Adult beverages and/or Big Papi Cannabis? Check.
State House News Service on the laptop, WBZ (at 11) and WSBK (at 10) on the tube? Check.
Now that you’re all set to take in the results, here are a few themes to keep an eye on:
· HOW UNPOPULAR IS MAURA HEALEY?
There will be several measures of whether or not the undisputed Democratic gubernatorial nominee should have any remote concerns about November: votes for ghost candidate Sonia Chang-Diaz, blanks, and votes for GOP candidate Chris Doughty, who has turned his campaign into a vessel for stop-Healey sentiment. Even the late Ted Kennedy at the height of his clout typically saw 30-40% support for his Republican opponent. An anti-Healey vote in excess of that would be a bit of a warning sign that visions of her coronation may be premature.
· HOW INFLUENTIAL IS HOWIE CARR?
A Doughty upset of Geoff Diehl or even a near-miss would underscore the clout of the veteran columnist and talk-show host, a longtime supporter of Diehl’s who apparently got fed up with the candidate’s debate avoidance. And it would affirm Carr’s understanding of the political toxicity of the Trump brand outside of groupie circles.
· HOW INFLUENTIAL IS BIG LABOR?
Both the Massachusetts AFL-CIO and the Massachusetts Teachers Association have endorsed Shannon Liss-Riordan for Attorney General, Diana DiZoglio for Auditor, and Bill Galvin for Secretary of State. So much for Andrea Campbell and Tanisha Sullivan, two well-qualified black candidates for AG and Secretary (although the SEIU State Council, a major group under the AFL-CIO umbrella, did back Campbell). Voter rejection of any of these picks would be a red flag for big labor heading into the tax-hike referendum vote in the fall. A Campbell win in particular would be a boost for charter schools, which have become a favorite whipping boy for some Democratic campaigns under the turf-protecting guidance of the teacher unions.
· HOW INFLUENTIAL IS GENDER IDENTITY POLITICS?
No offense to Auditor candidate Chris Dempsey or Galvin, but if promoting women to power is truly important to a majority of Democratic primary voters, there’s no reason why the party shouldn’t wind up with an all-female ticket. And if “believing women” is more than hollow political rhetoric, Kevin Hayden should benefit from recent stories about Ricardo Arroyo’s past in the Suffolk County DA race. Too bad we don’t have exit polling to look forward to – it would be fascinating to see how women really feel about all that.
· HOW ENGAGED ARE THE VOTERS?
From recent handwringing about large numbers of undecided voters you’d think democracy was circling the drain around here. Color us skeptical. Voters worried about the cost of living and their lawns (if they even have one) have been confronted by lackluster campaigns and awful TV ads. Still, Galvin estimates 1,150,000 of them will vote – the largest primary turnout in 32 years.
So go easy on the booze and blunts. This is one primary night worth staying awake for.
Join me every Tuesday for more analysis of local politics and policy right here on MASSterList.