Massachusetts Senator-elect Scott Brown’s victory on Tuesday over Martha Coakley suggests three important lessons for political candidates, and federal officeholders seeking re-election:
First, the most important word in 2010 for federal candidates is going to be accountability. Your pedigree won’t matter to much to voters, and no seat is “safe.” Voters want to know who you are, what you have done, and what you are going to do, going forward, to address their concerns. Candidates who don’t actively and effectively communicate these things are going to be trouble. When you’re a politician, voters are your clients. You take them for granted at your own risk. You can’t afford to be out-hustled on client service, and that’s where Coakley fell short.
Second, as important as health care reform is, in this political environment, the correct mantra for politicians to repeat continues to be “it’s the economy, stupid.” Politicians need to correctly diagnose and address voters’ immediate concerns about their finances before moving on to other concerns.
Third, no one has any clue about what’s going to happen in November. Raise your hand if you knew who Scott Brown was a year ago. However, whatever you may think of Scott Brown and his politics, the fact is, he knew who he was and what he stood for — and he did a great job of communicating that to Massachusetts voters. The lesson here is, persistence and passionate belief in a cause can overcome great odds to achieve an effective result. I can certainly relate to that, and to all of these lessons, as an attorney.