WBUR

Too Little, Too Late: Advocacy Groups Lament Role In Coakley Campaign

BOSTON — The reverberations of the upset win of Republican Scott Brown are being felt in Democratic-leaning advocacy groups around the country.  Many of the classic constituents of the Democratic Party are second guessing the role they played in the crucial Massachusetts Senate race.

Representatives from immigration reform, women’s rights and reproductive choice groups are among those trying to assess the impact and their responsibility for the failure of Democrat Martha Coakley. Ali Noorani, an advocate for immigration reform says he and others should have been more active in shaping Coakley’s campaign message.

“We did not articulate that immigration reform is part of the change agenda,” he said. “So the fact that this was a race that evolved around the issue of change, and Scott Brown in spite of having a long history of being anti-immigrant was able to tap into that wave. ”

Brown is against granting illegal immigrants a path to citizenship. Noorani said Brown’s win doesn’t ruin prospects for immigration reform but makes it more difficult.

Janet Murguia, president of the National Council of La Raza, shifts the blame to Coakley for not engaging Hispanics who helped elect President Obama. “My sense was it was not an energized campaign and we certainly didn’t see the outreach to the Latino community that you would have expected in order to generate the support and mobilization that could have made a difference,” she said.

Immigrant advocates say if Coakley mobilized the 13 percent of registered voters in Massachusetts who are naturalized citizens or children of immigrants,  it might have made a difference.  There are also regrets from women’s groups who say Coakley missed her chance at making history as the first female senator from Massachusetts.

National Organization of Women President Terry O’Neill, speaking from a noisy room in the Capitol, said Coakley didn’t use her gender in the race, and O’Neill wishes she had. “We made it very clear, from our perspective, in our advocacy that her gender mattered to us and was very much a plus,” she said.

In her victory speech at the primary, Coakley talked about the significance of being a female candidate, but then rarely mentioned it for the rest of the election. And despite Coakley’s attempt near the end of the race to make reproductive rights a key issue, it didn’t resonate with voters, said Cecile Richards, who heads the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

“Among the Planned Parenthood supporters, there was a lot of interest and involvement,” Richards  said. “At the end of the day, this election wasn’t about choice or reproductive rights, so many issues were trumped by really jobs and the economy and frankly even terrorism.”

But the issue that’s center stage now for Democrats is health care reform, and Mr. Obama says nothing more should happen on the bill until Sen. Scott Brown is seated.

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  • Patrick Henry

    I’m an Independent and I voted for Scott Brown specifically because he is against a path to citizenship for illegal aliens. Why do you think states with the highest populations of illegals (California, NY etc.) are on the verge of bankruptcy?

  • Thomas Amoroso

    Patrick old boy, those states have the highest percentage of undocumented immigrants because they have the most vibrant economies. They are “on the verge of bankruptcy” because of decades of poor management. In California that poor management is arguably bipartisan; in NY perhaps not so much, but blaming all of NY, CA, or America’s ills is specious at best, and bigoted at worst. Check your assumptions.

  • BoulderJR

    I voted for Obama but won’t do so again based on his push for amnesty.

  • pete

    Thomas, it isn’t necessary to be condescending and label people with names and insults. I “assume” you were on the losing side this week and that is all you have for a comeback.

    To say “California’s poor management is arguably bipartisan” when 74 of their 120 state legislatures are democrats and they have basically been in control since the 1970’s is specious at best, and ignorant at worst. “New York, perhaps not so much?” A little understating are we? New York is dominated by democrats!
    Check your facts.

  • belugajedi

    I’m an independent voter and I’m beyond furious with the crap the democrats have shoved down our throats these last 12 months. My leanings are to the left of center. If they push any type of immigration reform other than enforcing the laws that exist and making it even more difficult for law breakers – I will vote the entire republican ticket next elections. It won’t be a vote for the republicans – it will be a vote against the democrats.

  • Brittancus

    SHARP EYE ON STATE IMMIGRATION LAWS.

    Around Washington their is a ominous quiet regarding the move towards Comprehensive Immigration Reform. But we should not take this lightly and specially be on watch not just the for laws being loosened in the House and Senate, but at the State and county levels. Take note that sanctuary states like California, New Mexico are not implementing Federal laws but are arrogant enough to dismiss them. Many State assemblies have made decisions that doesn’t recognize the interests of the 15 million Americans jobless, but are as-always pandering to Special Interest groups. States across this nation will continue to tangle with the issues such as providing in-state tuition to illegal aliens, requiring businesses to run new hires through E-Verify, the local police trained to arrest illegal aliens under the 287 (g) law, flash ICE raids on nonconforming businesses and implementing the REAL ID compliant drivers licensing among other enforcement issues. Indiana began work this week on a new bill that would require state and local government agencies to use E-Verify.

    Now is the time to make E-Verify a permanent, fully funded mandated operation for every business in America. NUMBERSUSA, a anti-illegal immigrant, pro-sovereignty organisation will be alerting their members in Arizona, California, Colorado, Indiana, Michigan, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Texas and Washington in determining a number of local voting initiatives. Opponents including the devious ACORN, SEIU and even the AFL-CIO are mobilizing to promote AMNESTY for illegal aliens in different States. As this is not seen as Federal Immigration laws, State Liberal Assemblies could try to pass initiatives including In-State tuition, drivers licenses and other immigration issues. We all know that CALIFORNIA, carries the infamous stain of being the master SANCTUARY STATE, where the the governor is fighting a daily battle with almost bottomless financial crisis, caused impart by the pandering to illegal families. In the majority of cases there has been no restriction in hiring of illegal workers, free education for the children, free medical treatment in any hospital, welfare entitlements and the enormous taxpayer costs to incarcerate thousands of illegal foreign criminals. Many other states are teetering on the edge of dangerous fiscal collapse, because of the occupancy of 20 to 30 million impoverished illegal people who are being supported by taxpayers.

    IF DEMOCRATS GET THERE WAY THIS YEAR, THEY WILL FORCE UPON US ALL AN AMNESTY, THAT WILL COST ASTRONOMICAL AMOUNTS OF DOLLARS TO INITIATE? WE NEED REAL ENFORCEMENT AND THE AMERICAN PEOPLE TO SPEAK UP. Call the Washington Switchboard at 202-224-3121 and asked for your Representatives. Also call your State Senator? GET INVOLVED AND LEARN THE TRUTH AND NOT OPEN BORDER PROPAGANDA AT NUMBERSUSA AND JUDICIAL WATCH. STOP UNSUSTAINABLE OVERPOPULATION IN OUR FUTURE.

  • http://speakupandmatter.blogspot.com Kate White

    Scott Brown is not against legal immigrants. I believe he has stated very clearly he is opposed to illegal aliens (NOT immigrants, NOT undocumented workers, ILLEGAL aliens, aka criminals), the lack of enforcement of existing laws to protect US citizens from their increasing intrusion, and providing entitlement benefits and rights of citizenship for them at great expense to the legal, taxpaying citizens of Massachusetts and the nation. I agree wholeheartedly. That’s why, as a co-founder of Speak Up and Matter, we are sponsoring an online petition at http://www.gopetition.com/online/32890.html opposing Deval Patrick’s “New Americans Agenda” which threatens to do all those things, if allowed to evolve from “proposals to legislation. Please take a well-spent moment to sign the petition and protect yourselves and your families.

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