Woke Purity Tests Are Hurting Democratic Party and Working People, Democratic State Rep Candidate Says

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2021/02/26/woke-purity-tests-are-hurting-democratic-party-and-working-people-democratic-state-rep-candidate-says/

A Democratic candidate for Massachusetts state representative under fire for expressing occasional right-of-center views says left-wing intolerance is hurting the Democratic Party and many of the people the party has traditionally served.

Jeff Turco, locked in a spirited four-way race for the Democratic nomination to succeed former Massachusetts House Speaker Robert DeLeo north of Boston, made the comments near the end of an online forum Thursday night hosted by State House News Service.

Another candidate, Juan Jaramillo, a Service Employees International Union official and former legislative aide on Beacon Hill, pointed out that Bernie Sanders carried the Nineteenth Suffolk District – which includes all of Winthrop and parts of eastern and central Revere – in the 2020 presidential primary. He said the district is moving left, and that Turco “does not represent the values of this district.”

Turco said that analysis misses the mark. (His comments begin at 1:11:16 of the forum video posted on Facebook by State House News Service.)

Turco said:


I’d point out that the Democratic Party registration, as a percentage of the total vote population in the state, registered voters, has continued to drop. In the last three years, the number of unenrolled voters, according to the Secretary of Commonwealth’s web site, is up by 300,000 people.

The divisive politics advocated by some of the people in hate campaigns are pushing working-class Democrats out of this party. They’re saying “We have an ideological purity test — where John F. Kennedy Democrats, middle-of-the-road Democrats, plumbers, electricians, carpenters – we don’t want you in the party. You know, we want you go to become unenrolled. Because if you don’t take the ideological purity test that is advocated by at least some of these candidates, in this race – you know, it’s devastating to this district.

And it’s easy to say, “Well, who won the vote in the Democratic primary?” But look at the number of people in this district that are unenrolled. It’s startling.

And we need to bring those people back to our party. That’s their home. And they’ve left us, because we’ve taken extreme positions. And that’s what I look forward to being — the standard bearer for the John F. Kennedy Democrat in this area.


Democrats dominate politics in Massachusetts. Yet their numbers are down in recent years.

Figures from the Massachusetts Secretary of State’s web site show that the number of unenrolled voters in the state has grown from 2,424,979 in February 2017 to 2,717,293 in February 2021 – or 292,314 over the past four years.

The number of registered Democrats declined during those years, from 1,526,870 in February 2017 to 1,494,980 in February 2021, a loss of 31,890. Democrats went from 34.0 percent of all registered voters in February 2017 to 31.6 percent in February 2021.

Turco calls himself a “moderate Democrat.” During the forum he said he has worked for Democratic candidates for decades, that he has served on state and town Democratic committees, that he voted for Amy Klobuchar in the 2020 presidential primary in Massachusetts, and that he voted for Joe Biden in the November 2020 presidential election.

Critics on the left point to online postings suggesting he voted for Donald Trump in 2016 and that he has expressed support for the unborn. NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts calls him “a Trump supporter who spreads radical anti-abortion rhetoric.”

All three of the other Democrats in the race take positions on the left of the Democratic Party in Massachusetts on abortion, climate change, immigration, government services, and taxes, among other things.

Jaramillo repeatedly criticized Turco during the forum.

“He mocked the mask mandate. He also, in 2017, said something about how he was going to continue to support Donald Trump,” Jaramillo said of Turco.

Jaramillo’s campaign web site calls out Turco for expressing reservations about the proposed Sanctuary City bill in the state Legislature, for posting online under a hashtag #christianlivesmatter, and for mocking vegetarians, among other things. The site also offers evidence of Turco’s past support for Trump.

During a previous online forum, Turco fielded a question from a moderator about why he sends his six children to Roman Catholic schools “if you fully support the school systems.”

The other candidates in the race are Winthrop resident Alicia DelVento, a former state legislative aide who has been endorsed by the pro-abortion EMILY’s List; and Valentino Capobianco, a Winthrop School Committee member and former legislative aide. Capobianco was initially endorsed by Maura Healey, the Massachusetts Attorney General, and by former Congressman Joseph P. Kennedy III, but lost the endorsements after a report of past scandalous sexual misconduct (which he denies) was published earlier this week.

The Democratic primary is scheduled for Tuesday, March 2.