The Senate race in Massachusetts will be the subject of several posts here today, but one point I want to make early and often is that one thing that the voters of Massachusetts are rebelling against is the idea that they must behave as the arrogant, unelected elites of the press tell them to. This was on display spectacularly in the interaction between the Republican candidate, Scott Brown, and Harvard Kennedy School professor David Gergen over "Teddy Kennedy's seat" in the debate. But the clip file (or what used to be called the clip file, before the Internet) is full of language that essentially deprives the voters of Massachusetts of the ability to think or act for themselves. Here are some highlights:
Daily Kos: "As we know, the Democratic primary for Senate in Massachusetts pretty much determines the ultimate winner, and that Democratic primary is today."
Talking Points Memo: "Today is a big day in Massachusetts, with voters headed to the polls in the Democratic primary for the special Senate election -- and in a heavily Democratic state, this will be tantamount to electing the successor to Ted Kennedy."
Politico had a story saying a victory in the Democratic primary "is likely tantamount to election in this solidly Democratic state."
National Public Radio's Neal Conan: "Given the political history of Massachusetts, I think we use the word tantamount here. Whoever wins the Democratic primary is tantamount to election."
And it isn't just the left-wing press making those assumptions. Here is National Review Online on December 8: "Attorney General Martha Coakley has been declared the winner of the U.S. Senate Democratic primary, all but assuring that she will fill Senator Kennedy's seat."
Ms. Coakley may yet win, but the next time journalists are tempted to claim an election has been decided by a primary, they may want to hesitate.