We Are Living in Historic Times [OPINION]
Sailors know that when the wind shifts, it can mean rough seas and perhaps stormy times ahead. Politicians know the same to be true. There can be no doubt about it: the winds are shifting.
The remarkable election of Donald Trump as president in 2016 was the first overt sign that the public has had enough, and that change was on the horizon. Nowhere has that been made more clear within the last 24 hours than right here in Massachusetts. And the desire for change runs deep across party lines and ideologies.
While change is generally slow, there are signs of it all around us. Just ask U.S. Representative Michael Capuano. The 7th District, 10-term Democrat was dumped upon by left-wing Democrat Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley in one of the biggest upsets of the current national election cycle. And it wasn't even close. Pressley buried him 58.9 percent to 41.1 percent.
Pressley was the endorsed candidate of Social Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who made news with her own stunning victory over an entrenched liberal Democrat in New York in June. Pressley becomes the first African-American women ever elected to the U.S. House from Massachusetts.
Another indication was the defeat of 11th Bristol District State Representative Robert Koczera. After 30 years, the liberal Democrat who represents the North End of New Bedford and Acushnet was edged out by a newcomer, Democrat Chris Hendricks, who is even further left than Koczera. Koczera was stunned. "I've never lost before," he told reporters.
Republicans also made news in this bluest of blue states. Republican State Representative Geoff Diehl, who chaired Trump's campaign in Massachusetts, scored a decisive victory in a three-way race for the nomination to challenge Democrat U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren in November. In doing so, Diehl defeated former Mitt Romney hack Beth Lindstrom, who also managed Scott Brown's short-lived political career.
Imagine, a forever Trumper defeating a Romney hack on Charlie Baker's watch!
The results of the Massachusetts primary elections indicate that Democrats are looking for new leadership and a new direction. Diehl's victory indicates Trump's appeal with his base remains solid. Trump may actually be drawing from the pool of more moderate Democrats who have had enough of Elizabeth Warren, and are not prepared to shift as far left as the party seems to be headed, at least not yet.
The winds of change are blowing. The polarization between left and right is hardening and uncertainty looms. One thing is clear, voters on both sides of the aisle want change and have begun the process of making that happen. We are living in historic times.
Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.