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The Various Fates For Scott Brown

Tom Schaller of FiveThirtyEight.com lists three possible futures for newly-elected Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown:
1. Scott Brown, fleeting placeholder and short-term hero. He’s the flavor of the month, disappears out of view into the Senate, loses in 2012 when the Democrats have a credible and aggressive candidate running in a presidential cycle.

2. Scott Brown, long-time Senate partisan anomaly. Brown wins re-election in 2012, emerges as a Republican cornerstone in the Senate in a state where his party normally fares poorly. (Think retiring Sen. Byron Dorgan.)

3. Scott Brown, rising star in a party desperate for fresh faces. Not quite Sarah Palin superstardom, but Brown is immediately elevated to role of GOP icon—a party savior, the guy the GOP sends around to raise money and stump for other Republicans, and so forth.
Schaller goes on to explain why he thinks that Number Three is the likely future for Brown. I'm not so sure.

I think that, while Scott Brown won handily last evening, he does not fit the typical mold of a Senator from The Bay State. I'm not saying that the People were wrong in voting him into office, I'm merely pointing out that Brown will very likely have a tough re-election campaign in 2012. You know, when Democrats run a more viable candidate and a less bumbling campaign.

However, there is the argument to made that Brown could be a long-term Senator who bucks 'traditional' ideology in a state. For starters, Massachusetts is become less 'traditionally liberal'. Bonnie Erbe' points out that...
...there are plenty of liberals in the state, but they are outnumbered by blue-collar voters and conservative Catholics. According to the Massachusetts Secretary of State, voter registration breaks down as follows: There are 1.6 million registered Democrats, 490,000 registered Republicans and 2.1 million Independents or registered voters who don't affiliate with either party.

The fact that independents now outnumber Democrats and Republicans combined should serve as a starburst of information to partisan operatives that Massachusetts is no longer reliably Democratic in any way, shape or form. It is most reliably independent. And while President Obama won the state in '08, his support among independents is the voting bloc that is deserting him more quickly than any other. That for two reasons: independents tell pollsters they don't like his massive spending and they don't support the Democratic approach to health care reform.
I suppose that I'm leaning toward the "Scott Brown, long-time Senate partisan anomaly" option. Although, things could always end up differently.

What do you think?

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Photo: Winslow Townson/AP