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Did Nationalizing the Election Help Brown?

9:27 PM, Jan 19, 2010 • By MATTHEW CONTINETTI
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Coakley has conceded, according to the GlobeScott Brown continues to lead Martha Coakley by about seven points as two-thirds of the vote are in. For the last several weeks, ever since Scott Rasmussen's poll showed Brown had a chance, Republicans have been worried that nationalizing the election might help Coakley. Greater attention paid on the Massachusetts special election, this argument went, would drive the national Democrats to commit resources and pour in activists to save Ted Kennedy's seat.

Did Nationalizing the Election Help Brown?

The opposite seems to have happened. Nationalizing the election helped Brown. It led the Democrats to wage a ridiculously negative campaign that may have hurt Martha Coakley among independents. It turned the race into a referendum on the Obama Democratic agenda in general and health care reform in particular.

After the off-year elections, Democrats could cling to Bill Owens's victory in NY-23 as a shred of evidence that the Tea Party message could hurt Republicans. Scott Brown's victory exposes NY-23 as a fluke. The trend is clear. Independents have moved sharply right over the course of President Obama's first year in office, even in Massachusetts. Attention Democrats: Obama's version of change is not what most of the country believes in.

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