A Few Suggestions for the Massachusetts GOP [OPINION]
The Massachusetts Republican Party needs an after-action review. The results of the 2018 election showed the party needs change.
Charlie Baker won his own campaign for a second term as the governor of the Commonwealth. The state GOP wasn't a factor, except as a pass-through for funding, in this victory. Baker neutralized the legislature as political opposition, and kept all of those local Democrat machines on the sidelines or brought them over to his camp for this election.
Gov. Baker, much like former Gov. William Weld in 1994, built his own political party for this election. He did try to help some GOP candidates, but he had his own campaign to worry about. He went out of his way to make sure he was not a Trump supporter, and it got confusing sometimes.
What should the Massachusetts Republican Party do now?
The party is controlled by the State Committee members. That body is composed of one male and one female elected member from each of the 40 state senate districts. Those 80 men and women are the backbone of the state GOP, and keep the party going on a day-to-day basis. From their website:
"The Massachusetts Republican State Committee is the governing body of the Republican Party in Massachusetts. Members of the State Committee play a key role in building the Republican Party in their districts: they recruit candidates, help with fundraising, register new voters, and grow the local Republican City and Town Committees in the district."
The party should outlaw government employees from serving on the state committee. It is illegal for government workers to raise money for political campaigns, and one of the key functions of a state committee member is to "help with fundraising" for the party and candidates. It is also difficult for a government worker to find a candidate to run against an incumbent legislator who can cut the budget and eliminate their paycheck.
The state committee should be paid for their work for the party. The job of a state committee person, when done correctly, requires lots of time. Paying state committee members a stipend of $25,000 would attract competitive people to the job, and make it possible for people to actually dedicate their time to the position. The GOP is the party of entrepreneurship, and it needs to act like the marketing and branding organization it has to be to succeed. That initial $25,000 might be just the start of what a hard-charging state committee person can earn if they hit certain metrics in their district.
The party has to bring back a campaign school like the one run by Jerry Mazzola in the 1990's to train and motivate another generation of activists. That campaign school in the back of a pizza shop on Route 1 was my basic training. I left that weekend training as knowledgeable about campaigns as I was about being an Army soldier when I left Ft. McClellan in Alabama. The campaign school gives the party a place to send its new recruits and gives them the confidence and the knowledge to work effectively in the field.
The Massachusetts GOP can't be deluded into thinking they are responsible for the re-election of Charlie Baker and they can't expect the governor to lead the state and focus on the growth of the party.
Chris McCarthy is the host of The Chris McCarthy Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 10 a.m. to noon. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @Chris_topher_Mc. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.