Democratic nominee Katherine Clark and Republican nominee Frank Addivinola spent a substantial portion of their only televised debate sparring over privacy and surveillance. It has been great to see these issues playing such an important role in a Congressional campaign. However, there have been two less good outcomes, independent of who wins. First, it’s still not clear that either the Republican or the Democratic candidate will be skeptical enough about the claims of law enforcement and the intelligence agencies. Second, given that that’s so, it is unfortunate that the debate excluded the voices of the two independent candidates, Jim Aulenti and Jim Hall.
Here’s a transcript of the relevant section of the NECN debate, which is no longer available online. Our comments and fact-checking are in italics, and any significant commitments made by the candidates are in bold.
It’s hard out there for third-party and independent candidates. In a more open political system, they would be able to compete on a level playing field with the Democratic and Republican nominees. In practice, there are high campaign finance and procedural hurdles before such candidates even get on the ballot, and even if they clear those high hurdles, they still find themselves treated as somehow less legitimate than the Democrats or Republicans. Now, Jim Braude‘s NECN show “Broadside” is hosting a candidates’ debate tomorrow night, and Braude has declared that only two candidates are welcome, saying:
The party candidates went through the primary process and were chosen by the electorate, and having more people would not do justice to the cause or those party candidates.
What, they couldn’t find an extra podium? I seem to recall that the 2012 Republican primary had almost as many candidates as Jesus had disciples, and they still figured it out. Would having four candidates break the cameras over at NECN?
UPDATE: To reflect substantive changes in information received from the Addivinola campaign, the title of this article and portions of the analysis have been changed to more accurately reflect Councillor Addivinola’s positions.
We gave the same questionnaire to all seven Democratic primary candidates, but the strongest opponents of government surveillance (Long, Sciortino and Spilka) did not make it through the primary. Here are the results for the remaining two candidates.
In a seven-way primary with an all-star cast, Sen. Katherine Clarkwon the nomination for Democratic candidate for the U. S. House in my own district of MA-5, one of the most Democratic districts in the nation (D+22).
She now faces Boston resident Frank Addivinola in the general, but it would essentially take a meteor strike for her to not head to Congress.
Here in the heavily Democratic Fifth District of Massachusetts, we know that the winner of October 15th’s Democratic primary will reliably win the general and go to Congress. The seat was last open almost 40 years ago. Bearing that in mind, we at Digital Fourth thought it pretty important to assess the Democratic candidates’ positions on the hot issue of surveillance, while the district’s registered Democrats still have a chance to affect the outcome.
We sent a standard questionnaire to all seven candidates running in the primary. We asked about whether the candidate supported requiring warrants for searches of digital data (ECPA reform); whether they would defund the “fusion centers” that capture data and generate reports on peaceful activists; whether they support the Mass. Attorney-General and Senator Clark’s proposal to expand electronic wiretapping; whether they would vote for the Amash-Conyers Amendment reining in the NSA; and finally, whether they would support Rep. Rush Holt (D-PA)’s “Surveillance State Repeal Act”, which would repeal the PATRIOT Act and the FISA Amendments Act and provide protection for government whistleblowers.
All except Sen. Karen Spilka and Mr. Paul John Maisano were kind enough to respond in detail, and we have done our best to reconstruct the positions of these two candidates from past votes and public statements.
UPDATE: Sen. Spilka has provided answers to the questionnaire that place her in equal first place on surveillance, along with Rep. Carl Sciortino and Mr. Martin Long.
So, for your reading pleasure, here’s the Surveillance Voter’s Guide to The Democratic Field in MA-5!