Scott Brown was recently elected to fill the senate seat left vacant by Ted Kennedy. While Brown has asserted that his victory was the result of anger over Washington gridlock (rather than being about Obama) some are taking his election as a sign. Of course, the sort of sign that it is supposed to be varies based on who you ask.
Some folks see it is a sign that Americans are against the health care reform proposed by Obama. However, this is a rather hasty inference. First, Brown was elected 52% to 47%. If we assume that every person who voted for Brown voted to express their dissent regarding the health care reform and we assume that every eligible voter in Massachusetts voted, then this would mean that only a very small majority of the voters are against the health care plan. Second, even if the previous assumptions are granted this election only reflects the views of the folks in Massachusetts. To infer from this the general view of the American people would be to fall victim to a hasty generalization. It might also be a biased generalization. After all, the folks in Massachusetts already have their own government health care and they might differ in other ways from the general population. After all, the folks on the right have been known to dismiss the East Coast as not being part of the “real America.”
Some folks see this election as a sign that the Republicans are on the way back. On the face of it, this victory (however narrow) is a gain for the Republicans. After all, they have gained one senate seat and have done so in a state that was generally regarded as a Democrat stronghold. However, the Democrat’s loss might be more of a result of Coakley’s rather lackluster campaign and various gaffes she made (including one that no doubt cost her the votes of some Red Sox fans). Ironically, I suspect that one reason that Coakley lost was due to the mistaken belief that the Democrats could not lose in Massachusetts. One of the best ways to lose is to simply assume you will win.
A bit of irony is that the election the Democrats just lost is the result of the Democrats changing how filling such seats worked. In the past, the governor of the state appointed the replacement. However, when a Republican (Romney) was governor the state legislature changed it so that there had to be a special election. As such, the Republicans can thank the Democrats for making their victory possible. Again.
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- ‘I’m Scott Brown. I drive a truck’ (guardian.co.uk)