Editorial: The president's mammoth coattails

Elizabeth Warren ran an awesome, grassroots campaign — particularly in Dorchester, where she won all but two precincts against a still-popular (in many quarters) incumbent, Scott Brown.

Many people can, and will, get credit locally, led by powerhouse activist Joyce Linehan, a Ward 17 Democrat who was the first to push Warren as a possible candidate in these parts. The Democratic establishment in Boston — elected officials and labor unions—got behind Warren in a big way. And their GOTV efforts on Tuesday were impressive.

Of course, the bulk of the credit goes to Warren herself, a supremely well-qualified individual who we think will be a standout United States senator.

But any analysis of Warren’s win must begin with the impressive coattails of President Barack Obama, whose presence at the top of this ticket was the key ingredient to any viable challenge of Sen. Brown.

The president’s incredible appeal, especially to voters of color in our cities, made this Massachusetts upset more than a possibility. In fact, the president’s lopsided 23-point victory here in Massachusetts made Warren’s 8-point victory a near-certainty.

Consider Mattapan, where Obama scored a 98 percent victory over the Mitt Romney ticket, notching 10,451 votes to the GOP’s meager 209. Warren, a first-time candidate who boasted a robust ground game in Mattapan as well, tallied 10,231 votes in Mattapan — roughly 96 percent. How’s that for coattails?

In Dorchester, the president did even better than Warren— even winning two traditionally conservative precincts in Ward 16 on his way to a clean sweep and a staggering 41,000-plus vote total in the neighborhood. Warren lost two Neponset precincts – the Kenny School (16-9) and the eastern half of Florian Hall’s double-precinct (16-12). The president lost the Kenny School to McCain-Palin in ’08.

Bostonians clearly made it a point to heartily endorse the Democratic ticket in this election. Brown was hurt by the top of his ticket, which featured an unpopular resident – and former governor – of his own state who couldn’t even carry his own “home town” of Belmont. Romney also lost Michigan, his other “home” state, and failed to carry Wisconsin despite the presence of cheesehead Paul Ryan on the GOP ticket.

Voters in our communities left no doubt about it on Tuesday: They strongly endorsed our president and his impressive first-term accomplishments. And they want a senator who’ll be his partner in Washington to get things done. Fortunately, they have that senator/partner now in Elizabeth Warren.


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