Massachusetts voters sent a stunning rebuke to the Democratic national party. In a Senate special election that hinged largely on national issues and candidate personalities, voters preferred an unknown quantity from the opposition to a robotic Pelosi clone. Scott Brown defeated Martha Coakley, despite her massive ground game run by top New England operative, Lynda Tocci (this Herald story puts the numbers of door-knockers at 150 for Brown to 7,000 for Coakley).
Whodunnit? Mainly independent voters, but that's obvious in a state where 49% of voters are unaffiliated and only 15% are registered Republicans. Secondly: minority Democrats, by not turning out. There's not much about Coakley to motivate the diverse minorities of Massachusetts, as Kevin Cullen's excellent Globe article pointed out. Lastly: working class moderates voted Brown, including 22% of Democrats who voted.
The Globe's town-by-town results map shows Coakley winning the cities and the Berkshires, plus liberal enclaves, and Brown carrying the rest. But Coakley didn't win the minority-heavy cities by much, due to the low minority turnout. In fact, Brown even won Lowell and Quincy! Meanwhile, Brown won the white working class cities of Weymouth, Gardner, Fitchburg, and Leominster. Brown's bread and butter were populous suburban and exurban communities where he won by enormous margins: Attleboro, Plymouth, Walpole, Peabody, Tewksbury, and even Barnstable, home of the deceased Ted Kennedy.
Now, Bay Staters will learn who Scott Brown is. All we know is that he drives a truck and has a new job in Washington. Whether he'll be a constructive force there remains to be seen.