Incumbent Sen. Ed Markey and U.S. Rep. Joe Kennedy are locked in a tight race for a U.S. Senate seat in Massachusetts, with less than a week to go before the Sept. 1 primary.
WBUR's Bob Oakes caught up with Markey via Zoom at his home in Malden to hear his final pitch to Massachusetts voters. You can read highlights from the conversation below.
Ed Markey: "It's my legislation which took on the oil and auto industry, which has led to an increase in the fuel economy standards of the vehicles we drive. I was able to pass the law which puts the Internet on the desk of every child in America. I'm the author of The Insider Trading [Act], which is how Wall Street's bad guys ultimately get prosecuted. And I am also — at the same time — a change agent introducing the Green New Deal with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, which has changed the whole discussion about the climate crisis in our country and around the world."
Bob Oakes: "I want to ask you about the Republican National Convention this week. The Trump campaign is mixing politics with official government business by staging key elements of the convention at the White House, including a naturalization ceremony for new citizens and the Rose Garden speech by First Lady Melania Trump. The Hatch Act, of course, prohibits the use of federal property for political purposes. What's your take on all of this and what should the Democrats do about it?"
Markey: "Look, the president is like a one-man crime wave. He can't stop. And this convention is just a further extension of that cavalier indifference to the laws in our country. It's all a part of Trump's egocentric view of the world. It's all about him. And that's why we have to ensure that we defeat him on Election Day. He has to become a one-term president."
Oakes: "The Joe Kennedy campaign accuses some of your supporters of making near-daily death threats against Kennedy. You have roundly condemned these threats. ...[But] we saw similar toxic Twitter behavior from some leftists during the Democratic presidential primary and frankly, some of them out of the Bernie Sanders campaign. Are you worried that this is somehow a new feature of so-called progressive politics?"
Markey: Well, there's a Dickensian quality to the Internet. It's the best of technology and the worst of technology simultaneously. It can enable and ennoble; it can degrade and debase. And we are all going to have to work very hard to make sure that those who use this technology to degrade and debase not just campaigns, but any aspect of American society, are fought vigorously on an ongoing basis. It's just fundamentally wrong."
Oakes: "A recent story in The Boston Globe said that your race with Congressman Kennedy has become a referendum on who's the real progressive — you or Kennedy. Do you see it that way?"
Markey: "When I co-sponsored Medicare for All with Bernie Sanders back in 2017, Congressman Kennedy waited two years to sign up for it. When he had the honor of giving the response to Donald Trump's State of the Union address, Congressman Kennedy did not even mention climate change as part of his response. ... And when he left law school and he could have worked anywhere, he decided that he would go to work for a right wing Republican district attorney on Cape Cod who believes three strikes and you're out is not strong enough. None of that is true progressive leadership."
This segment aired on August 27, 2020.