The Establishment and the Rich Took Down Bernie in Massachusetts

While the Sanders campaign is expressing satisfaction at Super Tuesday’s results, there was one major disappointment in the mixed bag of returns: Bernie lost Massachusetts, a state that was considered within grasp, in a squeaker. A breakdown of the results shows that there were two main factors contributing to the Sanders loss: the Democratic establishment and the state’s richest communities. If either one of these two factors had not worked against him, there’s little doubt that the Bay State would have been solidly in the Sanders column.

The map of election results (available here at the Boston Globe) tells the whole grim story. Geographically, Sanders carried most of the state, but the areas that Clinton did carry–Boston and its most affluent suburbs–reveal the two big factors at work.

Clinton won Boston by a wide margin with big help from the party establishment. She had the vital support of Mayor Marty Walsh, who rallied with Clinton on the eve of the election and helped deliver a 20,000 vote victory in the city. Given that Clinton only won the entire state by 17,000 votes, the mayor’s support was obviously critical. Sanders, of course, had no support from major party leaders in the state.

Beyond Boston, the geography is the narrative. The aforementioned map shows that Clinton’s dominance outside of Boston was limited to the state’s most affluent towns. In fact, of the state’s 25 wealthiest communities–Weston, Dover, Carlisle, Sherborn, Sudbury, Wellesley, Winchester, Manchester, Lexington, Boxford, Wayland, Concord, Brookline, Newton, Needham, Westwood, Southborough, Medfield, Lincoln, Boxborough, Cohasset, Hingham, Marblehead, Hopkinton, and Belmont–Clinton carried 24 of them, and most by wide margins of at least 10 to 15 points or greater. (Only Boxford went to Sanders.)

Simply put, Clinton won Massachusetts because rich Democrats pulled it into her column. The vast majority of the state’s 351 municipalities went to Sanders, but if you want to find Clinton strongholds just follow the money. And in a race that was decided by less than 1.5 percent of the vote, the richest towns going heavily for Clinton were enough to put her over the top. These folks may call themselves liberals, but please spare them all that Bernie rhetoric of wealth disparity, corporate power, and money in politics. Can’t the poor just get jobs at Whole Foods?

As Clinton was sweeping the South and racking up wins on Super Tuesday, the Bay State was understandably considered important to Sanders for reasons of momentum if nothing else. A victory in the bluest of blue states would have been a big prize, and one less victory for the Hillary juggernaut.

If Sanders is taken down, it’s only appropriate that the One Percent and their close cousins, wearing the label of liberal Democrats, would do it. That’s what Bernie gets for trying to play nice with a party that is probably too far gone to be saved.