without peer. Whatever our ambivalence about the Green New Deal, we applaud any aggressive move against climate change.
The strike against Markey, felt most prominently in Western and Southeastern Massachusetts, is a feeling of absence. Even if that claim was mathematically flawed, popular feelings cannot be dispelled with a chart. But here we see another Markey virtue: evolution.
Markey has listened to the criticisms that Kennedy raised against, and corrected. Even as the 413 tipped more toward his challenger, Markey continued to come here and campaign for every vote he could. He has not stopped with victory.
Another complaint was Markey failed to leverage the safeness of his seat to help Democrats elsewhere. Since the primary’s conclusion, he has done that, too, endorsing candidates across Massachusetts and the country. We trust he will continue that.
O’Connor, Markey’s opponent, has a spirited pitch. He held his own in their one debate, but O’Connor also could not completely let go of Donald Trump. This is a shame. Governor Charlie Baker will not tower over the commonwealth forever and Democrats could use more thoughtful opposition. But uncut cords with this Trumpian infection—both the man and movement—are disqualifications.
On policy, O’Connor tried to sound reasonable, but he either cannot pull it off, as on racial justice, or he punts. This blog does not bearhug the Green New Deal, but the climate is an emergency. Thank you for believing in climate change, but platitudes are not policy.
In the 2nd District, nearly ten years after McGovern’s redrawn district leapt from the Rhode Island border to the Upper Valley, he has tended to the region. Combined with Springfield Congressman Richard Neal’s Ways & Means gavel, the 413 has never had such influence in Congress. (Neal faces no opposition for reelection).
However, McGovern has also ably straddled the line between outspoken progressive and the careful leadership of Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The Rules Committee has great power, but to borrow from Stan Lee, it has great responsibility, too. In our view, McGovern wields both for the good of country and district.
One more note. Throughout his career, McGovern has been outspoken on human rights matters. One international consequence of Trump’s insipid foreign policy is, despite tough talk, China has enjoyed a freer hand. That includes the harassment and torture of the Uyghurs in Western China.
In only the latest example of McGovern’s commitment to human rights, he has led the way on legislation to hold China to account for its crimes against its own citizens. Some of these bills have even received Trump’s signature, but the initiative for this belongs to reps like McGovern.
Meanwhile, Lovvorn has returned after a drubbing two years ago. Putting aside the invective on her social media pages that, at a minimum, wobbles on the line of bigotry, she also embraces QAnon. For the uninitiated on QAnon—Blessed are the QAnon-ignorant—it is a conspiracy that asserts Trump is fighting a deep state controlled by pedophiles.
Lovvorn has claimed to reject some of the loonier aspects of the movement. Yet, her interview with New York magazine on QAnon was not exactly reassuring. Conspiracy-mongering about McGovern and strange numerology are only the beginning of her…um, perspective?
No, Congress is nutty enough. It will already feature a few QAnon diehards—who, as New York notes, do not actually seem interested in anti-human trafficking policy. It does need one more person with too much time on their hands and too much dirt from the grassy knoll in their heads.
For federal offices on November 3—if you have not already voted early or dropped off your ballot—we urge the reelection of US Senator Ed Markey and Representative James McGovern of the 2nd Congressional district.