Since the 1930’s Massachusetts has been one of the most heavily Democratic states in America. As a matter of fact, since 1928 the state of Massachusetts has only voted for two Republican Presidential candidates, Dwight Eisenhower in the 1952 & 1956 and Ronald Reagan in 1980 & 1984. To be fair though, Reagan’s elections were two of the largest electoral landslides in the history of the United States. In 1980 Reagan won his first election over incumbent Jimmy Carter by 440 electoral votes, again in 1984 Reagan won in the largest presidential landslide ever, winning the support of 49 states and only losing Minnesota to Democratic challenger Walter Mondale (his home state) by 3,700 votes. Aside from that however, is the fact that Massachusetts has not elected a Republican to a full term in the Senate since 1972, a year surprisingly in which they were the only state to vote for Democratic Presidential hopeful George McGovern. But now in 2018, voters are leaving the Democratic party behind in Massachusetts, proving that the party of JFK is no more, and that Massachusetts is not a Liberal state.
To understand just how many voters are leaving the Democratic party in Massachusetts, we need to look at some numbers from Elizabeth Warren’s 2012 Senate victory. Particularly, we need to separate her voters by county and look at the difference between 2012 and 2018 in voter registration.
I’m going to start off with Bristol County, which features large cities such as Attleboro, Dartmouth, Fall River, New Bedford and Taunton, along with 15 smaller towns. In 2012 Bristol County had 352,000 registered voters, 35.8% of which were registered as Democrats. Despite a growth of over 6,300 votes throughout the county since 2012, the number of Democratic voters has decreased by 10,500, and the percentage of Democratic voters across the county is down from 35.8% to 32.25%. While a 3.55% decrease may seem small, consider that every single town in Bristol County has a lower percentage of Democratic voters now than they had in 2012, led by highly Democratic Fall River and New Bedford which have had a 6% and 4.6% decrease in Democratic voters respectively.
Moving on to the next case of Democratic losses, Essex County is the third largest county in Massachusetts by number of registered voters. Although Essex county does not make as strong of a case as Bristol County for the departure of Democrats across the Commonwealth, there are a few glaring numbers to be seen. One of the most telling numbers is that out of the 12 towns in Essex County with at least 20,000 voters, 10 towns have seen a decrease in the percentage of Democratic voters compared to 2012. Methuen and Peabody are the two towns showing big decreases in Democratic votership, with both towns being down 3.2% in Democratic registration. Methuen and Peabody also make up just under 14% of voters in Essex County as they have the 4th & 5th highest voter registration in the county of 34 towns. Another town of note in Essex County is Saugus, which has had a 5.6% increase in voter registration since 2012 but a 3.7% decrease in Democratic voters.
Hampden County is one of the most Democratic Counties in Massachusetts, mostly since the city of Springfield makes up 33% of the total voters in the county and is 51% Democratic. Even Springfield however has lost 2.5% of their Democratic base, despite jumping 10% in voter registration since 2012. Springfield isn’t the only town in Hampden County with this problem though, as all 10 towns with over 10,000 voters have a lower percentage of Democratic voters since 2012, most towns have decreased by over 4%. Across the county, Democratic registration is down 1.5% total.
Middlesex county is the largest county by number of registered voters and they have seen much of the same problems as the other counties listed above. Despite gaining over 35,000 voters since 2012, there are now nearly 2,000 fewer registered Democrats in the county. Lowell provides the most trouble for Democrats as despite a massive 19% increase in registered voters, Democrats now make up over 2% less of the voters in the city. Many other towns such as Billerica, Burlington, Dracut and Waltham are facing the same problems.
In Norfolk County, all but one town have a lower percentage of registered Democrats since 2012. And despite gaining 7,500 voters across the county, there are now 5,600 fewer registered Democrats. The biggest problem for Democrats in Norfolk County is that in the city of Brookline, the most Democratic city in the county with 48% of their voters being Democrats, total voter registration is down 11% since 2012. Quincy, the largest city in Norfolk County has also seen a near 6% decrease in voter registration since 2012. For comparison, Quincy and Brookline made up over 22% of the total voters in Norfolk County in 2012, now they make up just over 20% of the total voters in the county. The combined Democratic registration between the two cities has also dropped 3%.
Plymouth County features 27 towns, 24 of which have seen an increase in voter registration since 2012. However, all 24 of those towns have either seen a decrease in the total number of Democratic registrations or have not seen movement at all amongst their Democratic base. Plymouth, the second largest town in the county has seen a 3.1% increase in total voters, but a 3.2% decrease in total Democratic voters. Across the entire county, nearly 3,400 Democratic voters have been lost, despite a 3.5% increase (11,600) in total voter registration.
Suffolk County voted 73% Democrat in the 2012 Senate election and 77% Democrat in the Presidential election that year as well, making it the most Democratic county in Massachusetts. However, since 2012 Suffolk County’s Democratic registration is down 2.4%. That may not seem like a large number but when considering that total voter registration is up 8.3% and Suffolk County is where the city of Boston is located, 2.4% is significant. Boston has lost 2.2% Democratic registration and Revere has lost 4% Democratic registration. Both cities have been historically Democratic, and while Boston is still just over 50% Democratic, Revere has fallen to just above 40%.
The final case to be made for the loss of Democratic voters in Massachusetts is Worcester County. Worcester County has lost over 2% of Democratic registration despite a 3% increase in total registration. In 2012 Worcester County voted in favor of Republican Scott Brown by 31,600 votes, since then they’ve lost an additional 6,100 Democratic voters. Even the largest city in the county, the city of Worcester with over 100,000 voters, has lost 2% of their Democratic base. Worcester was the most Democratic city in the county during the 2012 Senate election, voting 62% Democrat. Other towns worth noting are Fitchburg, Gardner, Leominster and Shrewsbury which have all lost between 2-4% of their Democratic base.
The loss of Democratic voters in Massachusetts shows that voters do not support Elizabeth Warren or her Liberal agenda. Democrats in Massachusetts feel abandoned by their Liberal senator and for good reason, Warren has failed to deliver on every promise she gave to her state and has not been seen around the commonwealth in months. Warren does not care about her constituents and her constituents are turning their back on her as well. Despite Massachusetts being a Democratic state for a long time, they are proving they are anything but Liberal. Moderate Democrats from the Kennedy and Reagan eras ruled the party in Massachusetts for decades, and now those voters are becoming independent and Republican. The shift in ideology among the Democratic party has caused the shift in voter registration. Massachusetts is not a Liberal state.