Well, Martha Coakley did do well in some places on the Massachusetts electoral map.
Cambridge, for example, which gave her 84.1% of the vote (to Scott Brown's 15.2%), was the most Democratic town in the state, the tally being 27,628 to 4,921. Tiny Provincetown--a very liberated, somewhat nasty provincial town--also gave the Democratic candidate exactly 84.1% of the vote. The Republican received only 14.9%. This leaves Cambridge, my home town, the most Democratically concentrated municipality in the state. Still, Cambridge, home to Harvard and MIT, was down 3.7% from the proportions of its Democratic 2008 presidential choice. The tip of the Cape was down 3.6%, one of the lowest numbers on the index of Democratic regret.
Newton is a paradigmatic liberal town with many Jews and an increasing number of Asians. 2% of its residents are black. But one of them is mayor. Coakley received 67.0% of the vote and Brown 32.4%. There was a Democratic deficit of 8.0% from 2008.
Brookline, a less prosperous town than Newton (but with quite ritzy enclaves), shares a similar demographic profile. And its voting pattern is comparable. The town gave Coakley 74.1% of the tally, and Brown received 25.3%. The Democratic drop was 6.6%.
And what about the western part of the state? Amherst, with 84.0%, ranks way up there with Cambridge in its concentration of Coakley voters. Williamstown was not far below. And, across the Berkshires (Great Barrington, Lenox, Stockbridge, West Stockbridge, any place where TNR readers "summer"), a wide swath of blue extends throughout the area.
This is not true in Hyannisport, Kennedy headquarters since the beginning of time. There are no accurate numbers because this hamlet is a part of Barnstable. But, as the Boston Globe pointed out this morning, Ted Kennedy's emotional home betrayed him and went for Scott Brown and, thus, against the great health care dream of his life. Barnstable, where Coakley garnered 37.6% of the tally, registered a 16.4% decline in the Democratic vote since 2008.
And this is where, traditionally, Democrats win by landslide proportions. Elsewhere, it is not always easy street for the party. Its troubles begin with working-class men and women who cannot be conscripted by the unions. The unions can give your dues to the Democrats. But they cannot give your votes.
I have not really researched all of these statistics myself, and I have certainly not made them up. The New York Times has done all the intense and intricate work. It is available on the Times web-site under Results and Analysis. (There are still many ways in which this newspaper is the real paper of record. I need to learn that, even when it rankles me, I am dependent on it and love it.)
These numbers comparing yesterday and last year are disastrous for the Democrats, and not simply because Massachusetts traditionally votes Democratic. The decline may actually be prophetic. About half of the state’s voters are independents. Yet, this is a time when the Democrats rivet on their deeply partisan program, quite understandable after eight years under Republican rule. But politically alienating. (Women also don't do especially well in Bay State politics. So Martha Coakley was really Nancy Pelosi, but a little cooler and much cruder.)
Did you notice that, throughout the campaign and especially on election night, Brown hardly mentioned the word "Republican"? He was an independent, by hook and by crook. Given the unanimous partisanship of the president's opposition and the lockstep ideological affinities of my new senator, this is quite an achievement.
Nothing much was said about foreign policy. But Coakley managed to convey her opposition to the president's strategy in Afghanistan:
I think we should plan an exit strategy... I am not sure there is a way to succeed [in Afghanistan]. If the goal was and the vision in Afghanistan was to go in because we believe the Taliban was giving harbor to terrorists, we supported that, I supported that goal. They are gone, they are not there anymore, they are in apparently Yemen and Pakistan. Let's focus our efforts on where Al Qaeda is.
This criticism of the president is the product of a garbled mind. But there is a whole international gestalt among the Obami that awaits dissent from Democrats. As Barry Rubin pointed out in an essay this morning, "The Decline of the Obama Administration: Massachusetts and the Middle East," the day of the Bay State Democratic disaster was the very day that Tehran unequivocally rejected the proposal, already watered down, to export some of its uranium for enrichment in foreign countries. What will the president do? What will his associates in the Democratic Congress do? I suppose they will say nothing.
This will finally rankle some more Democrats even if they have to be provoked by Republicans. And it will be an intrinsic element in the defeat of the congressional Democrats in November.