According to a recent Morning Consult poll surveying 2,500 Massachusetts voters, Charlie Baker ranks as the most popular governor in the nation with an astonishing 75% approval rating. Governor Baker has cleverly and deceitfully marketed himself as the palatable Republican choice for Democrats in the state of Massachusetts. The Boston Globe, with twenty years since its last Republican endorsement, endorsed Baker during his 2014 election bid, stating, “at this time, [Baker] would provide the best counterpoint to the instincts of an overwhelmingly Democratic Legislature.”
Baker’s political leanings are often touted as socially liberal and fiscally conservative. His supporters routinely praise his liberal stances on LGBTQ rights, women’s rights, and gun control. His voting base lauds him for several decisions made during his governorship, like the transgender accommodations bill he signed into law in 2016. But when you look beyond that final act, Baker only supported the bill after receiving public pressure from Congressman Joe Kennedy III. In his failed 2010 campaign for governor, Baker vowed to veto a proposal for even more basic protections, derisively referring to the measure as ‘the bathroom bill.’ He had only slightly warmed to the idea of protection against discrimination for transgender people during his 2014 campaign. Had Congressman Joe Kennedy III not made Baker’s opposition to the law politically disadvantageous, Baker likely would never have signed the bill for which he receives such credit.
Like the transgender protections bill, so many of Baker’s social liberal gold stars fade under similar scrutiny, exposing their truth as simple political posturing. Baker speaks often about his supposed left-leaning ideologies, but when it comes to carrying out actual legislation in support of them, he fails. Last November, Governor Baker vehemently opposed Massachusetts’ legalization of marijuana using erroneous ‘gateway drug’ logic. He threw his clout behind Question 2, a ballot initiative roundly rejected by Massachusetts voters, which would have funded charter schools at the expense of public schools. Presently, he stands in opposition to the so-called Millionaire’s Tax that will be an initiative on the 2018 ballot.
Governor Baker’s hostility towards the Safe Communities Act (SCA) is arguably his most egregious attack on progressive values. Since its introduction on Beacon Hill, immediately following Trump’s first immigration ban, Baker has opposed the SCA, a stark contrast to the many other leaders around the state who publicly and quickly stood up in support. The governor justifies his position with the slanderous, inflammatory, and unsupported claim that the bill would allow violent criminals to stay in our communities. Not only is his justification factually incorrect, anyone familiar with Republican ideology can see it’s straight from the GOP play book – evoke fear to justify xenophobia, racism, and the denial of basic civil rights.
In these times, we need a governor who works with us and represents our values, not one endorsed for the arbitrary reason of preventing our government from getting too blue. Let’s hold Baker to the challenge of representing his electorate. And if he won’t stand to the challenge, let’s elect someone who will.
#town-hall collaborated with #writing to create this post.