Nine Top Moments For Conservatives In Massachusetts In 2020

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In many respects, 2020 was not a good year in the United States, or Massachusetts for that matter.

The coronavirus has killed hundreds of thousands of Americans. Government responses to the pandemic have killed jobs and permanently shuttered businesses. Liberal and progressive Democrats swept the Congressional races and maintained their supermajority in the Massachusetts State House; those lefties even passed the ROE Act.

However, in these dark times, there were at least a few bright spots for the conservative movement in the state in 2020. Here is a look at some of them:


1. Standing Up For Freedom of Religion

Massachusetts Republican governor Charlie Baker showed little respect for the First Amendment during the coronavirus shutdown, preventing churches from having in-person services.

Adams Square Baptist Church Pastor Kris Casey, however, stood strong and defied the governor’s order. He held socially-distanced church services, rejected fines he was hit with, and filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the governor. He stood up to the governor and the city of Worcester — and eventually he won. Church services are widespread now, largely because of him.


2.  Standing Up For the Second Amendment

John Costa, owner of The Gunrunner in Middleborough, stood up for the Second Amendment during the coronavirus shutdowns. Even though Governor Baker ordered gunshops to close, Costa refused to close his business, taking a stand for gun rights in one of the least gun-friendly states in America.

Fortunately, the Middleborough Police largely left Costa alone, and in early May, a federal court ruling allowed gun shops to re-open. The judge, incidentally, questioned why state officials didn’t even bother to provide a reason for they did.


3.  Bill Weld Decimated

Former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld probably didn’t think he had any chance at defeating President Donald Trump in the 2020 Republican primary, but he thought he could garner some support in some of the open primary states, including his home state of Massachusetts.

Weld, a liberal Republican, labeled Trump a RINO and compared him to Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini. He even told a New Boston Post reporter that Trump had fascist tendencies last winter. Meanwhile, Weld supports legal abortion, affirmative action, and has described himself as a “rabid liberal” on immigration.

Whether or not you like Trump, there was something satisfying about watching Weld get 9.3 percent of the vote in the Massachusetts Republican primary in a low turnout election. He only got 25,425 votes while Trump got 87 percent (239,115 votes).

But then again, a lot of Weld-friendly voters probably took a Democratic ballot.


4.  Homeschooling Surge

The coronavirus has been terrible for our country, but at least it’s causing more people to leave public schools.

The homeschool population in Massachusetts has significantly increased this school year, as New Boston Post reported in November.  In all, 7,188 students transferred to homeschooling, up from 820, 805, and 802 transfers over the previous three years.

Meanwhile, public school enrollment dropped by 3.9 percent. Good. The last thing we need is more kids learning about the 1619 project and other left-wing propaganda.


5.  Libertarian Party Loses Ballot Access

Conservatives likely have mixed feelings about libertarians, but the Libertarian Party itself is a different entity.

Election night didn’t go the way most conservatives wanted, but at least it went much worse for the Libertarian Party. One of the most overlooked aspects of the election is that the LP failed to receive 3 percent of the vote in Massachusetts. Therefore, it is no longer an official party in the state.

To achieve official party status, a party must have a candidate run for statewide office and receive at least 3 percent of the vote. That also gives the party the right to have an official statewide primary in the next election cycle. Libertarian Party candidate Jo Jorgensen was the only Libertarian Party candidate to run statewide in 2020, and she got 1.3 percent of the vote in November.

The downside to the Libertarian Party is that it sometimes takes votes away from more conservative candidates. The party will probably run candidates in 2022 for positions like State Auditor and State Treasurer to try to regain official party status, but at least it will be more difficult now.

Sadly, the Green-Rainbow Party also lost its official party status. That’s a party conservatives should want to see grow because it eats up some of the liberal, progressive, and socialist vote.

If a candidate runs under the moniker America First, then a third party would be interesting. But the Green-Rainbow Party and Libertarian Party are not that, so no thank you to them. 


6.  Beating Ranked-Choice Voting

Massachusetts voters made the right decision at the ballot box in November when they rejected ranked-choice voting. It’s a confusing system where people can rank their preferred candidates in order of preference. 

Here is how New Boston Post described the RCV system this past fall:

In ranked-choice voting, if a candidate receives more than half of the first-place votes, that candidate wins the election — just as with the current system of first-past-the-post.

However, if no candidate receives more than half of the votes, then the bottom candidate is eliminated, and the second-choice selections of voters who picked that candidate first are distributed to the remaining candidates. Election officials add the first-place votes and the second-choice selections for each candidate together.

If more than two candidates survive the elimination, then the second-from-the-bottom candidate is eliminated, and the second-choice selections of voters for that candidate are distributed among the surviving candidates. If the second-choice selections are for a candidate who has already been eliminated, then the candidate’s voters’ third-choice selections are distributed to the remaining candidates — and so on. This process repeats until there are only two candidates remaining, at which time the candidate with the higher number is declared the winner.


The side that supported ranked-choice voting had about $10 million in funding, largely from out-of-state donors, as New Boston Post previously reported. It also had the backing of many Bay State politicians, including former governors Deval Patrick and Bill Weld, current U.S. senators Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren, and Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey.

Meanwhile, the opposition, spearheaded by people like Paul Craney of the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance and Anthony Amore, among others, raised about $5,000.  MassFiscal wrote the argument against Ranked Choice Votind in the Massachusetts Information For Voters booklet. The voters did the rest.

The fact is that entrenched politicians wouldn’t support this idea if it were some serious electoral reform that would shake up the system. It isn’t. Most of the supporters are left-wingers, in part because they figure it would help elected more left-wing candidates.

Nor it is a boon for democracy. A system where someone’s eighth choice could count as much as your first choice is a dumb way to pick a winner.


7.  Candidates Elected, Old And New

It’s a shame that state Senator Dean Tran (R-Fitchburg) lost his re-election bid, as did state Representative Will Crocker (R-Barnstable). But for an election year, conservatives in this state minimized their losses, especially in some of these open races.

State Representative Dave DeCoste (R-Norwell) survived a tight race decided by fewer than 400 votes. Jared Valanzola, a pro-life Catholic from Rockland, kept the Plymouth County Commission Republican as Dan Pallotta of Hanover did not run for re-election. And we will see if state representative-elects Steven Xiarhos of Yarmouth and Kelly Pease of Westfield are friends to the conservative movement. Their campaigns did not express much detail on policy, but we will find out eventually where they stand on the issues.


8.  Watering Down the ROE Act

Yes, it’s horrible that the ROE Act abortion expansion bill passed, and both state Representative James Kelcourse (R-Amesbury) and state Representative Susannah Whipps (U-Athol) deserve to lose their jobs for voting in favor of it. However, the work of pro-life activists and organizations like Massachusetts Citizens for Life and the Massachusetts Family Institute helped prevent it from being worse.

The version of the ROE Act that passed, although terrible, is not the original version of the ROE Act (S.1209/H.3320) — a bill that never received a vote out of committee.

That initial version of the ROE Act would have eliminated parental consent entirely, not just for 16-year-old and 17-year-old girls but also for girls of any age. It would have allowed late-term abortions to take place in clinics that lacked the equipment necessary to save the life of both the woman and a baby if born alive after an attempted abortion. It also would have increased taxpayer-funding for abortion.

And as MassFamily pointed out in a recent email, the pro-life movement in Massachusetts has prevented the state from eliminating statewide reporting requirements, so at least we may get facts and stats on the total number of abortions in the state — including racial disparities.


9.  Occupational Licensing Reform

There aren’t many good policies that come out of the Massachusetts legislature, but at least socialist state Representative Nika Elugardo (D-Jamaica Plain) got something good done — modeled after something proposed by state Senator Ryan Fattman (R-Webster). 

Elugardo put an amendment into the state budget that means that natural hair braiding will no longer be a licensed occupation in Massachusetts. Up until now, women who wanted to braid hair had to go to 1,000 hours of cosmetology school — despite the fact that cosmetology schools don’t even teach the subject.

Fattman proposed the same thing as a standalone bill in the Senate, so it’s nice to see both sides of the aisle come together to knock down a regressive barrier to entry to the labor market.