Virus a seismic event for local campaigning
By JOSH RESNEK
When Napoleon was defeated by the Duke of Wellington at Waterloo in an epic battle that ended Napoleon’s career in 1815, the rain was to blame.
The battlefield was made into a muddy mess by days of rain, a situation that put Napoleon’s massive advantage in numbers to a test.
He could not unhinge him- self from his inability to move his troops, cavalry and artillery, in the mud to surround the British-Dutch forces who ultimately sent him into exile after destroying his army.
Here in Everett, and everywhere in Massachusetts where political campaigning is about going door to door, campaigning is changing before our eyes.
In the rep race, Mike McLaughlin will officially be facing the incumbent who filed all his signatures earlier this week.
Their race will be a test of the new normal.
For his part, McLaughlin has called off his campaign.
He has been seen all over the city helping out constituents personally, delivering food, aiding the elderly, getting out and about, and especially so at food pantries.
The rep has not been seen. He has not attended a variety of Zoom meetings that McLaughlin has attended during the height of the virus crisis.
McLaughlin’s specialty has been to go door to door across the city, maybe two or three times, to achieve final victory. It is unlikely McLaughlin, or anyone else for that matter, will be going door to door across the city anytime soon as a result of the new normal.
Campaigning in Everett will become, out of necessity, a high stakes Internet game.
Everyone running will be at the same disadvantage this election coming up and highly likely in the next few elections to follow.
Fund raising is another dilemma for local candidates and especially the cash hungry mayor.
The mayor, whose need for cash is incessant to pay for his criminal lawyers, will not be having a fundraiser anytime soon at the Encore Casino and Hotel at $500 a head.
The mayor, like everyone else, will need to tailor his fundraising efforts to what the market will bear.
Perhaps he will do Zoom fundraisers or some Internet equivalent of that.
Maybe, maybe not.
But this is certain, the day of crowded fundraisers in closed environments inside are as gone as the horse and buggy in this new era dawning upon all of us right now.
What comes down two or three years from now is hard to know.
Fundraising is now a near to impossible effort.
Even campaigning is a problem in this era of the virus. Residents are far more concerned with their health and well-being than political activities these days.
This puts incumbents and the hopeful running against them into the same situation across the board.
Gathering votes has just been made a great deal more difficult.
Grabbing supporter funds is not different a situation.
Also, for incumbents like the mayor who are likely facing the need to make job layoffs of rather considerable size, there is the harsh fact of the matter that everyone the mayor lays off will not be voting for him the next time around.
This includes not only the individual laid off but all of his voting family members.
The same will be true for his supporters who work for the public schools which may also have to cut many local employees who will blame the mayor for the loss of their jobs.
For mayoral hopefuls Councilors Fred Capone, Gerly Adrien and Mike Marchese, layoffs made by the mayor to meet the city’s budget needs will naturally level the playing field for them if they seek the corner office.
The same is true across the board for the local political scene at large.
The virus has been a seismic event.
It has changed the normal parameters of the local political battlefield.
Everyone must adapt, and adapt quickly especially incumbents, or like Napoleon defeated at Waterloo by the rain and mud, virus and its result on the voting population will take everyone down.
The mayor’s future in such a changed scenario remains a question in his own mind with the budget season upon him.