Mass. Democracy: A One-Party System?29:02

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How healthy is the state of democracy in Massachusetts?

Three former Democratic House speakers are convicted felons, a state treasurer has been indicted, and a patronage scandal currently threatens to snare more Beacon Hill lawmakers.

Furthermore, a recent University of Massachusetts Amherst poll found that only 28 percent of Massachusetts residents approve of the job that the state Legislature is doing, and only one-third say the state is heading in the right direction.

However, of the 155 Democrats running for re-election, just 42 are being challenged. In fact, Massachusetts typically has the highest rate of uncontested legislative races in the entire country.

This has a lot to do with the fact that a big majority of state residents are either Democrats or independents who lean Democratic.  But if so many voters are so unhappy with state government, why do Democrats continue to enjoy a virtual electoral lock — and is it good for our democracy?


  • Mike Connolly, attorney and independent candidate for the 26th Middlesex District
  • Jeff Berry, professor of politics at Tufts University
  • John Walsh, chairman of the Massachusetts Democratic Party
  • Peter Blute, deputy chairman of the Massachusetts Republican Party

This segment aired on August 6, 2012.