Here’s everything America needs to know about Massachusetts politics: It’s the only place in America where a Kennedy can run in a Democratic primary for U.S. Senate as the moderate.
Joseph P. Kennedy III is everything you could want in a Kennedy. He’s young (38), good looking, gives great speeches, and has top ratings from Planned Parenthood, the League of Conservation Voters and LGBT groups. But compared to incumbent Sen. Ed Markey, he’s practically a member of the MAGA hat crowd.
Which is why JK3’s all-but-certain run for the U.S. Senate is creating so much political whiplash among Bay State Democrats.
On paper, Rep. Kennedy’s decision to challenge a 73-year-old political lifer like Ed Markey is straight from the Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez playbook. New York Congressman Joe Crowley was a consistently liberal vote in the Democratic caucus with 20 years of seniority. He got whacked by AOC, not over policy, but identity.
The same story later that year in Boston, when City Councilor Ayanna Pressley put 10-term incumbent Rep. Michael Capuano out to pasture. It had nothing to do with his voting record — which would have been center-left in the old Soviet politburo. It was just time for racial, gender and generational change.
If JK3 makes his move, Mr. Markey will almost certainly get “hope and changed” right into retirement.
Once again, on paper, Mr. Markey should be untouchable among the Massachusetts moonbats. His lifetime score from Progressive Punch is 99.02 out of 100 — second only to Elizabeth Warren. He’s not just a supporter of the far-left fever-swamp fantasy known as the Green New Deal, he’s the lead sponsor. All of the craziest things you’ve heard about the GND — shutting down the entire fossil fuel industry, guaranteed federal jobs for all, $93 trillion in spending — Mr. Markey’s said them all.
In front of a microphone.
Mr. Markey figured out long ago that, in Massachusetts, there’s no downside to ideological insanity. In a state where no Republican has won a general election for U.S. Senate since 1972, the only political danger is in a Democratic primary. (Scott Brown won a special election in 2010 and was promptly thrown out two years later.)
How do you avoid being primaried? By embracing every loony left proposal that comes down the line. And so from taxpayer-funded abortion on demand up to the day of birth, to ending immigration enforcement and abolishing ICE, Ed Markey is with the progressive masses.
The question is, with a Kennedy on the ticket, will the progs be with him? Answer: No.
Sources close to Mr. Kennedy claim they’ve got polling showing he’s leading Mr. Markey outside the margin of error even before he enters the race. And political observers have noted that Mr. Kennedy has only recently evolved from the “solidly liberal” wing of his party to the “You know, that Castro guy was onto something” base. In the world of Massachusetts politics that makes JK3 the moderate.
Some Bay State lefties have figured this out. The Green New Deal activist group Sunshine Movement has endorsed Mr. Markey, and the Boston Globe has broken with 50 years of post-Chappaquiddick fealty and published pieces critical of Mr. Kennedy. The Globe even ran a column mocking JK3 as “Young Prince Joseph III” who “bought his House seat.”
When the Boston Globe decides to go full Fox News on Ted Kennedy’s nephew, you know their world’s gone haywire.
Mr. Markey has the endorsement of the elected establishment in Massachusetts, including Ms. Warren. But instead of bolstering his re-election bid, this has the perverse impact of making JK3 both the “political scion” and “anti-establishment” rebel in the race.
In the AOC era, how can he possibly lose?
• Michael Graham is politics editor of InsideSources.