By Seth Daniel
After a shocking Election Day result that included not only a win by President Elect Donald Trump, but also a Republican sweep through the U.S. Congress and many state legislatures, Congressman Michael Capuano has been out on the trail consoling Democratic voters.
In many cases, while some are ready to figuratively jump off the Mystic/Tobin Bridge, Congressman Michael Capuano and local elected officials like State Sen. Sal DiDomenico have brought levity and a bit of reality to the situation during speaking tours. The biggest message was to calm down and give Trump a chance for the moment.
“We’re supposed to give him the benefit of the doubt,” Capuano said during a recent meeting. “He won an election. I’m not ready to think he’ll become sunshine. Maybe he will and I’ll work with him if he does. He won an election. I have to compromise. If they want to govern from the hard right, we’ll fight them all the way. We might not win many fights, but we’ll fight. We will do the best we can and look to take the House in two years. That’s all we can do.”
Capuano has spoken on several Boston radio programs and he appeared at a small meeting in Chelsea Nov. 10 – saying it’s time for Democrats to take a look in the mirror after the loss of the presidency and the Republican sweep.
“I’m not interested in convincing the nuts not to be nuts,” he said. “I’m interested in the other people who voted against their interests – the auto workers, police officers and firefighters…The battle is for the good people to see what this is. If you look at every single person on the street – especially a working class white person and say, ‘I hate you,’ then you just lost.
“Democrats need to look in the mirror and figure out who we are,” he continued. “I’m an old fashioned street politician – a street fighter. I’m not a $50,000 meeting politician where we have a discussion and all feel better. We need to be street politicians again. I think we’ve forgotten that. Democratic ideas that we celebrate came up from the bottom. That’s why results like Michigan stunned me.”
In comments last week, Sen. Sal DiDomenico said the outcome wasn’t what he had hoped for, but said it was important now to send a message and be careful how we speak.
“The events revolving around the election show our divide in this country is larger than we thought,” he said. “I caution everyone that our children are watching us and looking to us to be their leaders. When you look to gloat or complain, be careful of your tenor and how you express yourselves because the young people are looking at us.”
Capuano said Massachusetts is going to be tested, as it is now an outlier in the political mood of the country in being a Democratic dominated state. He said the House, where he serves, will not be able to do much as the Republicans have the necessary 218 votes to do most anything they want.
However, in the Senate, he said there are 40 Democratic Senators and they can make a difference in votes.
“Republicans are like a pack of dogs in that they have a leader and stick together,” he said. “Democrats are like a herd of cats. Republicans can keep 40 members together and Democrats cannot. We have to stay together now…In the House, we will lose every vote because it’s a majority. But we can set the table for those 40 Senators and give them encouragement…You have to have a long-term view of this.”
He also railed on folks who didn’t vote or chose a third party candidate.
“If this doesn’t prove elections matter, I don’t know what does,” he said. “I’d like to find every person that was too busy to vote and give them a dope slap. I’d like to find every person that voted for a third-party candidate and give them a dope slap. I’ve got my problems with Hillary Clinton. I never said she was the second coming of Christ. Only Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump could have won this election. The people who voted for other candidates – shame on them.”
Congressman Michael Capuano has been speaking to Democratic voters to calm them, and talk strategy about maneuvering in the new federal government structure.