Massachusetts has been called a "key state" in the election. It isn't. Since 1928, the state has gone solidly Democratic in all Presidential elections, and this year, with Democrats far outnumbering Republicans, there is no indication the balance will shift. Even a few Republicans are willing to admit, at least privately, some unhappy realities: the incumbent Democratic Governor, Paul A. Dever, has managed to build a massive and efficient machine; his opponent, Representative Christian A. Herter '15, lacks the color and personal appeal to buck this machine; the Republican State Committee is virtually penniless; and the Democratic candidate for Senator, John F. Kennedy '40, has been campaigning vigorously since last spring while his opponent, Senator Henry Cabot Lodge '37, was busy persuading General Eisenhower to run.
Most political observers expect Governor Dever to carry the state by at least 150,000 votes for a third two-year term. Even the arch-Republican Boston Traveler, on the basis of its own polls, reluctantly admits that Dever will win almost every major city in the state, and thereby offset any Republican rural vote. But few hazard predictions on the Kennedy-Lodge contest. The youthful, touseled-haired Kennedy is a highly effective campaigner, but Lodge has shown surprising strength at unexpected moments. Kennedy has attached himself to Dever's ample coat-tails, and by this, expects to slip into office.
In the gubernatorial contest, Congressman Herter has conducted a colorless, unenthusiastic campaign so far. Essentially a reserved person, he is no platform match for the pontificating Dever. While in Congress, Herter established a commendable record as a leader of the Republican internationalists, but now has found that foreign policy votes mean nothing in the campaign. And other aspects of Herter's voting record have proven detrimental. Dever researchers have combed through all of Herter's unimpressive votes on labor legislation, listed them in mimeographed press releases and pamphlets, and labor has reciprocated with complete endorsement of Governor Dever.
Financially Herter is far behind Dever. Neither he nor the Republican State Committee can afford the lavish posters and full-page newspaper advertisements Dever is using. So far, Herter has managed to counter with slushy soap-box radio commercials on local stations. The commercials have a simple plot: a wife complains to her husband about corruption in the state administration, wails "why did I vote for him in 1950," and together husband and wife sobbingly declare they will "vote this time for Chris Herter."
Dever and Herter are two extraordinarily dissimilar men. Born in Paris, Herter served as an attache in the U. S. Legation in Berlin during the first World War, and later became a personal assistant to Herbert Hoover in Belgium. In 1931, he ran for, and won, a seat in the Massachusetts House of Representatives, later became Speaker of the House, and finally was elected to Congress from a strong Republican district.
One of seven children, Dever was born in Boston; almost his entire family, uncles and aunts, cousins and nephews were involved one way or another in politics. In 1934, at the age of 31, he was elected Attorney General--the youngest in the state's history. He scaled the political ladder by religiously following the party line. He ran for Governor in 1948 and was elected by almost 390,000 votes.
Dever's record as Governor has not been the best. An easy-going person, he has tolerated much wastefulness, laziness, and at times outright corruption in the state administration. Much of the waste has come from the very act of building his machine; to make more voters happy, he must provide more jobs, and this is possible only by straining the budget.
Yet despite this, Herter has not been able to attack Dever effectively. For every charge Herter makes, Dever has a cancelling answer ready. Herter has managed to keep Dever on the defensive though, to the dismay of Dever's campaign managers who want Dever to take the initiative and attack Herter's own record. In the end, it probably will not make any difference because the Dever machine functions smoothest during a Presidential election year. Besides, Herter is a nonentity compared with the formidable opponent Dever is preparing to battle two years hence--Republican Senator Leverett Saltonstall '14.
The Lodge-Kennedy Senatorial duel is far closer and disconcertingly confusing. Taftites are supporting Kennedy, Deverites in many places (Cambridge for example) are tacitly behind Lodge, and Massachusetts' sizeable independent vote is split asunder. The feeling of the Taftites toward Lodge is expressed in a letter to former Ambassador Joseph P. Kennedy from T. Walter Taylor, director of Independents for Kennedy, saying "after what he did to Senator Taft, we feel he has forfeited all rights to expect right-thinking people to support him this fall in returning to office." But the attack on Lodge's Eisenhower support is a rationalization of deeper feelings: Isolationist Republicans, like Minority Leader Joseph Martin, have always been hostile toward Lodge because of his support of Truman's foreign policy and his continual bolting of the party on other issues. The elder Kennedy, to the contrary, has always been a rabid isolationist, and presumably the Taftites feel, or know, that his son, once out of the party whip's reach, will expound isolationist ideas. The Deverites' support of Lodge is more intricate; it is due in great part to personal friendship between Lodge and them. In many cases, the friendship started with Lodge's father who fought for equal rights for the Irish immigrants in the days when there were no James Michael Curleys or Maurice Tobins.
Nevertheless, as Eisenhower strategist, Sherman Adams, said: "Cabot is in trouble." In the past, Lodge has been able to slice into the big city Democratic vote, but this time he stands a chance on not drawing on any of the powerful (there are more than 750,000) Irish votes. This is because Kennedy, himself Irish, has campaigned strenuously in solid Irish wards, and in the House has supported such wierd items as the Fogarty Bill which demanded the unification of Ireland. To offset the Irish and the Taftites, Lodge is relying heavily on Italians and independent Democrats, besides Eisenhower supporters.
The Lodge-Kennedy campaign itself has deteriorated into quibbling over what one or the other said about this or that bill on which, in the end, both voted the same way anyway. Thus Kennedy has supported most Democratic foreign policy measures and Lodge has, too. Foreign policy is not an issue, particularly since Kennedy has not shown his true colors: will he repudiate the isolationist opinion of his father? Domestically Kennedy's record is the stronger, but again the two are not far apart. Thus when the President's Commission investigating the McCarran Immigration Bill held hearings in Boston recently both Kennedy and Lodge attacked the bill for 15 minutes. In a public debate at Waltham, they found themselves in agreement on more issues than they disagreed on.
The Senatorial election may well be as close as the Lodge-Kennedy voting records. Should Stevenson and Dever carry the state, which is quite likely, then Kennedy may well be swept in on the Democratic ticket. But even then, Lodge has incalculable strength. Indeed he was elected to the Senate in 1936 when Roosevelt carried Massachusetts by an overwhelming majority. This could easily happen again. PHILIP M. CRONIN