Donald Trump will soon be our next president, charter schools were soundly rejected, Massachusetts can now legally smoke weed, and more takeaways from an Election Night that will profoundly change the future of New England.
Who saw that coming?
Not the Republican establishment in New England, that’s for sure. Gov. Charlie Baker was against Trump from the early days of his campaign, as was former Gov. Mitt Romney. Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, caught in a tight race for reelection, hemmed and hawed about Trump’s candidacy and eventually decided not to support him. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine also rejected Trump for his “constant stream of denigrating comments.”
Of New England’s (admittedly few) Republican politicians, only Maine Gov. Paul LePage grasped Trump’s rise. The two appeared together at several rallies in Maine, and LePage stuck by the candidate even after his various fights and scandals. For that unceasing loyalty, he may land a job in Trump’s administration.
What does a Trump administration mean for Massachusetts?
In the short term, a number of familiar names could soon become part of Trump’s new administration. Along with LePage, former Sen. Scott Brown was an early Trump supporter and could be in line for a Cabinet position. Who knows what else Trump has up his sleeve? Car dealership magnate Ernie Boch Jr. in the Dept. of Transportation? Curt Schilling as press secretary? This election has been stunning enough to make you wonder.
In the long term, Trump creates an aggressive number of question marks. Will Trump seek revenge against critics like Sen. Elizabeth Warren or Gov. Charlie Baker? What would repealing Obama’s health care legislation mean for Massachusetts’s own health care marketplace? Would a Trump administration still provide federal funding for transportation plans like the Green Line extension?
New Hampshire’s Senate race isn’t over yet
As of Wednesday morning, Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan and Kelly Ayotte remained locked in a tight battle for the Senate. After more than 700,000 votes, the two candidates are separated by less than 1,000 votes.
Hassan has a slight lead at the moment with 99 percent of votes counted, and she claimed victory in a speech this morning. But Ayotte has not yet conceded, and the Secretary of State’s office has not called the election for Hassan.
No matter who wins, Republicans will still control a majority in the Senate and House, giving President-elect Donald Trump a powerful mandate for governing the country.
Stressed? Well, there’s now something legal for that.
In both Massachusetts and Maine, a majority of residents voted to legalize marijuana for recreational use. The Massachusetts ballot question passed with 54 percent in support of legalization compared to 46 percent against. Maine’s vote is much tighter, with “Yes” on legalization ahead by a 50.3 percent to 49.7 percent difference.
On Dec. 15, Massachusetts residents will be allowed to grow and possess small amounts of marijuana in the home, and retail sales of the drug will follow in 2018. The ballot question also created a 3.75 percent surtax on marijuana sales, and local jurisdictions can add another 2 percent tax to that total. Here’s more on what happens next.
The charter school question was a big dud
Despite the high-profile support of Gov. Baker, the ballot question to expand the cap on charter schools was strongly rejected by a 62-38 percent margin. That defeat was widespread across the state without much variation, and the ballot question was only supported by a majority of voters in about a dozen towns. Those few are colored green in the map below.
Combine the charter school rejection with the support of legal marijuana and Trump’s win, and you can see why The Boston Globe said this was an all-around bad election for Baker.