Who Will Oppose Sen. Markey in the Democrat Primary? [OPINION]
The people who pay attention to public affairs and constantly think about the future are paying attention and thinking about who will be our next senator.
Massachusetts Senator Edward Markey is up for re-election in 2020. He is up in a presidential year, and that favors Democrats in liberal states like Massachusetts and New York in the same way it favors Republicans in conservative states like Wyoming and Alabama.
As of now, the action for the next U.S. Senator from Massachusetts will be at the Massachusetts Democrat Party Convention, and in their September primary election.
Senator Markey has a reputation and a legislative history to be proud of and to run on in 2020. He served honorably in the military, graduated from Boston College and Boston College Law School, and served as a state legislator from Malden. He was elected to Congress in 1976 and served in the House for 37 years.
In 2013, he was elected to the U.S. Senate when Sen. John Kerry became Secretary of State. Markey, as a member of Congress, worked on improving telecommunications long before anybody used that word. He grew up in the world of local phone monopolies, long distance phone charges between neighboring cities and towns, and rotary phones mounted on kitchen walls.
The household arguments about who could use the phone next were often more interesting than the conversation going on over the wall-mounted phone owned and operated by the local phone monopoly. Meanwhile, the person who had to pay the phone bill every month was listening to his family and wondering if "Who shot JR?" and "This is how the Patriots can beat the Bears in the Super Bowl" were actually worth the money.
Those days are over, and our lives are better for it. I remember the days before the Telecommunications Act of 1996. But do enough people remember paying the phone company to talk to a kid you went to high school with and every day, but was considered "long distance" according to the monopoly?
Markey deserves credit for embracing competition and the free market in this case, and improving the quality of life of Americans.
"Competition remains Senator Markey’s economic mantra–in his words, “ruthless Darwinian competition that would bring a smile to Adam Smith.” He has been instrumental in breaking up anti-consumer, anti-innovative monopolies in electricity, long-distance and local telephone service, cable television, and international satellite services. He was one of the only members of the House Commerce Committee to fight AT&T’s monopoly in the early 1980s and is a principal author of the requirement that the Bell Operating companies accept local telephone service in the 1990s. His pro-competition policies have directly benefited job creation in Massachusetts and throughout the country."
But that was then, and this is now. Sadly, people don't vote to say "thank you" anymore, according to recent Democrat primaries. Long-term Democrat incumbents have a history of accomplishments, but many of their constituents don't possess a knowledge of history or a desire to learn and appreciate history.
Senator Markey is 76 years old. He is also a white male. There is a large segment of the Democrat Party that is now outspokenly opposed to having "old white men" in power. Condemning a person for their age and race is disgusting. Dismissing a person's hard work and accomplishments because of the color of their skin is pure ignorance, and reflects poorly on the accuser rather than the victim. Accusing a person of being useless because of their advanced age is infantile.
There now exists a powerful segment within the Democrat Party that subscribes to a conspiracy theory that blames all societal ills on "old white men." Like other racist conspiracy theories, the situations change, but the scapegoat stays the same. "Not happy with your lot in life, blame ___________" is a wildly successful strategy with some people who are frustrated and mentally vulnerable at that moment.
Letters to the editor, like callers to talk radio, are important because they represent the thinking of others who won't express their opinion in writing or voice, but who will at the ballot box.
Here is a portion of a letter to the editor in the Berkshire Eagle, a mainstream daily newspaper in western Massachusets, as an example of the passion and hatred towards "old white men" in some quarters:
"Imagine if 30 million women went to Washington and said, in one voice, enough is enough with all you disgusting rich old white men destroying our country and the rest of this earth for the sake of your greed and lust and selfishness. Enough of your plundering of our treasures and killing our loved ones and destroying the planet that we are leaving for our children. Enough! Trump, get out! McConnell, get out! Grassley, get out! And take all the other Republicans with you." This was published on September 2, 2018.
There will be Democrats who to challenge Sen. Markey in 2020. The course those candidates take and their message in the primary will tell you more about how they think about their fellow Democrats' motivations and the American people than anything else they will say during the election.
It may be time to replace Sen. Edward Markey, but not because of the color of his skin, the church he worships at, or his years on our planet.
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.