RECAP: 2018 Massachusetts Democratic Party Convention

The weekend before last, Democrats from around the state convened in Worcester for this year’s Massachusetts Democratic Party convention.

This year was a nominating convention, where the party decides which candidates will make the September primary ballot–and which will receive the party’s endorsement.

According to the Globe, more than one-fifth of this year’s delegates were first-time convention-goers, which is exciting. Both fun and a little chaotic, conventions are a great way to connect with other Democrats and to learn more about state politics.

If you weren’t able to go–and want to be a first-timer next year, the first avenue for becoming a delegate is running in your local ward or town’s caucus. Ward and town committees hold caucuses in February and March, where they elect a designated number of delegates determined by the Democratic turnout in their area (divided equally between male and female spots). In recognition of the value of diversity and the barriers that many groups face to participation, the party also has an “add-on” process for youth, minorities, individuals with disabilities, and members of the LGBTQ+ community to apply outside of the caucus process.

But back to Worcester….

On Friday night, we got to hear four impressive statewide female politicians–Senator Elizabeth Warren, Attorney General Maura Healey, Treasurer Deb Goldberg, and Auditor Suzanne Bump–speak on the importance of pushing a bold Democratic agenda — both in standing up to Trump and crafting a compelling alternative policy vision driven by core values. All four women were renominated by the party by acclamation.

An added bonus: We got to hear Boston City Councilor Lydia Edwards, whom we endorsed last year, introduce AG Healey.

The parties on Friday night are always among the highlights of the convention. The YDMA party always goes on the longest (and, as we might say humbly, is the best). A number of elected officials and candidates stopped by — the party was so big the bar actually ran out of glasses! Thanks again to Congressman Seth Moulton’s campaign for paying for the shuttle bus that helped get people there!

 

Saturday was the day for the contested races, where Jay Gonzalez and Bob Massie vied for the gubernatorial nomination, Quentin Palfrey and Jimmy Tingle vied for the LG nomination, and Bill Galvin and Josh Zakim vied for the Secretary of State nomination. In their speeches, they underscored the importance of Massachusetts fighting the plutocratic and xenophobic policies of Donald Trump — and of his ally in the Corner Office, Republican Governor Charlie Baker. Massachusetts has the opportunity to lead on progressive policy (we’ve had a history of this, you know?), but that ability will be hamstrung as long as we remain stuck with a Republican governor. Baker may critique Trump every now and again, but he cannot and will not offer the resistance and the bold agenda that we need to confront issues from climate change to inequality, from the underfunding of our schools to the underfunding of our public transit, from the burden of health care costs to the burdens imposed by systemic racism and xenophobic immigration policy. Massachusetts can, and must, do better, and we were able to hear some compelling examples of how.

In a three-, four-, or five-person race, the possibility of a second ballot exists, but with all three races just head-to-heads, a winner would emerge after the first ballot. Jay Gonzalez won the party’s gubernatorial endorsement with 70%, Quentin Palfrey won the party’s LG endorsement with 59% of the vote, and Josh Zakim won the party’s Secretary of State endorsement with 55% of the vote (which marked the first loss for an incumbent at convention in over 30 years).

All candidates will advance to the primary on Tuesday, September 4th, so mark your calendars! (And don’t forget to mark Tuesday, November 6th — the general election date — as well!) Voting is a fundamental democratic and Democratic value.

Want to watch the convention speeches (including YDMA president Rebecca Pinn’s introduction to Congressman Jim McGovern) yourself? You can here!