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This year’s Massachusetts gubernatorial race heats up

(Photo Courtesy of NBC Boston) “Massachusetts governor candidates Geoff Diehl (Republican) and Attorney General Maura Healy (Democrat) prepare for a debate.”

Nicholas Ewing
Connector Contributor

On November 8th, 2022, Massachusetts residents will be given the opportunity to elect a new governor. The 2022 Massachusetts gubernatorial election is between the Democratic candidate, Maura Healey, and the Republican candidate, Geoff Diehl. Healey was elected Attorney General in 2014 and in 2018. In 2010, Diehl was elected as State Representative of the 7th Plymouth District and later in 2016 elected as full Delegate to the Republican National Convention.

This election is special because the Republican party is changing their electoral strategy in Massachusetts with the end goal of winning more voters in the next ten or twenty years. To achieve such a feat, the Republican party plans to stick with their ideology which means ceding the governor position if they must, for now.

Historically, Massachusetts has been a liberal state. The Democratic politicians have held the majority in both houses of the legislature. The Republicans, despite competing in a solid blue state, have successfully won the governor position multiple times with politically moderate candidates. “Any bills passed are negotiated between a Democratic controlled legislature and a moderate Republican Governor,” said Joshua Dyck, “but that may not be true after the 2022 midterms.”

Joshua Dyck, professor of Political Science at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, had said that the polarization in the national politics is now affecting the state politics of Massachusetts. “There is negative partisanship across the country – and here too – which voters are just voting to make sure the opposing candidate does not win.” That means that voters do not have to like the candidates their party selects but vote to make sure the other party and candidate loses. The negative partisanship across the United States is the first reason Dyck believes Diehl will lose in November. The other reason is the ideological platform Diehl is running on is incompatible with Massachusetts’ liberal political views.

Geoff Diehl is not a moderate Republican like the outgoing Governor Charlie Baker. “He is from the far right, Trump wing of the GOP… an ideological purist,” said Dyck in his description of Diehl. An ideological purist means a Republican not as pragmatic as Democrats view pragmatism and does not support liberal values and policies. Dyck has concluded, “Diehl cannot win in Massachusetts because there are not enough ideological purists in Massachusetts [to vote for Diehl] … [that means] the Republican party have ceded the governorship. They would rather lose the [governorship] than give up on their beliefs, ideology and values.” Dyck believes there must be a long-term goal behind sticking with an ideological agenda and losing the governorship. Negative partisanship and campaigning on an ideological purist platform spells trouble for the GOP and Diehl. Their objective in this campaign is to earn more Trump supporters in the next one or two decades.

Additionally, what are the policy platforms of the two candidates? Particularly, issues both candidates want to solve, like economic development, education, housing and the rights of citizens. Below is a quick preview of their differences from their campaign websites.

The economic policies, according to the Diehl and Allen Campaign, are to establish a “flat income tax for all citizens and businesses… [and] enact the Baker tax cut proposals.” The Maura Healey Committee wants to enact a “tax policy to make sure it addresses today’s extreme concentration of wealth and income such that our sources of revenue and our expenditures lead to a fairer and more balanced economy.”

On the issue of education, Healey is an “advocate for federal funding for early education and care…  opposed the 2016 ballot measure that would have drained millions from our public schools by expanding the number of charter schools in the state.” Conversely, Diehl had, “expanded school choice, whereby parents will be given more flexibility to send their children to charter, vocational, or private schools, or home schooling… [establish state oversight to] monitor school curriculum statewide for subjects that are not appropriate to be taught.”

Regarding housing, Diehl wants to “[make] housing options more accessible and affordable, with smart, sustainable investment for critical needs, especially in western Massachusetts and Cape Cod.” His opponent, Healey, has promised to “establish a Secretary of Housing position to lead the growth of housing in the Commonwealth… [and] maintain and support a strong emergency shelter system for both individuals and families,” to tackle homelessness.

Lastly, the rights of citizens will be contentious as Healey will protect the rights of women, minorities and LGBTQ+ by providing safe abortion, reform the police and legal protections for trans people, respectively. Diehl will campaign on the “fight for parents regarding education related matters and “…the rights of those who wish to refuse a vaccine for bona fide held religious beliefs.”

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