Today there will be a special election in the US state of Massachusetts to elect a new Senator to represent the state after Ted Kennedy’s death last year.
And boy, are the stakes high for this one.
Nominally an extremely safe seat for the Democrats, the Democratic candidate Martha Coakley should be a shoe-in.
And yet Republican former centrefold star Scott Brown, once voted by Cosmo as America’s Sexiest Man (the link is fairly safe for work, but does contain a tastefully cropped naked man) has been closing the gap in the polls, and in some cases even taken a lead.
Of key importance in this battle is the senatorial supermajority, which we have covered on The Voice in the past. In the US senate, a party with 60 of the 100 senators – or the votes of 60 senators – can move a vote of cloture which can end a filibuster. This removes from the minority party a powerful tool to veto legislation by talking it out. This has become all the more fraught recently since Obamacare, the extremely controversial healthcare legislation currently under consideration. If the Republicans win the Massachusetts, the Democrats lose their right of veto and they could lose Obamacare.
Here’s a video for each candidate to give you a flavour of the battle.
First, President Obama is staking his political reputation to support Martha Coakley and underlining the future of Obamacare:
(Is it an indication of the way the campaign is going that it’s actually quite hard to find pro-Martha videos on Youtube? Many copies of her ads have been interspersed with rebuttals; and her own attack ads misspell Massachusetts – which frankly is easily done.)
And secondly an absurdly overblown video for Scott Brown drawing a dubious historical parallel with the some of the most exciting movie music I’ve heard this year.