The Boston Globe (No innovative sparks as Baker, Coakley address tech audience) has a harsh take on the performance of Martha Coakley and Charlie Baker at an innovation policy forum:
Baker and Coakley each often spoke in generalities, sidestepped questions about employee noncompete agreements — a major hot-button issue in the tech sector — and left attendees craving substance.
“It was terrible,” said Axel Scherer, a software architect at Cadence Design Systems in Chelmsford. “They said nothing. Just empty suits going, ‘blah, blah, blah.’ ”
Right from the start of the article, I was thinking, Why is this a surprise? And I bet the United Independent Party’s Evan Falchuk and independent candidate Jeff McCormick did a lot better. Sure enough, buried in the very final paragraph is the rest of the commentary from Scherer:
Most of the crowd left after Coakley and Baker’s remarks. But Scherer stayed to hear the two independents running for governor and came away impressed by both Jeff McCormick and Evan Falchuk’s ability to converse on the issues.
(In the comments section of the Globe story online you’ll see that Scherer was taken by Falchuk and wonders why McCormick and Falchuk had to go last.)
But the Globe reports exactly nothing of the actual substance of their remarks. Why not? They both gathered enough signatures to make it onto the ballot, and Falchuk needs just 3% of the vote in the general election to establish the new party, enabling it to place candidates up and down in the ballot in future elections.
The Globe partially redeems itself in an article about a debate later on in Springfield, which also included Baker and Coakley. It included this line:
Evan Falchuk pitched himself as a truth teller, willing to speak bluntly about everything from state finances to casino politics.
I honestly don’t understand why the Globe is focused only on the Democratic and Republican nominees. The Globe and others blew it in the primary election by running story after story about Coakley’s huge lead in the polls. Remember that the Globe reported its final poll of Coakley 47%, Grossman 25%, Berwick 13%.
In the end, it was much closer: 42%, 36%, 21%. Or as the Globe reported, “far less than polls and party leaders had predicted.” And who knows, the Globe may have thrown the election to Coakley by making Grossman and Berwick voters think there was no chance for their candidates. As a voter in the Democratic primary, that’s how I felt.
Falchuk and McCormick are not fringe candidates. (Scott Lively is, which is why I ignore him.) The majority of Massachusetts voters are not enrolled in either major party. And as the innovation policy forum made clear, the “major” candidates, left to their own devices, will steer away from the tough issues.
At a minimum it’s good for democracy to cover all of the serious candidates so the voters can learn what they have to say. And even those voters who think that the independents don’t have a chance to win in November should consider voting for Falchuk in order to establish a permanent, moderate independent party in the Commonwealth.