The Republicans are having a good year in Massachusetts. They elected a Republican Senator for the first time since the 1970s, and several (maybe as many as four) of their nominees for the House of Representatives look competitive. They have a shot at the Governor's chair too.
They might win it, but there is something interesting about the messaging in the Governor's race that could have implications for national politics going forward. The Republican nominee is a former health insurance company executive. Health insurance premiums are have been rising very quickly in Massachusetts. A lot of the anti-Baker ads have been hitting him for raising people's health insurance premiums.
This is something we are going to see a lot more of in the coming decade. Romneycare has tended to increase insurance premiums. The Massachusetts Democratic Party's response is to demonize insurance companies for the consequences of government policy. Obamacare is, in large measure, a much more poorly designed version of Romneycare and is going to cause the same kind of premium spike.
In the short-trerm it doesn't matter much. The economy is lousy enough that Baker might win anyway. Not many Republican nominees are going to be former health insurance company executives. But the important point is the need for conservatives to control the narrative on the consequences of Obamacare and never let up. To the average person, the consequences of Obamacare (which will unfold over years and years) will just seem like a bunch of stuff that happens with no obvious cause. The liberal narrative will be that the health insurance premium increases are the fault of mean insurance companies and that only heroic liberal politicians can save them with new statist initiatives. Massachusetts is a preview of how liberals will use the failures of statist health care policy to advance the cause of even more statist health care policy. And they could win.